Half timber Houses
In the Middle Ages, many people in northern
Europe (northern France, Germany, and England) built their houses in this
half-timbered way. This was because wood for building was expensive, and
most people couldn't afford to build their whole house out of wood.
Instead, they built just a frame of wood, and then filled in the frame with lath and plaster. Lath is made of smaller sticks, too small to hold any weight, and over the lath you smear on plaster made from lime.
At first people just did half-timbering to save money on wood, but soon they realized that you could make attractive patterns with the dark wood and the white plaster.