Back in October 2016, I sent an email off to Kurt Gardella, whom I knew through Adobe In Action (AinA), about helping us with the design and permit process for our house. Kurt had recently taken over as Co-Director of AinA, and was interested in turning the organization’s focus to owner-builder support, which was exactly what we were requesting.
We spent the months of January and February working with Kurt and the AinA team to design the adobe house we had in mind. Starting with a basic floor plan that I had drawn out, we went through the various components of the house (foundation, walls, roof, etc.) and discussed the feasibility and best practices for the design details of each of the components. I would basically describe what Megan and I had been thinking for different aspects of the design and construction, and we’d discuss those ideas and reach a conclusion as to the best way to go.
On the first day of March, 2017 I sent all the details we had decided on, as well as some of our basic drawings, to Ben Loescher. Ben is part of Adobe in Action and had been helping throughout the design and planning phase. He is also an architect and founding principal of Loescher Meachem Architects (LMA) in Culver City, CA. He had agreed to take our plan details and turn them into plan drawings that we could submit for our building permit.
On April 17, 2017, Ben sent over the finished plan drawings. In order to be allowed to use the rubble trench foundation we’d designed, the foundation detail would need to be reviewed and stamped by a licensed engineer. We had decided to go with Hands Engineering, Inc., as Kurt had said that they’d approved these foundations before and had experience with adobe buildings. I sent the plans to Jim at Hands Engineering for his review. LMA had decided to leave the foundation dimensions (depth and width) off the plans so that Jim could specify what he wanted to see. We could then add the necessary dimensions to the plans for the final engineer stamp. I sent him the dimensions we had been planning to go with in hopes that he might approve them as is.
That’s where we’re at as of Friday, April 21st. Once we have the engineer’s stamp, we should be able to submit our plans to the state CID office for permit review. Stay tuned!
The image used for this blog post is what the south side of our proposed house will look like. It’s a very straight-forward design that should maximize passive solar benefits.