Here is a feature image of earthen plaster on fireplace – a large stone fireplace created in a reception room at this conference center in south of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The intention behind this shepherd’s bed fireplace, was to recreate the look of large historical European style fireplace where the inhabitants slept up on the bed to the right of the burning fire. We were not involved in the concepting nor creation of this fireplace, but where brought in to provide the earthen plasters and earthen floors on this project. Our first as subcontractors on a large project. The owner wanted the fireplace to look old and well worn, hence the scorch marks (hand applied) on the post.

We used soil harvested just beyond the building site to create all of the earthen plasters and poured adobe floors we created in this room. Tints were added to create the desired colors, but only marginally for the walls, with none in the floors.

The walls in this building are poured pumice crete so required us to cover them in a cob mud coat (used mostly to fill in holes created by other contractors) and then 2 brown coats of plaster to bring the walls to level and be ready to receive the final finished coat of earthen plaster.

The owner wanted the top chimney of the large fireplace to be a bit irregular, so we added some creative blobs of cob to achieve a less than perfect look. Why the irregular shapes? Most construction done in New Mexico back many years ago was created to be functional and was less than perfect. The irregular aspects added an authentic old New Mexico flair to the fireplace.
What was also requested was a slight shade darker plaster applied to the chimney, to set it apart a bit from the surrounding walls.

It isn’t often we are required to provide less than perfect crisp walls and plastering, in this job, we had to bend our minds a bit around the notion of “less than perfect is what we want” – indeed.