It’s not really about how long it takes, but it’s about how long it takes.

There’s a sort of wilful battle going on. We want to finish the house, soon, really. It’s not cheap to rent a place and pay the mortgage on another. And I know we’re insanely lucky to be able to afford that (albeit not indefinitely). But the jobs we have left to do (beyond things like putting in actual fixtures and fittings) are not quick.

I mean, if you’re a skilled plasterer, then plastering the walls in our place, being as it’s pretty small, probably is a fairly quick job. But finding someone who can do smooth plaster over here is uncommon. Finding someone who we could afford is probably needle in a haystack uncommon, and then there’s the tug of: “We’ve done it all ourselves up until now, we don’t want someone else coming in.”

It’s also really tough because while in the UK nice, affordable, eco-friendly materials are not everywhere, they seem to be much easier to get than here in the PNW. We’ve been debating countless options for our wall coating, with the traditional time/cost/quality triad – only now there’s the fourth component – availability. To some extent that’s cost; I mean, if you’re willing to ship things across the country then I suppose most things are available.

But realistically, in our area, there doesn’t seem to be a lot around. And it might be that we’re looking in the wrong place. But apart from bespoke house builders who stock stuff for themselves; there just isn’t a lot of earth-friendly material kicking around.

I spent today working on the final bits of plasterboard (they’re up!) and applying more joint compound – the boiler cupboard is done, as is the first coat on nearly all of the hall. I’ve slathered lots up in the bedroom, and I’m still working on the laundry, with it’s jaunty step in between layers.

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Look, it’s a hall! And it’s only moderately slopey

But we’re not a million miles away from needing to plaster; and while I can now entertain myself putting tiny strips of cedar around the front door (almost endlessly), and putting the lighting in place for the porch, we’re going to have to come to some kind of conclusion.

Lime plaster does seem like an option, especially since the “oh, yes, I could get a long pole and paint the walls/ceiling with glue-and-sand” which means that it’s not a coat of glue and sand when Kathryn has to be there, then us trying to plaster the entire roof and the walls* when Kathryn has to be there. Time with both of us there is limited and precious… so things like American Clay or other multicoat plaster systems are really less than ideal. Realistically, I can do the hall and east and west walls by myself, but everything else (centre spine wall, both sides, and the north and south walls) all need Kathryn and I to be there to finish it.

So…

We’re trying to find something that doesn’t require lots of coats, doesn’t cost a fortune, and isn’t utterly hideous for the planet (and/or us). It’s tricky.

And yeah, yeah, we are pushing the very limits of what we can do. And perhaps we should get someone in to do the plastering. We’re pushing the limits of ourselves. But it’s hard. this is our project. This is our house, we built it. Letting someone else in now feels like… some kind of defeat. And we’re alternately frustrated by our slow progress and overjoyed by the place we’re building and how much we like it. It’s all very contradictory and complicated.

*I’m not at all sure that the roof should be lime plastered, since it’s really adhering to glue and sand, not to nice chunky lath.

Author: KateE

Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at pyoor.org...