Casita Linda now has an improved, and less expensive, house design
By Gregg Blackburn and Jean Gerber
The volunteers of Casita Linda involved with the construction aspect are continuously looking for ways to improve the quality, practicality and cost of the houses that they construct for those living in extreme poverty in the vicinity of San Miguel de Allende.
A new design has been developed which eliminates the second story loft, which was used for two small sleeping areas, or storage. In lieu of that, the homes now have an expanded front terrace with a cement floor, walled-in area with windows for circulation, and covered by a metal roof. This design provides more interior living space on the first floor by eliminating the need for a staircase. The families love the use of this space and decorate it in a variety of ways…making each home a little different and fitting in with their personal lifestyles. Another benefit of the one-story model is the potential to use the flat roof as space for a rooftop garden or at some later time for additional living space.
Casita Linda homes still include water catchment systems, solar lights and an ecological wood-burning stove. These homes are spacious, airy, and comfortable, and provide separate sleeping areas.
Steve Hoffman, formerly a builder and designer of luxury homes in Florida, is a major part of this evolution in the design. The homes are now constructed of lightweight pumice block, which is easy to work with, locally available, inexpensive, and has excellent thermal qualities. Thanks to Steve’s design and the input of the other fantastic volunteers who are out there working onsite along with the hired crew of five, Casita Linda has saved US$1,400 in materials alone and reduced the construction time, thus saving money on labor. A typical cost for a Casita Linda home is now US$7,500. We have not sacrificed comfort or quality, but we have saved money so we can build homes for more people who desperately need them.
Casita Linda is starting their 77th home. If you are interested in having a personal tour, please contact us at 415-152-0071. For more information go to www.casitalinda.org.