Planning the House

When we went to our local LA County Building and Safety office in Lancaster to apply for a building permit for an adobe house they said, no way!  They directed us to the Research Unit in Alhambra where we made an appointment. In the meantime we had been to Adobe Building School in New Mexico and there learned about two essential people we would need to build our house – the architect Rob Mehl of Santa Ynez, CA, and Fred Webster, civil engineer and seismic expert who had been retrofitting old adobes in California for thirty years.  Fred flew down from his home in Palo Alto and the three of us went to our meeting in Alhambra. Sitting in a conference room, across the table from three guys from the County, they said that the problem was that there was no code for adobe block. Fred took their code book off the shelf and opened to the page where the appropriate code appeared. At this point, the County couldn’t say no, so they said to go ahead and submit plans and they would take a look and make a decision. Mehl and Webster drew up their separate plans, we submitted them in person in Alhambra, and we got the building permit -- the first adobe building in LA County in forty years! And I doubt there has been one since, but if you are excited about building with adobe, go for it – it can be done!

A few years later, after a snow storm. You are looking at the front entry with a statue of Quan Jin, goddess of compassion, and a dog bed.

A few years later, after a snow storm. You are looking at the front entry with a statue of Quan Jin, goddess of compassion, and a dog bed.