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Hi'ilani Ecohouse

Lime plastering is an age old technique of coloring walls using natural pigments mixed with lime, which bonds the pigments to the underlying plaster and concrete walls. This coloring technique was used in ancient Persia and Greece. It is still visible in the ruins of Pompeii, and Michelangelo used the technique in the fresco of the Sistine Chapel.


Sophie Cazaux and her company Terre du Monde Decor are the US distributers for lime-based plaster and paint finishes.


Sophie, along with her friend and colleague Jan Salerno, are the artisans who applied these finishes at the Hi’ilani EcoHouse. Sophie applied colored lime-paint directly on the finished concrete structural walls, overlayed with glazes to bring out each wall's texture. This created a very cost efficient, non-toxic and beautiful finish.


Artist Jan Salerno used a different technique to apply lime plaster to achieve an extraordinary forest green wall finish. To achieve the smooth marbled look and feel, Jan first troweled lime plaster onto a smooth stucco wall, followed by the application of linseed oil to augment the color, and a final layer of pigmented beeswax.


The pigments consist of clays and minerals in a variety of colors, and metal oxides. (Think here about the beautiful reds and oranges that can be created through iron oxide – commonly known as rust.)


Lime is the agent that ‘bonds’ the colors into the underlying concrete, absorbing CO2 from the air as this bonding process takes place.


Lime Plaster walls take in excess humidity and release the moisture when the air is dry, enhancing the interior living environment. Lime plaster is also anti bacterial and anti fungal: mold simply does not like to grow on it!


In today’s world, as we address our impact on global warming, the use of lime plaster achieves a reduction in CO2 release of approximately 80% as compared to a similar application of ordinary stucco. One single residence using lime plaster finish can achieve a reduction of between 5,000 and 10,000 lbs of CO2 emissions.