Landegger Lopes Laurel Residence

Landegger Lopes Laurel Residence

Designed and built by Boa Constructor Building and Design

You can see in the first photo, our toothless daughter and puppy perched atop bales of straw delivered by semi to our raw land in the summer before the “El Nino” Winter of 1996. Bales that were covered with plastic and tarps for an entire year remained usable; only the bottom course was lost. This photo reminds me of exciting times when the bales go up in one day and you think you have a house...not, and it reminds me of the tremendous amount of work we’ve done with the kind help of friends and the exploration that consumed years of our lives. It even makes me think fondly or at least humorously about the year of retarping the bales in horizontal rain in the middle of the night before the bales were up and for two years after they were up and not stuccoed. Bales...they are resilient, the way we are. We learned on this structure, cut our teeth on it. In 2007, the child is now 17, the puppy 10. We have lived in this house for one year.

7 years after this photo was taken, the cobblers whose children had no shoes decided to bite the bullet and finish the dream. Redesigning the bale rectangle into something that would suit our much changed needs, we were still interested in trying everything experimental because we’d never take the risks on someone else’s house with someone else’s money. The interior of this house grew the palette of what we can offer and who we are as a building company.

This house is 1500 square feet with 2 bedrooms, 2 walk in closets, a legal open stair, a bath house with a hot tub and sauna, an office, a spacious laundry sewing room, 2 bathrooms, an enclosed space for wood storage, a pantry... Who could want more?

Taking the time to design it right means that everything that could feel small, feels spacious. Granted, the design started from the words of genius architect Bob Theis, who said the least expensive way to build was to build a box, thus the useful and intelligent rectangle was born. Later renowned architect Kelly Lerner collaborated with us on many things I see everyday on the land including a floor plan for said rectangle that was unfortunately never used (not for lack of great design), however, I have to say my favorite process with Kelly was the entire day and into the night that we spent coming up with shapes to cut ends of exposed exterior beams for an arbor. She is fun. Later she collaborated with us on the Sullivan house. In the final phases, when we redesigned and added a small addition with the idea of actually finishing this house, we sought out friend, architect and insanely prolific idea man, Greg Smith. The three of us worked for a solid year to make every bit of the space usable [down to the 1/4” ( not recommended)]. Our dedicated and extremely talented crew drove to the sticks for a year. Ode to Pete and Niranjan who worked on many things inc. plumbing and electric, painting, and finishing. Our marvel bale sculptor Sterling amazes me with his ability to create difficult shapes with the ease of a shrug and a trowel. Our wood worker extraordinaire Zak worked on sight everyday for a complete year making everything out of recycled fir flooring including cabinets with rounded “corners” and created painstakingly complicated cabinet uppers using recycled antique Moroccan and Indian shutters that Debrae just had to have and Michele finally gave in to. The quality of the crew in the build phase was impeccable matched by the lustrous clay paints of Tracy Vogel of Tactile Interiors made from our very own dirt (yeah to all the incredible women in the earth plaster movement) and the beautiful lime plaster “Tadelakt” (inspired by the Hammams of Morocco) applied by Peter James of Artisan Finishes.

Radiant Floor heating by Lance Little of Santa Cruz Radiant.

Hot water solar by Dave Woodworth of Solar Vision.

Site work and Hero’s, neighborhood friends Reid and Matthew.

All Exterior hardscape done by Boa and Master Ravi Allbright in the traditional dry stack method of India out of Urbanite (recycled concrete).

Permaculture landscape by Boa, Lisa and Jeff Rosendale of Sierra Azul Nursery, Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping, Penny Livingston-Stark and Lydia Neilsen.

Greywater systems by Boa, Lochland and Lydia.

We love our home. It nurtures and heals. It grounds and reaches. It holds family and community, it provides a soothing place to be live the good and the bad days.

Thanks to all the incredible minds.....
And able bodies......

This house is lovingly dedicated to the late Herbert Landegger who started the “Dream”, by sending us our first strawbale book in 1993.

It is also dedicated to our daughter Athena who waited 10 years to finally get to move into her room.

- Debrae and Michele


Come take a look around outside.