13 thoughts on “Taos Green Home 1”

  1. Got it! Thank you! VERY,verrrry appreciated!!
    will keep all posted on project development and start a facebook/picture diary as things get going! : )

  2. Owen,

    You make a great point about the energy consumption of large houses.

    I mentioned my carpenter friend’s woodshop that easily converts to a large entertainment space. One of the great advantages of this concept is that he doesn’t need invest a lot in heating and cooling it. The structure is very well insulated and mildly passive solar. As a woodshop, he doesn’t even bother to heat or cool it for most of the year. He lets the temperatures naturally fluctuate. The passive solar is sufficient to allow him to work in the woodshop in a couple of layers of sweatshirts. This is adequate because he is active and working keeping warm. Most would not consider that temperature sufficient for a living space such as a house, but it’s very comfortable in a shop.

    When he is entertaining, as he often does during the holidays with family and during the NFL Playoffs with friends, he can boost up the temperature just for the time needed.

    It makes much better sense than having that space attached to his home.

    He has all the advantages of a large home, without the wasteful disadvantages.

  3. faith and Malcolm:

    Clearly it’s not my place to tell others how big their houses should be. Each person/family must decide that for themselves.

    There are families in New York and other large cities that very happily raise a family with 2 to 4 kids in a 2 bedroom apartment of under 500 sqft. I happen to be good friends with a family living that way in St. Louis.

    Then there is an old college buddy of mine that has had a custom home built just for himself (and his dog) of over 2500 sqft. I also happen to know that he believes building that house was one of the biggest mistakes he has ever made in life, but he still loves his house. He has a maid service come and clean it for him and do his laundry once a week! I joke with him about getting lost in house all the time. He built his house as an investment, but with the real estate market what it is, there aren’t many buyers right now, so he’s kinda trapped in a fancy prison he built for himself.

    My personal opinion is to keep my house minimal. Just large enough for my needs, and no larger.

    f&M, one option about your bedroom vs office dilemma would be to not plan to have an office inside the home at all. Build a “Shed” that will be your office. It’s taxed at a much lower rate, and it provides a degree of separation from the house that will allow someone working in the office to concentrate on their job more while they are in there. Keep in mind that a small Shed structure need not be the ugly plywood shack that most people think of. In fact, it can easily be very attractive, insulated, and be very efficent and cozy.

    Such an office, if appropriately designed, would be an outstanding place to serve double duty as a guest bedroom.

    For that matter instead of a Shed, a Tiny House on a trailer could be an excellent office or guest bedroom. Furthermore, that Tiny House might be the ideal first structure to build on a project. It would great to have a shelter like that to tow to your brand new land and use it while building more permanent structures. Once the more permanent structures are built, convert the Tiny House to an office, guest quarters, or whatever.

    The same principle for a separate workshop, or an art studio can also apply. The noise and mess that is often common to those spaces is best if it is not connected to the house anyway.

    Simply add on small inexpensive structures as the needs demand and finances allow.

    Worried about entertaining a large group of extended family and friends? Build a nice outdoor living space with an outdoor kitchen, and/or design your large barn or workshop so that can serve multiple purposes for daily life, but can be easily converted to a large open space for entertaining. If planned accordingly, that outdoor space might take the form of a courtyard in the center surrounded by the house, and all the different small structures that make up the property. This all could be made very beautiful and inviting.

    One of the best designed woodshops I’ve ever seen was simply a big empty barn type structure. All the tools were stored in a custom tool trailer that got parked inside the barn. That made it easy for the carpenter to hitch it up and take all his tools to a job site. At the same time, when he was at home, he could work inside his barn on his own projects using the same tools. Very intelligent design. I’ve attended more than one Super Bowl party that he has held inside his barn/shop. Wonderful multipurpose space. Did I mention that his outdoor BBQ was right next to his woodshop? He has photos in there of family holiday gatherings with kids and grandkids all over the place having a great time. The beauty of the design is that he can convert his woodshop to an entertainment space simply by parking his tool trailer outside.

    (Side point: He has an amazing collection of wooden toys and games he has built that I’m sure his grandkids simply adore. I can’t visit him without challenging him to a game of pingpong on the table he built which easily converts to a dining table, or a game of skeeball on his custom built wooden game. It’s hard to leave his place without a big smile on your face.)

    If you have children, building a small house, almost assures that your kids will WANT to get outside to play, and not stay cooped up inside. Most parents would consider that a very healthy thing.

    However, I realize this may not be the style that fits for everyone.

    As I said, if someone wants to build a ball and chain around their neck, be my guest and build yourself a huge oversized house.

    • It’s good to get different opinions. It’s easy to fall into the trap of conventional ways of doing things.

      This reminds me of a home I worked on many years ago that was ridiculously oversized. It was exhausting walking back and forth through the house to fetch tools, etc. We joked about buying roller skates just to get around.

      Oh yeah, and I just remembered another ridiculously sized home I helped build up in the mountains. I actually got turned around or disoriented going between the rooms. The views out the two-story high windows were nice, but I can’t imagine the heating bills in winter. If I remember right the home was mostly for skiing on the weekends by out of state Texan oil tycoons. Of course the house has to be heated even when it’s unoccupied. One of the workers said it was all a tax write off anyway so they’re probably not worried about the expense. Such is life in ski resort towns…

  4. Jay I have to wonder how big of a house would you need for just you? now how much square footage would you expect say a family of 6 to squeeze into or 10. i look a most of these 2000 sq ft houses and ask why does it only have 3 bedrooms at 2000 sqr ft it should have more bedrooms. are house plans for a family of 6 is 1980 sq ft and my bigest worry is will i actually have office and work space or will i have to give it up for bedroom space?

  5. It’s beautiful. Size is up to the owner. I like large homes and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. It just depends on what you plan to do with it is my thought. I don’t see it as a ball and chain. I see it as room to breathe. I don’t want to feel like I’m in a cell. I want space and freedom. Big IS beautiful in this case.

  6. Gee Owen, what gave that idea?

    This structure, in my humble opinion, would be much better as a Community Center, Daycare, or some other purpose than a private home.

    I realize that not everyone will agree with me on this, and that’s okay. To each their own. If someone wants a house that can serve double duty as a ball and chain around one’s neck, then they can have a huge house like that one. I just don’t see the point of having a home that big.

    Big houses are way over-rated. Building the smallest home that fits your NEEDS makes a lot more sense. If you feel the need to expand your sheltered space, do it with outbuildings. Sheds, Barns, Gazebos, Workshops, etc next to your home make much more sense, (and are taxed at a much lower rate.)

    Taos is a beautiful place. The weather there is magnificent most of the year. Get outside and enjoy nature!

    When the weather gets too hot to be outside, take an excursion up into those wonderful mountains pictured on the horizon. I assure you it will be much cooler up there, and much more fun than slaving away trying to keep a huge house clean.

    I doubt many watching that video noticed, but the owner’s name on the mailbox of that house was, “Sisyphus.”

    No wonder he wants to sell it. That house was his boulder.

  7. Beautiful, but it’s way too freekin’ huge.

    It would be like living in hell trying to keep up with a place that big.

    It would be impossible to keep it all clean and maintained.

    No thanks. I have no desire to be a slave to my own home, no matter how beautiful or “green” it may be. That is no way to live.


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