Building a healthy home.
The view from the dining room to the living room shows thickened adobe walls with hard-troweled plaster, slate and honed flagstone floors, carved woodwork, and crafted stone and glass work.
Designed by architect Paula Baker-Laporte—a nationally recognized and respected leader in the healthy home movement—and built by Prull and Associates, this home was created on a beautiful but challenging site with 360-degree views overlooking Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the surrounding mountains. Some of the design difficulties included a twenty-foot drop in grade from the high end of the building to the low end and strict height and style restrictions dictated by city code and covenants.
The home has eight different levels to accommodate the site but would work well on a flat site without the various level changes. A small guest home is integrated into the plan, with a private entry from the entry courtyard and another door leading to the interior of the main house.
The home is surrounded by a series of outdoor spaces. A landscaped courtyard leads to an entry portal. A service courtyard off the utility room opens onto a vegetable garden. An outdoor area off the dining room contains a built-in barbecue and a dining table. This space leads down a few steps onto a covered view portal off the living room. A private trellis-covered portal leads off the master bath and exercise room to a hot-tub area with a mountain view to the south and city and mountain views to the west. A “reflexology” pebbled walkway is planned for this outdoor area.
The owners’ concerns about health dictated their choices for decorating their new home. They used organic fabrics for window dressing and the upholstery on their locally crafted custom furniture. Only nontoxic cleaning products are used. These are important decisions, because all of the efforts of the architect and builder would be for naught if the homeowner were to use toxic furnishings, cleaning products, and pesticides.
What makes this home healthy?
This floor plan is available for purchase at www.naturalhomeplans.com.
Meet the architect
Paula Baker-Laporte, Baker-Laporte Associates
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Paula Baker-Laporte, AIA, has headed a prolific and wide-ranging architectural practice based in Santa Fe since 1986. For the past twelve years, she’s dedicated her practice to the precepts of environmentally sound and health-enhancing architecture, and she’s the primary author of Prescriptions for a Healthy House (New Society, 2001).
What were you hoping to achieve in this home design?
My goals were the same as my goals on all of my residential projects, large or small: to create a healthy and nurturing environment incorporating my clients’ desires and working with the opportunities presented by the site. On this residence I started with a magnificent site, clients whose values matched my own, and a building environment where fine craftsmanship abounds and where natural materials are standard fare.
What are your favorite features?
The double adobe walls create a solid, grounded, cozy feeling inside, while the openings frame the breathtaking views, creating a sense of expansiveness. The surrounding outdoor rooms, courtyards, and patios form a gentle transition space between these two. The wrought-iron door hardware and handrails, custom glass lights and panels, carved beams, plastered walls, and stone detailing all contribute to a feeling of a home lovingly built by many accomplished hands.
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