Friday, October 18, 2013

A Construction Project in Taos

yikes! trenching while saving adobe wall
The long awaited room addition has finally begun.  After a year of planning, easement issues with a neighbor, Planning Department issues with the town, (They required a lot consolidation and then the Town Planner resigned right in the middle of the permit application review and we had to wait until the replacement was hired), and design challenges we are ready to go!

This is a small addition, only about 600 sq ft, but when you own a historic adobe home new construction presents challenges you never could have imagined.  For example, the existing home has, literally, no foundation.  The floor sits on dirt. The addition will have a regular foundation, sub floor, radiant heat...the works. Connecting the new to the old "floor" requires massive expertise in this area.  Happily we have an amazing design/build/contractor with exquisite taste and 30 years of experience with adobe homes.  We got lucky with this one.
shoring up adobe wall

Other examples of the challenges so far....we needed to open up the back adobe wall.  The old adobe "bricks" have become one big adobe mud more bricks.  The shoring up process was quite the adventure. Then the trenches for the pipes and utilities needed to be dug 8 feet deep to accommodate our weather and the holes went from the front yard, the street, the entire length of the house and around to the back.  Of course, as soon as everything was dug up we had a massive rainstorm that turned to snow.  In early October!  Last year our first snowfall came on December 15th. I think I should take full credit for ending our long drought.

This project is going to be fun, exciting, frustrating, annoying...wonderful.  I plan to post regular updates with photos, stories, learnings and examples of historic building details. I hope you will join me on this journey and share your questions, comments and/or your own construction stories in the comments section at the end of the post.  Wish us luck!

My best,
October 18, 2013

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