The early color renditions of the house prepared by The Architect showed the middle of the house (the thorax so to speak) clad in stained wood. I wasn't real happy about that wood. Don't get me wrong, stained wood looks awesome, and it looks awesome on the house. Wood adds warmth to the structure, and I'm all over that look achieved with subtle variations of color. However, the upkeep concerns me. That stained wood doesn't seem to fair well in our climate, at least not with quite a bit of upkeep. So instead of wood, the current design calls for Hardie board of a color yet to be determined.
To soften that side of the house (and provide some shade), The Architect added a wire mesh (think cow panel) trellis. The current thought is to have deciduous vines (The Architect refers to all plant life as "growies") grow up the trellis to provide shade and softness in the summer, something similar to the photo above of a MetroHouse in Austin just off of North Lamar.
Near our lot is a mixed use building that has gussied up their parking garage with a modern-looking sculpture grid. It's a neat look that might work well as a trellis when scaled down. In fact, something similar could also be used for the gate and the railings inside the house and on the back balcony. The one pictured above is made from tubular aluminum. Of course greater customization = greater cost, and aluminum tubes cost more than cow panel... I did, however, find a relatively affordable source of aluminum at speedymetals.com
, so who knows. Perhaps this is a post-construction project...
Now that wood is off the table for the thorax, the question becomes: What to replace it with? Hardie board, yes, but what color? hmmm... Hard to say. Seeing some (white?) cedar weathered to a grayish lightness near our house makes me wonder if white cedar, left to its own devices, would, in fact, be a good choice. However, that weathered look may be due to the brutal drought we're presently suffering. Choices, choices...
[photos by mwah except (1) rendering of the house by The Architect and (2) white-weathered cedar from AltruWood