Extensive re-build of historic Santa Fe strawbale home
Featured in Santa Fe Trend Magazine, Fall/Winter 06-07
Featured in Strawbale Home Plans
by Wayne Bingham & Colleen Smith
Designer: Trey Jordon with Palo Santo Designs
Builder: Palo Santo Designs

This remodel project was a wonderful opportunity for Palo Santo Designs LLC to push the envelope in green design for historical Santa Fe. The hacienda style layout of the two existing buildings, the natural surroundings and clients who really knew they wanted cutting edge green, made for a great set-up. The original buildings were a home and guesthouse with attached garage built in 1997. The original house was strawbale construction; the guesthouse and garage were conventional frame. All were in the historic territorial Santa Fe style with parapet roofs.

When the owner’s approached Palo Santo Designs with the ideas for renovating and expanding the compound, they were clear that they were sticking with straw bale construction. Architect Trey Jordan came up with an excellent restructuring of the old garage with straw addition to create a master suite separate from the main house. Together with eco-design enhancements from Palo Santo Designs LLC, the new proposal had a green light.

The renovation utilized several cutting edge environmental building technologies. The building is super-insulated, constructed with a natural wall system of straw bale, and incorporates non-toxic materials. It utilizes solar technologies to generate electricity and capture heat from the sun, recycles the wastewater from sinks, shower and tub for irrigation and harvests rainwater also for irrigation.

This project is an excellent example of how environmentally sound and innovative green building systems can and should be incorporated into contemporary aesthetically pleasing and culturally appropriate designs. “Green” construction can be easily achieved within the context of mainstream and high-end custom construction, as it should.