Modern living with ancient tecnology

Times Staff Writer

Homes of adobe have their roots in history. The Moors used a mixture of mud, sand and clay to build in Spain. The Anasazi and later tribes used it to build in New Mexico. In California, Franciscan friars created missions out of it, and from those buildings developed into cities from San Diego to San Francisco.

Nevertheless, finding an adobe home in a Southland suburb is like finding a gem in a rock pile, even if the house doesn’t date to the missions.

This Whittier house is an example. It was built in 1951 and has just undergone a two-year restoration and modernization, but it retains the flavor of a single-story Spanish Colonial built hundreds of years ago with its flat-top roof, thick walls, wood beams and iron grillwork.

Each adobe brick weighs about 30 pounds. It is shaped in a simple mold, and once the mold is removed, the brick is left to dry in the sun. Adobe walls provide passive control of indoor temperatures, cooling in the summer and warming in the winter. The walls, 12 inches thick in this home, also act as a sound barrier.


About this house: No wonder the house is called Casa Santa Fe. Its warm colors, use of tile and design style are reminiscent of the New Mexico art colony and the Native Americans who built in the Southwest long ago.

Asking price: $549,000

Size: The house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms in 2,352 square feet. The lot size is just less than 10,000 square feet -- large enough for a two-car garage, three patios and RV parking.

Features: The home also has a formal dining and living room, a family room, two wood-burning fireplaces, new kitchen appliances and a spa. It may not need it, but just in case: The home has central air conditioning and heating.

Where: Whittier

Listing agent: Johnny Carmona and Becky Hulse at Re/Max Select, Cerritos, (562) 221-9520.

To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, send color interior and exterior photos (copies only, please; we cannot return the pictures) and a brief description of the house, including what makes the property unusual, to Ruth Ryon, Real Estate Section, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012; or e-mail