Natural Plaster - and why we can't get enough

Waghorn Street by Emil Eve Architects. Photo credit: Nick Dearden

Picture the scene: earthy tones dappled with natural light from a window nearby… pretty heavenly, right? There’s something deeply tactile – primal even – about natural plaster. It’s a material that adds warmth and richness to an otherwise classic white wall.

Don’t get us wrong, we love white walls (unashamedly, we are architects after all), but we also love inviting big bold colours into a space.

When comparing different ways of applying colour, natural plaster seems to offer something that other approaches can’t: it brings a sense of simple honesty.
Project by Christain Brailey Architects

Natural plaster is not only a healthier alternative to paint, which can give off harmful organic compounds (VOCs), but as Claire from Clayworks explains, “Natural plasters offer a more durable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly option to plasterboard as well”.

Naturally pigmented in a range of colours, they never need painting, which offers huge savings in time, material and carbon emissions. They also help regulate the internal humidity and temperature of your home making it feel more comfortable.

Basically, natural plaster not only looks really lovely but is a material that works hard for you too.

And just in case you needed any further persuasion, we thought we’d share our favourite projects that showcase natural plaster, plus some helpful pointers if you’re looking to use it in your own project.

Natural Plaster Inspo #1

Space A helped revive this cold Victorian villa, capturing the essence of it’s former glory as home of renowned artist, Astrid Zydower. With warm polished plaster, wood tones and pops of colour, the spaces are an exploration of joyful elegance.
We talked to Amelia Hunter about her tips for using Natural Plaster:
“We love using tadelakt on a large areas – usually wall surfaces but it is extra nice when it also continues onto an adjacent ceiling, ledge, vanity unit, or even inside a bath or shower unit. 

If we use it, it becomes the dominating feature of the space – it responds well to a minimal vibe where depth and interest is brought through the beauty of the material. It looks great illuminated with hidden LED strips and we love to characterise it with little niches (arches are the cutest!)
Here are some practical pointers from our experience of using the material :-
* Most companies have a minimum order – both in sqm and cost. This tends to be about 5sqm or £5k. As a result it is definitely better to use it as the main feature of the room or in multiple areas in a house – which chimes with its real unique feature – the fact it looks great en masse.

* Niches or any fiddly bits that take longer to do could cost more.

* Correct preparation of substructure is vital. Tadelakt has to be applied to a firm, rigid surface with no movement – otherwise cracks appear. Make sure there is seamless communication between the Tadelakt installer and the builder.

* Colours are mixed bespoke – there will always be slight variations and for that reason – make sure an area is done in one batch as it is impossible to mix the same twice.

* Check with your installer if you are using it as a splashback – you will need a sealant if using it as a splashback – may not be bombproof… it’s an organic material so imperfections are natural! Usually it is finished with a wax which can be reapplied for extra protection.

* If used on a floor (which looks great!) then that surface should only be walked on with bare feet as sand and grit damage the material. We love the idea of a room that can only be walked on with special soft slippers that are kept in a niche at the threshold!”

Natural Plaster Inspo #2

“We asked for a calm, airy house filled with natural light, with lots of built-in storage and generous entertaining spaces, using as many natural materials as possible. We got exactly that, but somehow the house is also so much more. 

It is such a joy to live in and, over half a year after moving in, we still notice brilliant little details every day that make us smile”.
The extension and refurbishment of this four-bed house delivers spaces which feel intimate yet expansive, with custom-built joinery throughout designed by the architects Emil Eve.
Natural materials bring warmth and a sense of calm to the home, which was designed for a young couple (and their two beloved pet cats). The breathable lime plaster walls give a soft texture to the changing light throughout the day, and earthy terracotta tiles in the back garden complement the colour and grain of the Douglas fir.
Sustainability was a guiding principle for the project, with a focus on low embodied carbon materials and breathable construction.
  The Natural Plaster product used in this project was St Astier EcoMortar R50. As an extra bonus, you don’t need a specialist plasterer to install, any decent plasterer can do it.  

If you’re planning to use Natural Plaster in your reno, we’d love to know! Get in touch via our Insta or tag us in your photos! @wearehomenotes 🙂

Mob-GSArtboard 5@2x-100


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