Monday, October 27, 2008


Santa Fe style homes are sometimes built in Colorado, They just are built slightly different than a home in New Mexico. Actually, few homes even in Santa Fe are built of adobe. Most houses are of light wood frame construction with a stucco exterior.

In Colorado, walls are built using 2x6 framing. Some special walls are double framed to create the look of a thick, adobe wall. Windows are ordered with a 2x4 jamb, allowing the drywall to curve into the window. Door jambs and wall corners are also edged with a radius curve. The final texture or wall finish is as handcrafted as budget allows, the more hand crafted the look, the higher the cost.

Roofs are "flat" only in the interior framing. The surface of the roof slopes slightly to drain toward the scuppers and downspouts. "Cannales" traditional in Santa Fe are avoided because of problems in the Colorado climate. Some form of a rubber roof membrane is used as the waterproofing. The drainage slope can be done with tapered roof insulation or by using sloped trusses.

Timbers, logs and corbels help give the Santa Fe look. Corbels and matching timbers are often ordered from Santa Fe lumber yards. Latillas, usually branches in New Mexico, are sometimes made of cedar fence splits, cheaper, easier to install and less likely to house spiders. Mexican tile and gas burning kiva fireplaces are available anywhere.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Recycled, aged or used wood is used primarily for siding, timbers and flooring in custom homes. Recycled wood is obtained from companies that salvage and disassemble old barns and structures. Occasionally, a client finds and dismantles an old barn themselves.

Siding can be recycled wood milled into a ship lap or other profile, or it can be simple planks. Either way, the siding should be placed over an anti-infiltration barrier. If simple planks are used, there will be gaps between the boards. Any form of old wood may also have open knot holes. So that the white of the anti-infiltration barrier does not show through, black construction paper is placed just below the wood. Used wood as siding can be run vertically or horizontally, vertical wood siding requires horizontal nailers in the framing.

Timbers of aged wood are chosen for their look and character. Old wood timbers usually will not shrink, twist or crack as much as a new, wet wood timber.

Recycled wood for flooring can be obtained from specialty suppliers, ready for installation. It can also be found on old buildings and milled for floor use. Again, it is chosen for look and character. Again, its age and stability help it resist shrinkage.

This home in Winter Park, Colorado was designed by David Elfring Architect and built by Terra-Firma Custom Homes.