We’ve been discussing cladding, the stuff that goes on the outside of the house, with the architect. And there are lots of choices out there. If we were Steve Jobs rich, we would get something really cool like this underlain by a rubber rainscreen. But we’re not. So we must choose cladding for mortals. Like bricks.
And that’s fine, except that it’s relatively difficult to find cool icetones in bricks, especially locally. Elgin-Butler bricks comes to mind, in part, because I've toured their factory. Several years ago, a friend and I organized and published a geological guidebook that focused on the Sandow lignite mine and the Elgin-Butler clay mine (We filled said guidebook with photos of the lignite mine’s namesake, Sandow, a bodybuilder from back in the day. We’re pretty convinced we produced the world’s most homoerotic geologic guidebook.). So when I think of local bricks, I think of Elgin-Butler.
And Elgin-Butler makes beautiful bricks. Their clay is whispy light, and they glaze their product smooth as baby butt. Plus, they have non-standard dimensions (we like long and thin). Unfortunately, Elgin-Butler cater almost exclusively to institutional customers, and their bricks tend to be twice as much as standard (yawn) home-building brick. Yet the Butler bricks call to us (and, it seems, the architect). So we’ll see how the initial price estimating goes with the house to see if we can afford them…
Another potential local choice is Acme. Bummer of bummers, they don’t really have any good whites. The white they do have looks like it had a 30-minute tussle with a terracotta pot and a high school football locker room mop. And lost.
If we squint and peer north, Bilco Brick out of Dallas-Fort Worth might-could be considered local. They have a white brick, but in standard brick dimensions. However, maybe their bricks could be Frank Lloyd Wrighted to look more non-traditional and uberhorizontal.
The white bricks by Hansen called “Snow Mist” (that name fits our IceHaus!) are a definite possibility. These could also be pointed in the style of the Wright to increase their horizontal cool factor. In fact, these might be the same bricks used on a project our architect designed on Lamie Street, a hunk of which he left on our front porch today. Hansen also has a brick named “White Splitface” that has horizontal macrotexture (good for the caterpillars…) and, perhaps, nonstandard dimensions (3” x 10”). These bricks are from Mormon country, so they aren’t exactly local, but they are closer than, say, Australia, right? And both of these bricks are from their “Texas Collection”. That counts as local, right?
Addendum: The brick search continues… Snyder Brick & Tile Co. out of Snyder, Texas (famous among certain circles for “Mr. Peanut” [Yep, I've been there…]) makes a white and psuedo-blocky brick called “Village Frost Brickstone” that may be promising. Metro Brick and Stone out of the Dallas Area have several flavors of white brick: “White Ivory”, “Silverado”, and “Cottonwood”, among others. Going south of the border to Santa Catarina, Mexico (distribution out of Edinburg), there’s TecnoIndustries with some beautiful white brick named “Artic” with slightly longer-than-standard dimensions that also comes in a split face version.