Alternative to plaster wall finishing

The clean, white, boxy rooms of modern architecture are all very crisp and neat but the reality for the occupants can be that they make for clinical, boring and echoic spaces without much sense of warmth and homeliness.

The Original Twist integrated concrete beam system can make a beautifully lit ceiling with wooden beams and boards

…. but what about the walls? You might be wondering how to finish the stack of Wheetabix Durisol blocks you built with. The usual plastering solution needs a certain amount of organisation; the first fix plumbing and wiring has to be done first and then the plasterer booked for some slot later. From start to finish it could be at least a couple of weeks before the plaster has dried and been painted. Even then there are many things a plain plastered wall does not deliver, so let’s have a look at the Original Twist concept wall and see what extra benefits can be achieved. Here’s what it might look like.

This or plaster?

Basically there are three or four transverse beams fixed to the wall and then panels fit somewhat loosely and quickly onto them.

This top beam has a rebate sawn at the back to allow the top panel to be held in place (the top of the panel can be dab bonded to the wall or a top batten). Pictured is a strip of plywood with vertical marks scratched to resemble boards; quick and inexpensive. A strip LED is then laid on top of the beam and hidden behind the pelmet board. Note how lovely the panel will look when the lights go on.

The top beam section

The next beam down has a similar rebate at the back and here the larger panels are pushed up first to hook under the beam before dropping into place on the beam below. The picture shows an example of black ash faced panels with OSB panels fitted on top. The latter can be covered in anything from wallpaper to fabrics and give unlimited scope for decoration. If engineered floor boards are being used for this section remember that many of them come in 1.2m lengths so designing for that might save a bit of time and not leave any waste.

The lowest section takes on a colonial look with tongue and groove boards under a shelf. The point of this is that wires and pipes can be hidden as can tubes for integrated dust extraction. Fan coil units for heating and air-conditioning can be fitted into this space with the inlet and outlet vents facing down and hidden. If possible the height of this section should be like kitchen cupboards so that doors and hinges can be incorporated. The underside of the lowest beam has a routed slot for another LED strip light which will highlight the lower panel which acts like a deep skirting board.

So there we have it; a bit of character, good sound absorption, sensational lighting, lots of utility and all quite easily done in the time you would have waited for the alternative.

Internal walls in blockwork can be visually tied in by using the same beams but leaving the blockwork as the finish. Blocks can be painted in different shades before they are laid to make an interesting textured look. Any other wall incorporating a fireplace can be made in exposed brickwork (there’s a fireplace design drawn out in my book below) so by the time all the remaining areas are covered by glass doors and a bit of wood panelling there may be very little plastering to be done.

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‘Dream House – Down To The Details’ 101 things you should have thought of.      here:-

Heating for your eco-house

For another example of out of the box thinking, this time on heating systems, have a look at:

You really should get this right and there are many wrong turns where multiple energy sources are integrated.