Pumice-Crete Home, 2004
Designer: Palo Santo Designs
Builder: Palo Santo Designs/Borkert Construction
This space efficient, European barn style design went through many incarnations before its final completion. Originally it was to be a timber-framed, light clay building, but budget constraints and timing caused us to adapt the design. We eliminated most of the timber frame, and decided to go with a winter friendly alternative wall system, pumice-crete.
The owner did an absolutely amazing job of acquiring recycled and discount materials to lower her costs. All of the vigas and timber lintels were recycled. All the doors but one were re-used or built from recycled lumber. Most of the windows were bought from a discount outlet in Denver that sells job-site extras at discount prices. Most of the plumbing fixtures were purchased at re-use stores, and most of the lighting as well. The oak flooring for the bedroom was re-used from a remodel in Taos. We used all natural clay plasters (link to plasters in techniques) interior and a traditional earthen floor for the downstairs living area. We insulated the roof with blown in cellulose (recycled newspaper).
For a small design, less than 1100 square feet, the spaces feel roomy, light and healthy, with a great sense of interior design and creativity. Great views from skylights and windows, and high ceilings to match the high mountain terrain it is located in, make this small home feel big. And this is truly an affordable and ecological home, at less than $120 a square foot, again thanks to the owner's resourcefulness.