Sin­gu­lar Lamy prop­erty on mar­ket

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - OURWATERQUALITY - By Paul Wei­de­man

THE OUTCROPPING OFWHITE ROCKS IS EASY TOSPOT AS YOUAPPROACHLAMY. It stands out from the usual ju­niper-dot­ted browns of the sur­round­ing hills and plains. And when you get close enough, you can see win­dows in those­white rocks.

This is the so-called Flint­stone House, a daz­zlingly or­ganic-looking res­i­dence that was de­vel­oped by No­rah Pier­son be­tween 1986 and 1991. Cur­rent owner Fran Ni­chol­son loves the to­tally dis­tinc­tive home. “You look at the sil­hou­ette of the house and then you see clouds that are shaped like that. Some­times it al­most dis­ap­pears into the clouds,” she said in an HGTV seg­ment about the house. But after eight years here, she has a yen for a smaller, more ur­ban, abode, and she is putting it on the mar­ket.

The story of the Flint­stoneHouse (akaThe Cliff­House) be­gan with a cre­ative Santa Fe jewelry de­signer. No­rah Pier­son had her own shop, The Golden Eye, on Don Gas­par Av­enue down­town un­til her death in 2007. In the early 1980s, she “be­gan camp­ing out in the val­ley be­low these stark, white Dakota sand­stone cliffs,” ac­cord­ing to a 1999 New York Times story, and started plan­ning a house that would some­how blend in. Pier­son set about building her abode with con­trac­tor Greg Ohlsen [now owner of Travel Bug] and it was, at first, “a rel­a­tively straight­for­ward house, on five lev­els, with 20-foot ceil­ings and three fire­places. She lived in it for­more than a year, study­ing the cliff forms be­low, be­fore cover­ing the en­tire sur­face in wire lath and two-by-fours molded into boul­der out­lines. They formed an ar­ma­ture for the foam ex­oskele­ton, ap­plied with spray guns.”

The or­ganic ap­pear­ance was in­ten­tional but also the re­sult of the un­pre­dictable na­ture of the foam­ma­te­rial, es­pe­cially with the area’s fre­quent breezes waft­ing around dur­ing the spray­ing process.

The rock­like foam ex­te­rior was cre­ated by Lar­ryWil­son, pres­i­dent ofTher­mal Coat­ings & In­su­la­tion, a com­pany that in­su­lated roofs and walls with polyurethane foam. His busi­ness ad­dress, 242 Di­nosaur Trail (east of I-25 near the Cer­ril­los Road exit), is known for the nearly full-size polyurethane di­nosaurs he made dur­ing win­ter­time busi­ness lulls.

The Lamy house project took al­most two years and re­quired about 10,000 pounds of the foam in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial. Ni­chol­son­said black pa­per was at­tached to the wire-lath forms so that the sprayed foam did not pen­e­trate deeper than the sur­face. The house’s pseudo rock “ad­di­tion” is thus hol­lowand less hefty than it looks, although it is pretty in­de­struc­tible, hav­ing sur­vived in good shape for a quar­ter century so far.

Out front, there is a lit­tle wa­ter­fall and a stream end­ing in a con­structed pond with lily­pads, cat­tails, and koi. On the other side of the flag­stone-paved en­trance walk­way is a beau­ti­ful crabap­ple tree. Once you pass through what looks like a cave en­trance, you’re in a reg­u­lar house, although it’s very three-di­men­sional, with a va­ri­ety of ver­ti­cal ex­panses.

The tall liv­ing room has tile floors, a beamed ceil­ing, and a hand­some cor­ner fire­place with a hearth that ex­tends left­ward in a long banco.

Another 2-story room has a big fire­place and a loft be­low which is a stu­dio space for Ni­chol­son, who is an artist and a mold­maker for bronze-cast­ers. She moved to this area 30some years ago to work at Shi­doni Foundry in Te­suque, and ran its sand-cast­ing depart­ment for a time. She now works free­lance for sculp­tors. This large room could suit many pur­poses for the new owner; it could be a sec­ond liv­ing room and the stu­dio a wet bar or a chil­dren’s play area.

PHOTOS BY PAUL WEI­DE­MAN UN­LESS OTH­ER­WISE NOTED

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