December 15th, 2018in cottage
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The ceiling was intended to match one of my favorite features of our main house: the stained tongue-and-groove cedar ceiling of our main living space, which continues on to the outside to become the undersides of the eaves as well. Not only is it beautiful, it also offers a nice opportunity to connect the interior and exterior finishes with one another, particularly given that the floor-to-ceiling windows make the continuity of the cedar readily apparent.
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Main house ceiling for reference


For this project it turned out that sourcing the material was the greatest hassle. Much like with roofing, the original supplier wasn’t interested in selling to me non-wholesale. A key aspect of this material is that though it is tongue-and-groove, it is also square edged instead of V-grooved - after all, we’re going for Danish Modern, not log cabin - and that’s hard to find.
Only by accident did I find out that the right material to use was Dunn Lumber’s SDGA124RLTG. While it’s a clear, smooth-sanded, V-grooved T&G product, the back side of it is square edged and rough sawn, precisely what I was looking for. I only figured this out because I was in the Dunn location in Ballard for an unrelated errand, noticed their wall of T&G samples, noticed an unlabeled one that was what I wanted, and was able to find a sales guy who remembered that this was the back side of this product. It’s pricey but they’re nice enough to carry a 1/2” thick version instead of 3/4” and that brought down the cost somewhat.


I bought the same stain that had been used for the main house, Daly’s Semi-Transparent Exterior Stain in color 70909. It’s a fantastic product made with natural dyes from soil and some such and went on quite easily with a small fuzzy roller. It does need to be back-brushed as the instructions suggest but it’s still a quick process.
As an aside, Daly’s was a local Pacific Northwest company that made and sold its own line of stains and paints starting in the 1940s. Some years back they sold their recipes to Farwest Paints (another Pacific Northwest company) but retained their retail operations. Whatever remained of Daly’s went bankrupt in 2018 in a seemingly gnarly and unceremonious way, stiffing landlords and vendors alike. Fortunately, Farwest continues to carry the actual products forward and they continue to be excellent.


It’s not trivial installing ten foot long sticks of thin, interlocking tongue and groove material so I gave up and finally asked for help. My friend Russell was kind enough to drop in for two days and help me get the inside boards up after I did the outside a few weeks prior.
They required some finicky cuts in places, particularly around windows and exterior corners:
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Exterior board fancy cuts
But in the end it came together nicely and I’m quite happy with the outcome.
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Fancy ceiling - indoors
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Fancy ceiling - outdoors

Lessons learned

  • Never underestimate the difficulty of sourcing the right supplies for any project.
  • Local products are awesome.
  • Old guys in hardware stores who remember all the things are awesome.
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