The House on Arno NE

Posted on January 19th, 2014 by Dave under Bikes, Uncategorized.
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A surprising number of folks have asked me about the round adobe house I call home after seeing the couple snippets over on the Picasa gallery. So, OK here’s a bit more about it.

First, Arno. Arno was the name of one of early Albuquerque developer Franz Huning’s sons.  His two other children, Edith and Walter also have streets in their names. The general location is near downtown on the edge of the so called North valley. Officially it is the Stronghurst neighborhood, reported to be the 1st such association in the city’s history. I have not researched all of this but I’m fairly confident someone will quickly point out any errors…

This property is 3/4 of an acre and the neighborhood was re-platted into really odd shapes and sizes in the 50’s and 60’s. It has a SU or special use zoning. This one being part of an old veterinary clinic belonging to the parents of the 1st owner of the hovel, err, house.

The first owner was one Stanley “Ivor” Williams. Williams was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright at the Taliesin West school of architecture. I think this was Ivor’s first house he built, along with a couple friends on a shoe string budget. It was about 1964.

Wright was a fan of plain, simple, low ceiling structures leaving the details to the contractor to figure out on their own. Stanley was in complete agreement and when my ex-wife and I purchased the house it could best be described as a dark, poorly finished cave. She loved it, I hated it. My fate was sealed.

Click on pix to enlarge. Use “Back Arrow” to return to text.

Snow day

This is the picture most have seen. The roof is shaped like a floppy Mexican sombrero, the tallest center structure is the central column from which everything cantilevers from and which houses the heater for cold days like this one..

Early Fall I think

This is roughly the same shot, inside the gate. The floor joists for the main living area are just visible poking through the left side, under the rectangular window. Ivor used wood protrusions through the walls in all his subsequent buildings. These pictured lend themselves to a simple out door table top.

The front door is pretty unique. It pivots inwards on two offset bearings. Note that the threshold is sloped!

To the right of the door is a second addition that the second owner added as a home office or guest room with a bathroom. Good thing too, as I spent the first two years remodeling the round portion!

Image of New Mexico Architecture

This is the south side. Floor joists pretty obvious here. Also note that the swimming pool has a pass through into the interior of the house. More on that later. In the background are the garages and workshop which I added and where I spend most of my days. This pool is a PITA, as the walls at either end make it very problematic to cover, but after a hot summer bike ride, the pool is the best. A true conundrum.

Looking West from the street-see Google maps ;~)

And here is from the North side looking West

..another Google maps view-nice summer day

OK, enough of the outside..

front door and Kachinas

I’m shooting down from the upper lever (that of the joists) and the steps in the left corner ramp gently to the below ground level master bedroom. The shape of the adobe bricks is pretty easy to see.

The Column

With my back to the door, this is the heart of the structure. It was 33 bare 2 x10”s  before I covered it with chicken wire and plastered it. The heater sounded like a C130 taking off when it started and just blew hot air randomly about the open spaces. The low wall to the left was added to keep people from falling onto the entrance level small sitting area, which was previously dirt with a small “pond”. I removed about 1100 wheelbarrow loads of dirt and rock from the inside, which are now large berms used in the landscaping..

Column too

Another shot of the column from the upper level looking back towards the door.

Very NM like space

This shot shows the entrance level, the upper level with the living room in the back left, the kitchen back right and the opening into the master bedroom. The roof joists are visible pretty clearly and why I like the place. It’s like a huge spoked bicycle wheel on it’s side. Nothing much is either level or plumb.

North wall

This is the dogs domain, they are old, this is ground level, no steps to navigate. The door in the background is the bathroom entrance. This was a half height wall originally. Winter bathing was quite cold and pretty exposed, so walls were added, as were the exposed vigas and the Bas relief Kokapelli .

By now I was getting pretty artistic with the plaster so I went for full  effect in the bathroom…

Sun-Moon rain storm..

Bathroom Turtles

Master bedroom entrance

Here’s the base of the column. The ramping brick floor curves up to the next level. The squarish base was added, as there was nothing but a small concrete pad supporting the column (read house!) The storage area doors on the left are about the only thing of Ivor’s that remain. He really liked railroad ties and rough cut lumber. The “circular” is repeated a lot, as in the floor, the master shower, kitchen work surfaces, even the master bed originally.

bedroom details

Floor detail, very big fireplace, adobe banco seating, dirty laundry…

Bedroom

Background is Imelda’s walk-in. The glass blocks face back to the dogs sitting area. The bedroom has an Asian feel, which surprisingly is very similar to Native American design.

Kitchen looking at the West wall

Only one of the living room …

This was a gathering at “the party house” looking from the kitchen entrance south towards the big, what else, round window in the living room.

About the pool in the house, I can’t find a good picture, so I’ll tell you I didn’t like it. No security and an air gap, so I fit a 1” thick piece of Plexiglas, had a guy add rock sides to the gunite and turned it into the new fishpond/water feature. Here’s the winter treatment to keep some of the leaves out of the pool.IMG_5096

IMG_5079

Sort of like a Christy draped work of art..

Well, that’s the basics. Now that I’ve started a story, it should be easy to add additional pictures and text as I can.

Thanks for taking the tour.

Dave

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