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A Stone Facade for the Cottage Pony Wall

by Tara

The plan for the exterior of our cottage has always been to lay a facade over the pony wall, made with stones carefully picked from the ramshackle dry-stacked walls bordering our property. We wanted to tackle the project ourselves, but knew it was so low on the totem pole of importance that it wouldn't be done for years unless we found someone to help.

Last fall, we asked our mason friend, Pete if he was looking for work and might want to take on the job. Unfortunately, he never found time in his schedule. Time passed, and more pressing projects continually took precedence over this purely aesthetic addition to our home.

To be honest, I'd grown accustomed to the shitty tar paper bottom of our house. I resigned myself to the fact that it was a project that wouldn't be complete for a very, very long time. So, its ugliness faded into the background of my mind. I walked by the unfinished surface so often, coming to and from our house, that I stopped actively seeing it.

Our Straw Bale Cottage w/ Fall Color Small Straw Bale & Timber Frame Cottage in the Snow

Thankfully Pete called recently, looking for work, eager to begin the project we'd mentioned to him last fall. And suddenly, as he began working on the pony wall, I saw it again. Now, I'm blown away by how ugly it was, and how beautiful he's making it! Here's a typical day of Pete's job, as I see it:

Stone Facade in Progress Strawbale Cottage Stone Facade in Progress Strawbale Cottage Stonework Ponywall in Progress Strawbale Cottage Stonework Ponywall in Progress

First, he picks stones from our walls, such that you can't really tell anything's missing. He chooses rocks that are flat, or have a nice face to them. When he has enough to get a good portion of the wall done, he hauls them to the house and dumps them in a pile so he has options to choose from as he works.

Pete's Tractor with Stone Pete Picking Stone Pete the Mason with Stone

Next, he scans the pile and examines the spot he has to fill on the wall, eventually finding and test-fitting his chosen stone. If it doesn't fit or look the way he wants, he chisels bits of it away so it rests perfectly. Then, he mortars it in place, smearing the concrete substance behind and between the stones. It's looking great so far—I can't wait to see it when it's done!

Pete the Mason Chiseling Stone Pete the Mason Chiseling Stone Broken Stone Pete the Mason Adding Mortar to Stone Facade Strawbale Cottage Stonework Ponywall in Progress Pete the Mason Adjusting Stone

Thanks for all your hard work, Pete! You're the best!

Pete the Mason Pete the Mason