Hydraulic lime plaster is similar to cement stucco, but with lime rather than portland cement. It is more flexible and more vapor permeable than cement stucco, but it takes more skill and curing time. It also requires warmer temperatures. While making portland cement requires a lot of energy and the chemical reaction releases large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere, Manufacturing lime takes energy, but when lime plaster carbonates (hardens) much of the CO2 released during the manufacture is reabsorbed. (From Essential Natural Plasters, Henry & Therrien) According to Strawbale Building Details (Published by CASBA – California Strawbale Building Association)The strawbales themselves sequester 26 pounds of carbon each, preventing the formation of 95 pounds of CO2)

Mixing the natural hydraulic lime, plaster sand & water
Spraying the plaster
Burlap shades to protect the plastered walls from direct sun (It cures better if kept moist and cool)

We are adding some french doors to the garden, some new siding, and making the interior nicer for guitar playing and singing. This little building sits in a very nice garden.

Radiused corners!
Thick walls will be used for a window seat and a deep desk
Big windows to the south

The windows are in and the mesh has been inspected. They are getting ready for the first coat of structural lime plaster on inside and outside.

A cool photo

John McBride took this picture of our cottage project on the apocalyptic day last fall when the sky stayed dark and orange all day. Hopefully the fires will not be so bad in 2021.

I took a class in graduate school with Professor Galen Cranz called Body Conscious Design. That is where this idea started. The class was all about how to design better spaces, furniture and other things for the health of our bodies. Much of our built environment, down to the typical chair that often causes back problems, are not great for human health. This architectural detail helps prevent the atrophy of the upper body muscles. One of my projects in school had monkey bars in every hallway for an alternate means of travel.

We couldn’t have a bale raising party due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is a small building. Its going to be very cozy.

The Walls Have Arrived

We converted the front house from a duplex to single family, then added an ADU at the back. So many fun details on this project I don’t know where to start.

First, Here is the new ADU. The landscape work is underway, so stay tuned. Note the castle post from previous blogposts.

Looking South to the private patio with painted beam
more of the beam with two more carved posts

Here are three of the kitchen

John has been getting ready for the strawbales over the holidays. He bought a bale knife on EBay and made his own needles out of a steel rod. Pretty cool.

North Berkeley ADU Snapshots

The builder (McBride Construction) is working his way through the punch list. We are both proud of how this rental cottage is turning out. Here are a couple of his snapshots:

The first one is the kitchen with built-in dish drying rack over the drainboard and apple-ply cabinets. The second is the little dining nook with storage benches and salvaged fir built-in table.