Camino Los Abuelos, Santa Fe, NM 87508

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Property Description


An earth-sheltered, passive solar house, that maximizes sun control and thermal mass for winter heating and summer cooling. Very solidly built, quality materials and craftsmanship, with close attention to details.
The design intent of the house, studio, pool complex, and landscaping, is to integrate all functions with the existing landscape, using natural materials and permaculture techniques. A flowing mosaic of stone and brick pathways, terraces and retaining walls connect the built environment and gardens, while an extensive network of water catchment swales and check-dams help support the natural landscape.

Matterport 360 Panoramas of the Property: (Tour starts automatically or touch/click to explore specific areas – i.e. Pool Views):

The more traditional Santa Fe style main house, originally constructed in 1979 by two local cabinetmakers, is approximately 1500 sq.ft. An adjacent, more contemporary upper west wing with extensive use of stone both inside and out is approximately 1,100 sq.ft. and was added in the late 1980’s by the current owner/architect. All the exterior walls are insulated concrete construction, 12” filled block and cast concrete, with the exception of one insulated adobe wall in the upstairs bathroom. All interior walls are either adobe, or cast concrete with stone. By utilizing the moderation of the earth’s temperature (between 52 – 57F annually), and the “flywheel” effect of winter’s cooling carrying over into the summer, and vice versa, cooling costs are zero, and winter heating with three independent propane fire/stoves is $300 – $500, depending on management of the passive controls, interior design, occupancy, and lifestyle. There are two direct gain/passive solar skylight water heaters to supplement the two electric water heaters. The original structure has oversize vigas supporting an earth load of approximately 24” in depth (4” of polystyrene is sandwiched between the multilayer roof structure and the earth).

Despite the earth-sheltered nature of the house, it is filled with light in the cooler months, and employs five operable skylights, cross ventilation, and natural convection for summer cooling. The split-level upper west wing, utilizes 12” glue-laminated beams, also with a green roof structure above, has a double layer of polystyrene insulation and less earth, 12 – 14”. Interior wall surfaces are plastered with an array of materials and surface finish: mud, untreated and painted smooth plaster, as well as some textured plaster; some walls are crafted with thin layers of mostly red sandstone. The lower east level has brick on sand floors (with the exception of oak in the kitchen, and tile in the bathroom), while the upper level has natural slate tiles over a 6” slab (with the exception of black quartz granite in the bathroom).


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There is a separate passive solar work studio with ample storage, work surfaces and sink. This is connected to a small bedroom and full bath on one side, and a two car garage on the other. This structure is approximately 1,000 sq. ft. and is solidly built with industrial steel frame components and filled concrete block infill, the exterior wall is insulated all the way around as is the roof. This building has a 6” colored concrete floor, and utilizes a roof rainwater catchment system coupled to an above ground 1550 gallon storage cistern. In addition to the two car garage (also with sink and shelving), there is a large outdoor tensile structure over a concrete pad, with ample vertical space, that can accommodate 3 additional vehicles. The main dwelling and studio/garage space have separate septic systems and water mains. Water is from a well shared by three households. The privately owned propane tank has a 500 gallon capacity.

This 6 acre property has a raised swimming pool, surrounded by a concrete deck with yacht fencing and security gates for child protection; all walls and pathways are finished in stone. The pool is a double concrete shell with 4” of polyurethane sandwiched between. There are solar collectors to heat the water, as well as a propane back-up heater; this combination can extend the swimming season well into October. Situated under the south side of the pool deck is a secluded solar and wood-heated sauna, with shower and solar/electric water heater; adjacent is a mechanical room for pool pumps, filter, heater, etc… Three arrays of photovoltaic panels on passive trackers allow for the possibility of operating a direct current pool pump.

A peaceful environment, a thoughtful space to live with.


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Camino Los Abuelos, Santa Fe, NM 87508