i wanted to share one thing about the house that’s nearing completion: the ceilings. when we bought the place, some of the rooms had fairly decent ceilings, others none at all–just ceiling joists–while others had either old packing crates or barrel staves between the joists. we wanted very much to keep as many of them as possible, though it turned out that that just wasn’t feasible in the packing crate and barrel stave rooms–they were just too old and brittle (trust me, i sorted through a bunch of them myself by hand). so in those rooms we pulled the old ceilings down (after, you may recall, removing the three or so feet of dirt that was on top of them) and did what the resourceful always do: used what we had.

the result is marvelous pastiche of different colors and textures–every room is a little different. pics follow below, of course.

the ceiling in part of what will be my study. we used some old 1X4s that had been pulled out of the building.

the ceiling in part of what will be my study. we used some old 1X4s that had been pulled out of the building. i love how the slightly wider widths make it feel not-fussy.

one of the original ceilings that is staying. we'll patch the broken areas.

one of the original ceilings that is staying. we’ll patch the broken areas.

master bedroom ceiling. this room is a little more complicated than the others because it used to be two, so i'm going to have to figure out how to deal with the different colored joists. for here, we used old floor boards.

master bedroom ceiling. this room is a little more complicated than the others because it used to be two, so i’m going to have to figure out how to deal with the different colored joists. for here, we used old floor boards. (note the “missing” joist we now have in the middle where the wall used to be. if anyone out there has an old 2×10 circa 1890, let me know. we’re currently on the lookout.)

this might be a solution for the master bed: staining the joists darker (though these ones here are dark because they got singed in the fire).

this might be a solution for the master bed: staining the joists darker (though these ones here are dark because they got singed in the fire. design by serendipity?).

ceiling in the study, also old floor boards. i love that some of them have old paint on them.

ceiling in the library, also old floor boards. i love that some of them have old paint on them.

ceiling in the living/dining room area; it's original and staying that way. we're still working on how we'll transition between the two ceiling heights.

ceiling in the living/dining room area; it’s original and staying that way. we’re still working on how we’ll transition between the two ceiling heights (yes, that white space in the middle is currently the sky).

original ceiling in the kitchen. i've always loved this one.

original ceiling in the kitchen. i’ve always loved this one.

new ceiling of 1x4s for what will be chris's study.

new ceiling of 1x4s along with some wider boards mixed in for a non-fussy feel (don’t want to be too matchy-poo poo, as oprah once put it) in what will be chris’s study. apparently the pigeon sitting on the beam below it approves. goodness knows we have not yet managed to convince them that they really ought to find new houses.

original ceiling in the kitchen. it's staying along with that too-cool water-damage patina.

original ceiling in the guest house kitchen. it’s staying along with that too-cool water-damage patina.

this is one of my favs of the new ceilings. when we ran out of floor boards, randy proposed ripping some of the old floor joists in half. this is the guest house living room.

this is one of my favs of the new ceilings. when we ran out of floor boards, randy proposed ripping some of the old floor joists in half. this is the guest house living room.

and, my absolute favorite: the guest house bath. a huge thanks to greg clark, the former caretaker, for this one. he salvaged some colored peg board and stored it at the house thinking it might come in useful someday. fingers crossed it jives with the multi-colored cement tiles i have picked out for in there!

and, my absolute favorite: the guest house bath. a huge thanks to greg clark, the former caretaker, for this one. he salvaged some colored peg board and stored it at the house thinking it might come in useful someday. fingers crossed it jives with the multi-colored cement tiles i have picked out for in there!

and one we're still waiting on--the last one, really: the zaguan. we were going to do saguaro ribs in here--a traditional ceiling material in the barrio, but not only are they tough to find, they're also frequently not harvested sustainably. so we're doing cedar latillas instead--essentially long, small logs. it will looks similar to a saguaro rid ceiling, if it won't have exactly that same look (if anyone knows a good rib source, let us know!)

and one we’re still waiting on–the last one, really: the zaguan. we were going to do saguaro ribs in here–a traditional ceiling material in the barrio–but not only are they tough to find, they’re also frequently not harvested sustainably. so we’re doing cedar latillas instead–essentially long, small logs. it will looks similar to a saguaro rib ceiling, if it won’t have exactly that same look (if anyone knows a good rib source, give me a shout. i could still be convinced to change my mind.)

finally--to change gears: . a floor. or, at least, the beginnings of one. this is my study at the south end of the house, and today was the first time i could walk between the two rooms without having to take gigantic steps up and down. they've begun putting in aggregate and grading in preparation for the new floors. whoo-hoo!

finally–to change gears: a floor. or, at least, the beginnings of one. this is my study at the south end of the house, and today was the first time i could walk between the two rooms without having to take gigantic steps up and down. they’ve begun putting in aggregate and grading in preparation for the new floors. whoo-hoo!