Earthship building began to take shape in the 1970's. A product of environmentalism (and hippies) earthship construction demands craftsmanship and attention to detail to succeed.
When LGA Studios was hired to remodel an Earthship in the
, Larry Gilland was excited as always to take on new challenges. Some of these were: no existing plans, leaky windows, unusual structure and owners who loved both Southwest design and the style of Lord of the Rings.
To make an Earthship, start with steel-rimmed tires. Lots of steel-rimmed tires. Stack them up and pack in other trash: cans and bottles. Maybe throw some rebar through the tires, pack in rammed earth or concrete through the centers, and then plaster over the outside so that there is no hint of the tires within. The walls in this house are actually very strong and did not need additional reinforcement.
What did need work was the entire entry wall, which was full of windows and tilted inward. This is a hallmark of Earthship construction. The idea is that the windows bring winter sunlight to the back of the house and warm the stone floor, which heats the house passively. However the window's angle was all wrong for this location. Sunlight heated the house during the summer and only brought sun across the ceiling in the winter. Plus the windows leaked.
LGA Studios stood the windows upright, which made the home feel significantly more spacious even though square footage was only added at the entry. The new wall now evokes castles, but on a cozy scale.
Secret Window - Reveals what is in the wall!
With this remodel we were able to expand the bathroom, which had some beautiful original tiling. One of the owners wanted the extra shower space to have this same tile so much that she hunted it down to its origin, a factory in Mexico where the same tile is still made. Thus the tile work is joined so seamlessly that it looks like one installation.
Credit should be given to Nick Starkey of PineCrest Construction Co., the contractor for this project, for such beautiful work. He truly listened to the client and worked as a team with us. Nick is an artistic problem-solver.
As with any unique house, the remodel process took some careful thought and labor. But it was worth it. When the house was finished LGA Studios was given an in-depth tour from a very pleased owner.