A two-story dream house constructed mostly with concrete and metal is now finished after more than a year of design and adding finishing touches.
The house near Stallion Springs encompasses 1,760 square feet and features the front door and living quarters on the second story, with the garage built directly underneath.
“As my dream house, I will soon forget the delays and costs once I’m enjoying it and helping save the environment with a small energy footprint,” owner Tom Gates said.
Gates has been a property owner in Tehachapi since the 1970s and long ago started planning the design and functionality of the house he would live in once he retired.
His lifestyle choice of bicycling to work, eating vegetarian meals, and working a career in the environmental health field inspired him to choose a home that would leave a small environmental footprint.
The passive solar house features concrete block-filled walls and floors, a tankless water heater and solar panels for electricity. Also, a Trombe Wall located inside the house gains indirect solar heat from large windows placed on the south side and then distributes the heat to the living spaces.
“Engineering and material costs for a cement house were substantially more than first anticipated and my contractor took the extra concern that things were done correctly," Gates said.
The design of the house is specialized and custom to the area.
Finn McCool, owner of Finn McCool Construction, has been working on the project.
"It's a unique house. Everything has turned out how it's supposed to," McCool said.
He added that Gates will have to open windows in the summer to cool down the house and regulate the heat in the winter, as the heat will be absorbed in the walls.