rock of ages

April 3rd 2012 Comments: 2 Topics: ,

What is it about a stone house that warms and engages the soul? Does it stir something in our collective unconscious?
Maybe it recalls a time when a hole carved in the living rock was our ancestor’s first shelter. Whatever the call, being blanketed in the permanence of stone is like being embraced by the earth itself.

Creating the look of an aged stone house in modern-day construction is always a challenge. The fact of the matter is, contemporary masons are precise and too well trained. Generally, they work in the modularity of brick and are accustomed to the building block regularity of that material.

To start with, we inevitably have to retrain the mindset of our mason in order to effect something that looks like it was crafted hundreds of years ago. Back then, stone was not a veneer (as it is today); it was the structure itself. Therefore, it should be laid flat, not face out. Also, stone was utilized because it was lying about the site and was never desired as the finish material. After the rock was laid, it was heavily parged or plastered to cover the common field-harvested structure. The finish of old stone buildings as we romance them today is a result of years of weather, thus removing most of the plaster. To duplicate this patina in new construction, a good deal of mortar must be used while laying the rock. And the walls should never be cleaned; artstic “sloppiness” is desired.

Sample upon sample is usually required before we can get just the right recipe of humility, load bearing appearance and time ravage. What used to be a result of almost untrained labor, apologetically employed, is now a high-end construction finish. How times have changed.

It seems humble is now expensive.


  1. @citypassion says:

    This post zings straight to the heart of who McAlpine Tankersley is and how it stands above the rest.

  2. A refreshing concept in this era of faux stone.

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