Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Carved And Shaped Stone At Stone Forest In Santa Fe, N.M.

In the last post we looked at water features at Stone Forest,
now let's take a look at some more of their beautiful stonework,
starting with the front entry gate to the display gardens.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Water Features At Stone Forest In Santa Fe, N.M.

We stopped by Stone Forest back in early September
 and got some photos from their beautiful display gardens 
as well as inside their showroom.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Henrietta Furnace In Shenandoah County, Virginia

Just down the road from Jerome, Virginia 
lies the Henrietta Furnace for making iron.

These furnaces dot the western edge of the Shenandoah Valley
 and have long intrigued me for their imposing stonework.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vernacular Building In Jerome, Virginia

Part of Allison's family is from the tiny town of Jerome, Virginia
 which is along the western edge of the Shenandoah Valley in Shenandoah County.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stonework At Lake Leatherwood City Park In Eureka Springs, Ark.

Lake Leatherwood City Park is a beautiful spot on the edge of town
and because they offer camping
 we always stay there whenever we are in the area.

The arched bridge above is along the road in to the park
but unfortunately it cannot be easily seen from the road.

For more on arches see the post Stone Arches.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lloyd Kahn Says It Best

While I am at it 
I saw this video of Lloyd Kahn on his blog Lloyd's Blog.

It really sums up my life in building in a way that Lloyd can best describe.

Thanks Lloyd.

Adobe Workshop In California From Root Simple

In case you missed it from Blogs I Follow on the right sidebar,
 had a nice write up on an adobe workshop held in Southern California-

The workshop looked good and the write up with photos was excellent.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Production Techniques At Syzygy Tileworks

In the previous building boom high end tile became a key element in design,
 but where do those tile come from?

This is the second post on Syzygy Tileworks,
and here are the other posts:

In the previous post we looked at the showroom 
and a sampling of the tiles they make,
now we will take a look at how they make those tiles.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Syzygy Tileworks In Silver City, N.M.

Before we left Silver City back at the end of August 
we stopped by Syzygy Tile for a tour of their operations, 
expertly led by the showroom manager Patrick Hoskins.

This post will take a look at the showroom and their tile,
 and then the next three posts will look at their production facilities.

The rest of the set is as follows:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cecilia Stanford's House of Ceramic Art

This is the third post in a series on ceramic artist Cecilia Stanford,
and this time we will look at the tile work she has done in her home.

What better place to look at tile than the bathroom.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cecilia Stanford's Ceramic Art Studio

In the last post 
we were introduced to the home and studio of Cecilia Stanford, 
now let's take a look at her studio.

The day we were there she was between projects 
and moving things around so things were a bit cluttered 
but what I noticed were lots of large flat work tables at various heights.

The old lumberyard where she lives and works provides lots of room.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cecilia Stanford's Ceramic Art In Silver City, N.M.

I have posted on the ceramic art of Cecilia Stanford before
(Tile Mosaic) without knowing that she had done the work 
and when I finally realized her name she generously invited Allison and I over
 to meet and see her home and studio. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Naturally Formed Wood

Breitenbush Hot Springs in western Oregon
 has lots of beautiful use of free form wood,
and being in Oregon they have lots of wood.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Exterior Cement Trim For Doorways And Windows In Mexico

I am constantly amazed at the mastery 
of the finished cement and concrete work in Mexico 
and it is no wonder as the prevalence of termites
 makes the use of wood almost impossible.

These first four photos are from San Carlos, Sonora.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stone Work In Guanajuato, Guanajuato

From time to time I like to acknowledge some of the beautiful stone work 
we have run across in our travels.

 The photos for this post came when we were in Guanajuato, Guanajuato 
 and took a walk from our campground.

 Guanajuato is a state full of silver mines and stone quarries
 and the city displays much of that.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Discount Ceramic And Stone Tile Work

When we were remodeling our house 
we had occasion to do a fair amount of tile work
 and one of the projects was a front gate. 

Years before I had bought a whole pallet of Indiana limestone 
in 3/4" and 2" thick x 2' square pieces at the local stone yard
 that was left over from a large order. 

They wanted to get rid of it
 and gave me a great price to take it all away.

The last bits of it I used on top of the stone pilasters 
as part of the gate project.

To see how I did this go to the post:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Concrete Chimneys, Skylights, And Cooling Vents In Mexico

All over Mexico one sees beautiful examples of preformed concrete work, 
and in this post I will concentrate on chimneys, skylights, and cooling vents.

I have never watched how they make these but
 I am assuming they are indeed preformed. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Trail Work At Valley View Hot Springs

Allison and I found ourselves at Valley View Hot Springs 
in Colorado in 2009 volunteering to do some trail work
on a steep trail at about 9000' on the west slope
 of the Sangre De Cristo mountains. 

Above are Allison and a wonderful
 fellow, Rob Bob, who wanted to help and as Rob Bob goes by 
both names we affectionately combined them.

 He was a wonderful, fun person to work with 
in this strenuous, hard work and we all had a great time. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Carved Stone In Mexico

I love working with stone and I love carved stone,
but I have never been a stone carver;
 but in our travels around Mexico in the last couple of years we
 have run across some beautiful work that I would like to share.

Please Note: this is a reworking of the post

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Concrete Hip Roof In San Carlos, Sonora

The last post showed how the walls were made,
 this time I want to show how the roof is formed up and poured with concrete.

This house ( different from the one in the last post ) is next to the church in 
San Carlos, Sonora.

(Please Note: This post is a reworking of 
The Formed Roof from 2/23/10.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Building A Brick House In Mexico

I have always been very curious about building in Mexico and 
this winter I have been trying to learn more about the various facets.

To see how the bricks are made go to the post:

 They rarely use wood because of termites and the cost of lumber.

(Please Note: This is a reworking of the post
Building Mexico from 2/23/10.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Garden Ornaments- Fine Art To Folk Art

At this time of year as the garden begins to fade,
but the weather is nice,
we start to notice the extras in the garden that stay with us year round.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ideas For The Portal

Since my last post was on the hip roof I thought this might be a good time 
to add a couple of thoughts about the portal, 
or porch as it is known in the non-spanish speaking world.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hip Roof

When we built a two story addition on our first house in Santa Fe, N.M.
 ( background, above ) I tried to keep the overall look as low as possible
 because there were only a few two story homes in our neighborhood 
and I didn't want to stick out any more than I had to; 
and the roof with the lowest visual profile is the hip
because there are no tall gable ends.

From that I found the hip to be a far superior roof system
 as it gives the house more protection in high wind areas
 and because there is an overhang all around it keeps the walls drier from the rain
 and more shaded from the hot summer sun.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Mexican Style Mortared Stone Work

An interesting style in stone work we have seen traveling around Mexico
 is inserting small stones in the mortar joints.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Glen Burnie Gardens In Winchester, Va.

Glen Burnie is a house  first built in the early 18th century next to a series of springs,
 and land from the estate was used to establish the town of Winchester, Virginia in the 1740's.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fixer Upper In Alamos, Sonora

We met some folks from New Mexico 
who were fixing up this house in Alamos, Sonora 
and they invited us over to take a look.

Pat and Steve live part of the year in Abiquiu, New Mexico 
and and the rest of the time here.

As we approach the house on a steep hill we notice how they have
terraced it off creating lots of space on different levels.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Use Of Color In Guanajuato, Guanajuato

If you are looking for ideas on selecting color
 there is no place quite like Guanajuato in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stone And Concrete Walls Made With Forms

 Ever sense I first read about using a form to build a stone wall in the early 70's
 in the book Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing
 I thought it could be a good idea in the right situations.

 While we were in Alamos, Sonora recently there was a fellow 
who was doing just that with a  retaining wall 
and much of it would be covered up so looks were not a priority. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I want to show some of the nicer doors we have seen around the continent,
and starting out is this door we discovered in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tips On Building A Drystack Stone Wall

 I spent many years as a self taught stone mason
 doing random rubble dry stack walls which I enjoyed doing 
more than just about any other trade that I have dabbled in,
until my body just couldn't do it any more.

The last time I worked at it was this project
at Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon in the summer of 2008.

 Let me caution that stone masonry is hard work 
that requires sturdy boots, gloves and attention to what you are doing. 

It is easy to have serious accidents: 
smashed fingers or hands, broken bones, or worse, 
and what follows is not intended as a complete instruction
 but merely as notes to the process.

A safe work site is essential as well as safe practices.

(Please note that this is a reworking of the post:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Passive Solar- 2 Trombe Walls And A Greenhouse

The adobe house that we had in Santa Fe, New Mexico had two trombe walls
 and one small attached sun room that we added that supplied much of our winter heat.

Above is the living room trombe wall,
 which is basically a solar collector that is put over a masonry wall, in this case adobe.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Garden Path

The above path is one of my favorites. 

It reuses cast off stone in an unusual pattern 
and it is not clear where the path leads (oh the mystery); 
and it was designed and built by kids in Seattle, Washington.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Building An Adobe Wall

When properly built and protected,
 adobe is a good material for privacy walls.

(Please note: this post is a reworking of the post:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Japanese Style Shed

Not long before we sold our house I wanted to build a "nice" shed,
 not only to have extra space,
 but also to the block the view to the parking area 
and a two story apartment next door.

I decided on a 12' x 12' foot print to avoid getting a building permit 
even though I don't like squares particularly but it solved the permit problem
 and saved waste in the plywood sheathing used under the stucco. 

(Please note this post is a reworking of the post:
Japanese Style Shed from 2/7/10.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tile And Tile Mural In Mexico

Mexico has some of the best tile work
 and I want to show some that we have come across in our travels there.

The photo above shows a work in progress in Alamos, Sonora
with the standard tile that we in the states are used to
 when we think of Mexican tile work, but there is so much more.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Making Adobe Bricks In Patzcuaro, Michoacan

A couple of years ago Allison and I stayed at the
and as luck would have it the owners son was an architect 
and contractor with an adobe making operation adjacent to the campground.

Hernan Pimentel concentrated on modern design 
using traditional materials and techniques.

The pit above is in an arroyo which fills back up with dirt 
after the summer rains so each year more adobe dirt.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wood Fired Ceramic Kilns In Mexico

As I continue reworking some of my very first posts 
and since the last post was on brick kilns, 
let's take a look at ceramic kilns, first in the Alamos, Sonora area. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Making Fired Bricks In Alamos, Sonora

While we were in Alamos, Sonora a couple of years ago
 our friend David found this brick making operation
 near the campground where we were staying.

Being familiar with making adobe bricks,
 I had always wanted to see how bricks were taken to the next step of firing them,
and the guys working here were more than happy to show us the ropes.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One More Gate

I built this gate back before we sold our house
 and you may have seen it in previous posts 
but I have never shown the whole project together.

The earlier posts are:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stone Steps #4

I have been gathering photos for stone steps 
and now is a good time to take a look.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Xeriscape Gardening In The Southern Rockies

When we had a house we had a garden,
and it was comprised mostly of herbs, natives, 
xeriscape perennials, and fruit trees.

Much of the time we lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico
 we were in a severe drought and under, at times, 
stringent watering restrictions,
but we both loved to garden without spending all of our time at it.

To make up for the drought we collected rainwater
 and concentrated on tough, drought tolerant plants, shrubs, and trees.

Above you may notice blue flax, rocky mountain penstemon,
 and orange poppies.

At the top with the reddish leaves is a native chokecherry
 and also a native gambels oak, both young trees  at that time about 5' or 6' high.

Peeking out on the far right is a very young semi-dwarf apple.