Sunday, 4 December 2011

And now, in colour

We're going through the magical experience of seeing the plans really turning into a house. The black and white two-dimensional drawings had appeared in three dimensions, and now the drab colours of raw wood and plasterboard are being transformed by paint and wallpaper.

The choices have been involved and traumatic, but the results so far look great. We have now chosen every wall and every door, except the ones for the cupboards in the bedroom. We need to give a final answer on those tomorrow. 

Most of the walls are going to use a material called "Chaff Wall" which is made from scallop shells. Another option was a product from Europe called "Clay Paint". Both are Eco products which contain natural products, allow the wall to breathe, and absorb rather than emit harmful and unpleasant odours. Chaff wall also absorbs and releases moisture, helping to stabilise humidity within the house, and apparently works as an insulator, although this may be negligible compared to the 230 millimetres of insulation beyond it. 

The most important considerations are probably to allow any formaldehyde in the wood or other materials to escape, and to let moisture pass in or out of the wall, so that we don't get any condensation build up anywhere. 

Of course colour and texture are also important, and at first I was keen to get off-white, although none of the off-whites looked very nice, so we just went for White. Chaff wall looked nicer than Clay paint, and being a local product, it is used more widely so the painters will handle it. If we'd chosen Clay paint, the builders would have had to buy the paint, then get painters to use it, and they'd be lumbered with any left over.

Another choice we had to make was whether the paint should be applied by roller or spray gun. At first we were told that spray guns use about 50,000 yen more paint, so will cost us more. We began trying to choose from tiny samples, on which the spray finish looked much better than the rougher roller finish.  Once we ordered a colour, the painters made bigger samples for us, around 50 cm square, and the roller-finished one looked really good. We then spoke to the painter, who was also impressed by how good the samples looked and how difficult it would be to make the wall look like that as the roller needs to leave the wall at some point, where there will be some kind of a line. Small bits of wall would probably be no problem, although the ceiling, 10 metres across, may be more of a challenge, and he seemed to much prefer the idea of a spray gun. He was encouraged to tell his boss this, so that we won't have to pay too much extra for the paint, in view of the fact that we're making the job easier.

So when it comes to cupboards in the bedroom, which cover the bottom part of the west wall and the north wall, beyond which is the closet, I'm inclined to go for something dark, as there will be several metres of white wall above them, and on the whole of the east side of the room. We'll have to wait for tomorrow to see what the decision is.