In the woods outside Santa Fe, Amy Stone
creates a high-functioning, elegantly simple home with minimal impact on the environment.
and John Rutherford enjoy the morning sun at the Forest Studio house in the mountains outside Santa Fe.
Perched like a butterfly ready to take flight, the Forest Studio home of Amy Stone
and John Rutherford leaves a light imprint on the ancient oaks, ponderosa pines, and granite outcroppings sharing space in the Santa Fe National Forest.
and Rutherford opted instead for concrete and steel, blending these most basic of building blocks into a graceful combination of Southwestern and Japanese architectural design elements.
is the question posed by Amy, who has a graduate degree in architecture from the University of Colorado and is a general contractor.
wanted to design homes with ties to the local culture and environment.
Five years ago, Amy
and John, a builder from New Zealand, formed their own design and build company known as Verde Design Group
A little-traveled but public dirt road bisects the five-acre property that Amy
discovered for sale two years ago while driving the back byways near the village of CaÃ±ada de los Alamos.
Eager to get settled on the land, Amy
and John picked a building site near the road, one that offered easy access to electricity and a community water system.
"The home was built on-site although certain elements were engineered off-site and brought in to come together at different stages of construction," Amy
adheres to a "kit-of-parts" approach to home building, an idea with applications as broad as the landscapes in which her
homes take root and the clients who will live in them.
and John, the "kit-of-parts" philosophy means the design adapts to sustainable off-the-shelf materials readily available in the area, rather than requiring the materials to conform to the design.
The design is based on the dimensions of the building products, which dramatically reduces labor cost as well as material waste, Amy
Affordable and functional design can go hand in hand, according to Amy
, who holds green building at the heart of her
The home's basic building blocks are insulated concrete forms (ICFs) assembled almost like a giant Lego set and then core-filled with rebar and concrete.
The fire-resistant ICF system not only adds to the home's mass and insulation valuesâ€"the 12-inch-thick walls are rated at R-50â€"but also provides peace of mind to the owners of this home that sits in a mountain forest at risk for wildfires.
So enamored are Amy
and John of building with the insulated concrete forms, they've become the authorized New Mexico distributors for the Nudura product line.
Among the elements in Amy
and John's home are windows, bathroom slate tiles, a space-saving combo washer and dryer, easy-to-assemble closet and cabinet units from Ikea, concrete floors and countertops, and a radiant heating system.
"I've been surprised at how comfortable a small house can be," Amy
Even on the warmest summer days, the indoor temperature has yet to exceed 76 degrees, according to Amy
By its size, passive solar orientation, and water-conserving systems, this home makes a green statement.
and John have taken the next step to include Energy Star appliances, low-E windows, dual-flush toilets, a 10-gallon combo washer/dryer, and a combo water heater/radiant floor heater.
Architect & builder: Amy E. Stone, AIA, principal; Paul Fretz, architect intern; James McWhorter, AIA; John Rutherford, production manager; Verde Design Group LLC, 474-8686, firstname.lastname@example.org, verdedesigngroup.com.
Interior designer: Amy E. Stone
, principal, Verde Design Group LLC
, 474-8686, email@example.com, verdedesigngroup.com.
Appliances: Viking dishwasher, vikingrange.com, from Baillio's
Electronics & Appliances, 438-3039, baillios.com; KitchenAid refrigerator, kitchenaid.com, and Amana oven, amana.com, from Sears
Armoire: LIVING ROOM Jackalope, 471-8539, jackalope.com.