Posted by: Scott McCullough | February 12, 2012

The Honed Rural Interior

Our vision for the house is simple and functional design that creates a visual consistency.  Much of the interior is a hemlock timber frame with pine walls and floors.  In order to separate the pine from the hemlock timber framers often stain the frame to make it slightly darker, making it stand out from the pine.  We are planning to leave the hemlock as natural as possible, and will apply a semi-solid white stain to the pine.  The grain will show through with the pine color, but will be closer to white.

This project below in Germany by Doris Schaffler is the closest example we have found for what we want our interior pine to look like.

We are having our hemlock timbers sawn on site this spring.  They will not be planed.  The idea is to do the minimal amount of work to the timbers as it might have been done in the 19th century.  The finished frame will be more like what you would see in a barn or in a rustic old house.  We pulled these images from online.

The rendering below shows a view of our Master Bedroom looking to the east.  This was created from the SketchUp model that we have been working on.  Though the nuances of materials and their textures is difficult to represent with a computer model, it is helping us to visualize the spaces and make changes as we see fit.

The entire first floor will have a radiant concrete slab; we will add an integral dye into the mix during pouring to darken the natural color and will finish the concrete by mechanically polishing it to a ‘honed’ level.  The primary reasons for doing this is to give the hot water in the radiant tubing the best thermal mass, which releases the heat into the space more efficiently.  Another important reason is that the concrete slab will act as good solar collector for all the south facing glass which will let the sun’s heat in; this is one basic concept necessary for passive solar design.  We also are choosing to do concrete floors because they are durable and will work well with our modern aesthetics.  The image below is from Jonathan Tuckey Design, and is a good example of the color and finish that we are looking for in our concrete floor.

Another example is the floor at the Edge Ledge Residence in Norwich, Vermont.  Daniel Johnson of Watershed Studio was nice enough to give us a thorough tour during the Vermont AIA Second Annual House Tour in September of 2010.

Our first floor bathroom has the fixtures lined up on the east wall, with a shower stall in the center.  We have built the first floor with dropped framing  at this shower to accommodate a flush floor condition.  We have two identical salvaged sinks, they are cast iron with a white enamel finish, one of them is shown here with a concrete countertop.  The rear wall is galvanized metal roofing.  The 4′ X 8′ roofing is an inexpensive sheet material that can withstand the abuse of the shower, and it fits well with other details such as the galvanized electrical conduit through out the house (this will allow us to leave the exterior walls undisturbed for maximum thermal control-see future post).



  1. The Sketch-Up model images are lovely. The photo images of the whitewash look more stark and clinical than the warmness of your model, which I like better.

    • I know what you mean. We were trying to counteract the fact that the pine with a clear finish will darken dramatically over time. And we wanted to separate the pine from the hemlock. May still be up for discussion. Thanks for commenting, I don’t get too many.

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