If you live with something unfinished for long enough, it's possible to stop noticing it. We had definite intentions of moving in followed by a monumental push to finish everything, in order to avoid the "never finished" trap. Finances, energy, family and not knowing how to proceed around tricky problems have all exerted their influence and so we are still working away. On the positive side, we've been living here since March 2010 and loving our home.
But I found it hard to ignore the unfinished ceiling as it stared down at me with all of its shiny sizalation attitude, quietly mocking. Once again, my Dad rode into town on his trusty horse "Air New Zealand" and coralled a bunch of likely and seemingly unlikely folks to launch into the ceiling. Our original idea was to attach calico to all of the ceilings, except perhaps my studio, for a quasi-Bedouin look. Maybe. Never got past our bedroom with that idea, good intentions or not. We were staunchly against the idea of plaster ceilings given the effort we'd gone to with all of the internal walls. We needed something more appropriate and natural.
Straw! Of course. We had a sample kicking around from the suppliers of compressed straw ceiling makers and we decided to go with that, and although it's not cheap, Dad insisted there was no point doing half of the house in one product and the rest in another. So we chose to ceiling the whole house in straw. The straw ceiling experts were booked in and my Dad had his flights locked in so once again we happily removed ourselves to Natashas Mums place while the dusty and noisy work went on. It would have been impossible for us to have Leroy in that environment and it was quite a relief to know that the work would proceed without having to get a sweat up again!
There's really something quite poetic about using exposed golden straw for the ceiling when the walls are beautiful earthen rendered straw bale and the floor is recycled Tasmanian Oak. It's an unashamedly natural feel. When we returned home, after bustling in from the cold (one of Leroy's main danger factors) we let our eyes drift up and saw the finished product. Incredible. It really sets off the cathedral ceilings perfectly. It was a lot of work done in short time. Also, a huge amount of the house contents had to be shifted around to get the job done and it had all been carefully replaced in the original position.
Again, this was not the owner building experience we had foreseen, indeed it was unbelievable to have it done for us, and it left us with a massive and daunting job crossed off the list. What a contribution. Thanks Dad and everyone who pushed together to make it happen.