I spent a few weeks in my hometown of Cato, NY this summer leading the exciting and transformative process of plastering the straw bale walls at John and Julia Furlong's owner built house. I've been friends with the couple for years and have enjoyed seeing their vision take shape, as they took on the ambitious task of building a house for themselves. I was happy to be invited to participate in the effort, as one of a few contractors brought on board. Family and friends contributed to the labor, and the Furlongs worked with timberframer Sarah Highland on the design that includes a timber and stud hybrid frame, bale walls, and lime plaster finishes.
It's always satisfying to turn the shaggy straw, mesh, lathe wall into a smooth, uniform, graceful surface. We did a three coat application of natural hydraulic lime plaster with the first coat shot on pneumatically with a mortar sprayer and large air compressor. Successive coats were laid on with hawk and trowel.