Some design aspects of the house are still not finalized, and the biggest point of indecision has been the siding. Unlike the roof, which had always been planned to be standing seam steel (in green, below), the siding has remained in limbo.

Barn Boards

My first choice was genuine antique barn boards. I love their rugged, weathered look and their irregular widths. Unfortunately, the market for barn boards has exploded, and they now command outrageous prices—up to $10 or more per board! So, scratch this one off the list.

Plain Vertical Planks

Plain natural vertical boards seemed like a good substitute for barn boards. But good quality new boards aren't much cheaper than recycled barn boards.

Cedar Shake

I like the texture and especially the weathered patina cedar shakes acquire over time. However, they present maintenance issues, 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. This option might become the choice based solely on cost: it's the cheapest by far.

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 way too costly. A field stone finish would sort of bring me back closer to its origins, but it's still a costly—and labor-intensive—option. So, scratch this one off the list.

Log Home Exterior

For a brief time I entertained the idea of simulating a log home, with a field stone foundation: it seemed to fit the setting nicely. But, as I've related elsewhere, I'm not especially fond of faux finishes. Not to mention that the "logs" are as much as $130 per piece! Yes, seriously. So, scratch this one off the list.

Standing Seam Steel

Standing seam steel siding (in brown, versus green for the roof) has been an option I've contemplated. The downside is that standing seam steel is quite expensive; plus, it might make the house look vaguely industrial or utilitarian. The upside is that it's virtually maintenance-free.


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