Design snapshot: The art of the stone wall - Fine Homebuilding
previous
  • The Hobbit House and More
    The Hobbit House and More
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • The Passive House Build
    The Passive House Build
  • Electrical Articles & Videos
    Electrical Articles & Videos
  • Play the Inspector Game!
    Play the Inspector Game!
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • How to Install Housewrap Solo
    How to Install Housewrap Solo
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Shorten a Prehung Door
    Shorten a Prehung Door
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Buyer's Guide to Insulation
    Buyer's Guide to Insulation
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
next

Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here

Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here


Design snapshot: The art of the stone wall

comments (3) February 16th, 2012 in Blogs
KHS Katie Hutchison, Contributor

Click To Enlarge Photo: Katie Hutchison

This casually stacked old, field-stone wall ambles across a classic New England farm demarcating fields. The stone selection and placement appears somewhat ad hoc, but beautifully so. Gaps, between smaller rocks toward the top of this jumble and larger rocks beneath them, let daylight penetrate the upper courses, almost cheerfully defying the mass of the wall. It lumbers along performing its function while inspiring awe. It reflects an artful intervention of human will on a weighty natural material. The appeal is almost visceral. For more insight into the art of working with stone take a look at Dan Snow's In the Company of Stone and Lew French's Stone by Design.
 
by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast and SquareOne

 

Read more design snapshots by architect Katie Hutchison.

Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this article and over a thousand more

Learn More

posted in: Blogs, Design, Design snapshot, stone wall

Comments (3)

KHS KHS writes: I'm so glad to learn the term "lace wall" and the pragmatic thinking behind it. Thanks, Rob, Brian, and TheTimberTailor.
Posted: 6:24 pm on February 16th

RYagid RYagid writes: Nice photo, Katie. I agree, the daylight passing through those upper courses of stone is beautiful in some way.

ThetimberTailor: I agree with you as well. I can't imagine clearing a field of stone and then building a wall with such thought. Undoubtedly thought was put into this wall. The stones weren't just thrown about.

Brian, the editor here at the magazine informed me that this is a classic example of a "lace wall". It's a common style along the New England Coast. According to a NYtimes article, lace walls were sometimes used to keep sheep contained in pasture. Because the top stones would fall easily, sheep tended to keep off of them.

It's a good article and worth a read. Here is a link:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2005/11/18/travel/escapes/18stone.html?pagewanted=all

Posted: 4:00 pm on February 16th

TheTimberTailor TheTimberTailor writes: I too see the ad hoc beauty in this type of stone wall but can't help but wonder what the determined souls who stacked each and every one of those boulders with a grunt and a snort would think of us contemplating it as art. Regardless, their strain is our gain in admiring the enduring result of their effort.
Posted: 12:57 pm on February 16th

Log in or create a free account to post a comment.