This kitchen got a full upgrade, including new appliances, cabinets, counters, backsplash tile, and a custom fabricated plaster range hood. Design by Annabode.
This deep energy retrofit started with gutting a 1960s house to add new wall and attic insulation and air sealing for maximized energy performance. We eliminated the natural gas line and transitioned to all electric heating and cooling and equipment and ERV, powered by rooftop solar panels. Other details include a new EPA certified fireplace insert, in-floor radiant heating, plastered walls and ceilings, a tadelakt shower, and integrated soapstone sink. We built a mudroom addition to connect the garage, laundry room, new back patio and expanded kitchen, and a detached outbuilding/barn for workouts and shop space. Design by Shelterbelt Architecture.
This sweet west Denver bugalow needed a little more light and newer kitchen storage. We took advantage of the extra space gained by opening a wall. The design incorporates a peninsula shaped concrete kitchen counter and frameless, European-style alder cabinets. Plaster finishes on walls and ceilings and a newly refinished hardwood floor round out the space.
For this master bathroom and walk in closet remodel, we first moved some walls to create a more functional space and bring in more light. The bold colors are inspired by handmade Mexican Talavera tiles. We incorporated these handmade tiles into the vanity backsplash. Adding cherry woodwork and bronze fixtures completed the old world feel. For a splash of fun, a golden-yellow ceiling plaster brightens the space and adds a modern touch. The smooth olive tadelakt shower is a centerpiece.
This small garage conversion in North Park hill needed a facelift. We insulated, air sealed, updated the electrical and built a custom desk with cabinets below and shelving above. Closing off an old front door and replacing it with an energy efficient window also made the room feel more homey and spacious. Bamboo flooring and Limestrong plasters complement the deep blue poured concrete desk surface.
This ingenious home incorporates many natural and beautiful materials into the structure, as well as the finishes. Our lime plasters, both interior and exterior, complement reclaimed wood, custom metal, and polished concrete floors. Durisol blocks in the ground level also help capture and sequester carbon.
We built out an unfinished basement using natural materials and systems that promote healthy indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Clay and lime plasters, a tadelakt shower, beetle-kill pine trim, barn door office partition, LED lighting, polished concrete floors and new fireplace and boiler round out the space.
Read about our process in the Case Study blog, over at our Learn page.
You could say that lime plaster forms the foundation of our company, or at least of our origin story. The three of us met on a big lime plaster job in the mountains west of Boulder, CO. We each contacted our mentor, Ryan Chivers, because we had heard of his reputation in the natural building community as a lime plaster expert. Frank had worked with him for a year at that time, and this project was mine and Ben’s first time meeting Ryan. He brought us on to help him sling plaster on both the exterior and interior of this strawbale mountain home. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Here are a few of the reasons we love lime. Whether it’s found in a historic home where plaster was the primary choice for wall building at the time (lime or gypsum), or a new build or remodel where the homeowner chooses to use plaster, this material is definitely not out of style.
Have you heard the word birefringence? I hadn’t either, until I met Frank. Wikipedia defines it as so: “Birefringence is the optical property of a material having a refractive index that depends on the polarization and propagation direction of light.” Well, maybe that cleared things up for some of us…
The point is, because lime plaster cures back to it’s original material of limestone, it maintains some of the aesthetically enchanting qualities and depth of a natural gemstone or mineral, while being customizable in texture and color.
We all know that something that’s rock solid is very dependable. So, if someone gave you the choice to have walls that are literally rock solid, wouldn’t you take them up on that? It sounds like a no brainer to me.
One miraculous feature of lime plaster is that it is actually constantly repairing itself on a microscopic level. When small cracks form, new lime is exposed to air and moisture, which causes a continuing reaction which can self-heal smaller cracks. In case your lime plastered walls do get some bigger cracks, or a couple scratches, or an historic wall system needs repair, lime plaster can be repaired by a skilled plasterer. There are even artisans replicating plaster relief art in historic renovation.
Today, I told a material supplier that the products I was picking up were going to be used on a exterior plaster job, using lime plaster. He looked surprised and said, “Now that’s old school.” And he is not wrong! But the best thing about an old school material like lime it that it’s tried and true. And lime has been used in building mortars and plasters since the Greek and Roman heydays.
As lime cures, it actually absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. While there is still energy input during the production and shipping of lime (we call this it’s embodied energy), the curing process helps to offset this carbon footprint. Plus, lime is a more local product in many locations, particularly here in the Denver area, which means less fuel is burned for transportation than a cement stucco or paint.
Many trade groups and magazines are extolling the virtues of skilled craftspeople in construction. The hashtag #keepcraftalive is one example I saw recently. Like many trades in the building industry, the workforce of skilled plasterers is diminishing. Hiring a local plaster company is one way to help rekindle the movement of skilled laborers coming up in the workforce. Plus, dollars spent on local products and with small businesses are more likely to stay in the community.
Plaster improves indoor air quality in a few ways. One is that lime plaster contains no chemicals that can off-gas into the indoor atmosphere. Those are things like VOCs (found in some paints and stains). Instead, plaster is made of solely natural materials like sand and lime, with nothing that will emit noxious chemicals into the home.
Another way plasters improve air quality is managing humidity levels. We wrote a full blog on plaster and humidity over at our plaster specific website, Living Plasters. The general idea is that whether humidity is too low or too high, it can be bad for indoor air quality, or make your home feel uncomfortable. Plasters act as a buffer to moderate humidity levels in the “Goldilocks Zone” of just-right.
Personally, I’m excited to be part of reviving the lime plaster movement and beautifying our homes and buildings.
We installed and finished custom lime plastered walls in the ultra sustainable Bindery restaurant and market space in Denver.
Living Craft’s work at The Bindery Restaurant in Denver was recently featured in an article in Modern in Denver magazine. The focus is on the sustainable and cultural elements that the owner, Linda, brought to her new business venture. Our custom traditional lime plasters are one component of the sustainability practices that they prioritized during their design and build process. Read the full article to find out more, or stop by for an up close look at the walls.
“Lime Plaster is a natural product. It’s a true craftsman’s product… it’s more alive than stucco. It allows light to interact, to dance.”