Some design aspects of the house were not finalized for a long time, and the biggest point of indecision had been the exterior finish. Unlike the roof, which always was—and still remains—standing seam steel (in green, below), the siding remained in limbo.

Barn Boards

As I began building my home, I'd thought about using genuine antique barn boards. I love their rugged, weathered look and their irregular widths. Unfortunately, I've since learned that the market for such material has exploded, and genuine barn boards now command outrageous prices. So, unless I come across an economical source of old barn boards, Plan A is off the books.

Plain Vertical Planks

Plain natural vertical boards seemed like a good compromise, and I still may go with it. But I've since had other ideas that compete with this option.

Cedar Shake

I like the textures and especially the weathered patina cedar shakes acquire over time. However, there are maintenance issues associated with them, and they're prone to damage.

Board and Batten

Since I did the guest house in board and batten, I thought it might tie things together.

Field Stone

While I was out running errands one afternoon, I spotted a house clad in field stone. It was reminiscent of Fallingwater. And the more I thought about it, the more I liked it, in spite of the fact that it's a faux finish. As it happens, my original-original plan for the house was to make it entirely of poured concrete, but that would have been too costly; a field stone finish would sort of bring me back closer to its origins.

One problem with the field stone idea, however, is how to deal with the two short walls between the roof sections: I fear that they'd look a bit odd done in stone. One possible way of dealing with them is to clad them in the same standing steam steel as the roof. Or would that look worse? It's challenging to visualize the various options.

Standing Seam Steel

Standing seam steel siding—in brown, versus green for the roof—had been an option I'd contemplated on occasion. The downside was that it might make the house look vaguely industrial or utilitarian.

Final Decision

I've made my decision on the exterior finish: I'm going with standing seam steel. I made this choice based on a number of factors:

  • economy
  • expedience
  • low/no maintenance
  • I've become much less concerned about the specific material, principally because—
  • I live on the inside, and—
  • hardly anyone will see it anyway

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