The home rises up from the river valley of Valdez, embracing the Rio Hondo with outdoor spaces and views from large windows to the river and El Salto beyond. There is a quiet elegance to the house created through the use of organic earthen forms inspired by local traditions combined with modern interpretations of place. 

Managing to be both rooted in the earth and soaring towards the sky at the same time, the home of David and Tibby Gold has won design recognition and awards. The spaces were designed to invite the outdoors in and to provide many opportunities to display art. 

Modeled on the simple form of a nearby morada, the home is built from rammed earth. The two wings of the house are connected by a glass-enclosed stair tower that provides access to the second floor. All the rooms of the house offer big views out to the natural beauty of the setting.  “With the amount of glass, we are up close and personal with whatever is going on outside year round,” says Tibby Gold. “We can watch the mountains through the seasons and see El Salto covered with snow.”

Home design and construction

Rammed earth construction has been used for thousands of years all over the world. As David Gold points out: it is not a new technology. Walls that were built thousands of years ago still stand - a testament to the durability and sustainability of rammed earth. The thermal mass of its two-foot thick walls can absorb heat from sunny winter days and release it to warm the house on chilly nights. The home’s passive solar features and water collection systems add to its sustainability and alignment with the local ecosystem.

“In some ways, the house looks like an old structure with its weathered and sandblasted exteriors,” points out David Gold. “It has a pitched roof like others in the valley and fits into its setting.” 

The use of traditional materials and forms in combination with glass walls and more modern shapes is the result of the collaboration between the homeowners and Santa Fe architect Suby Bowden. The home won the highest award for design excellence in 2009 for New Mexico from the American Institute of Architects and has been featured in a cover story for Santa Fe’s magazine Trend.

Flow of the home

The entry is through an enclosed breezeway known as a zaguan (a contemporary expression of the entryway to Spanish colonial haciendas). Glass accordion doors fold back so that the space can be open to the outdoors on warm days. Exposed lifts of rammed earth give the room character and texture. It is warmed by an elegant Rumford fireplace known for its tall, shallow design that efficiently reflects heat and carries away smoke without losing heat.

Polished black concrete floors provide an elegant surface as one enters the house into a formal great room with another Rumford fireplace and full-length windows that capture El Salto and surrounding peaks. The kitchen is functional as well as beautiful with a large white marble center island. Open shelves display dishware while room for food storage is provided around a wall in a large pantry out of sight. Through the kitchen is a cozy den warmed by a third Rumford fireplace surrounded by built-in bookshelves. 

At the center heart of the house, the dramatic glass-walled stair tower leads up to a second-floor office loft that has been the office for David Gold working remotely for the last 16 years. Also on the second floor is the large master suite and bathroom. One of the most delightful spaces is the deck off the bedroom/bathroom with a hot tub and views to a bit of Taos Mountain and the river below. 

In the other wing of the house, there are two bedrooms and a bath, garage and a covered outdoor space that connects to the guest house that feels like its own private space. Done in traditional Southwestern style, the guest house has a kiva fireplace with a “shepherd’s bed” tucked up against it on a banco in the living room. A bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom complete the comfortable casita. Unique touches include the claw foot tub in the bathroom that was salvaged from Ursuline Academy in San Antonio, Texas. The academy was established in 1851 as a Catholic school for girls. When the building was renovated to become home to the Southwest School of Art, the tub was saved by Tibby Gold’s mother who was active in conservation efforts.

The home rises up from the river valley of Valdez, embracing the Rio Hondo with outdoor spaces and views from large windows to the river and El Salto beyond. There is a quiet elegance to the house created through the use of organic earthen forms inspired by local traditions combined with modern interpretations of place. 

Managing to be both rooted in the earth and soaring towards the sky at the same time, the home of David and Tibby Gold has won design recognition and awards. The spaces were designed to invite the outdoors in and to provide many opportunities to display art. 

Modeled on the simple form of a nearby morada, the home is built from rammed earth. The two wings of the house are connected by a glass-enclosed stair tower that provides access to the second floor. All the rooms of the house offer big views out to the natural beauty of the setting.  “With the amount of glass, we are up close and personal with whatever is going on outside year round,” says Tibby Gold. “We can watch the mountains through the seasons and see El Salto covered with snow.”

Rio Hondo frontage and outdoor space

From all parts of the house, the soothing sounds of the Rio Hondo can be heard. “We live in a riparian corridor, perhaps the rarest of microclimates in Taos,” says David Gold. “It is a corridor for wildlife like deer, coyote, bobcat, bear and rabbits and on the path of many migratory birds.”

The property includes 345 feet of river frontage providing many opportunities for decks and seating areas right on the river, as well as patios up close to the house. 

Because of its location on the Valdez valley floor, the home and land are protected from the wind. The gardens and developed landscaped areas have been featured on the Los Jardineros Taos Annual Garden tour, while large sections of the riverbank have been intentionally left untouched for wildlife habitat, such as the great blue herons that nest and live year-round. 

Pieces of the land’s history can still be seen in touches like the old outhouse made of four doors that has been preserved and now acts as a garden shed. 

Dichotomies and balance

Tibby Gold muses that some of the apparent dichotomies of the house actually lead to balance. The home is secluded and quiet but only about 20 minutes to both the town of Taos with its art and culture and the Taos Ski Valley with its world class skiing. 

The home is large at almost 5,000 square feet but feels like a series of comfortable and human-scale spaces. It nestles into the earth of the valley floor and is created from familiar and traditional forms but with an original and modern twist. 

Listed 

The home is listed for sale by Joel Schantz of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Taos Real Estate. For more information, contact Schantz at (575) 758-1924 or email jschantz@newmex.com. Website: www.JoelsTaosRealEstate.com

The home sits on 2.5 acres; an adjoining 3 acre riverfront parcel that preserves views is also available.

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