Slate has a well-deserved reputation as a handsome and long-lived roofing material. But as Sheffield, Mass., slater John Kuhn can attest, it also makes pretty good siding. Kuhn sided his own house with a combination of unfading green and purple Vermont slate, laid 6 inches to the weather. That's substantially less than the 7- to 9-inch exposure typical of roofing applications, but Kuhn found that the wider coursing seemed too crude when seen from close up. Like roof slates, each sidewall slate is secured with two ring-shank copper nails; an architect confirmed that the 7-pound-per-square-foot load represented by the slate wouldn't present any structural problems.

The unfading green and purple Vermont slate siding on master slater John Kuhn's modern post-and-beam house should last as long as the structure itself. The ornamental "Christmas tree" figure on the chimney chase at center is a duplicate of one Kuhn found on an old barn.

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