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Allergy-Free Adobe Home

Project Information

Adobe Home Meets Allergy-Free Needs

In the high desert mountains of Texas, adobe homes appear as if natural formations on the landscape. Sun-washed yellows, dusty reds, crisp oranges, pale greens, and turquoise blues are the traditional palette. Framing these colorful views, Kolbe's windows and doors also are helping one household manage both their intense daylight and their allergies.

"Kolbe was the only wood window manufacturer I know of that could provide this product," says
designer/builder Steve Belardo of Rainbow Adobe in Alpine, Texas. "The woman of the house has terrible sensitivity to many materials. She literally needs to touch, smell and wrap herself in the items that claim to be allergy-free to make sure she doesn't have a reaction. We designed and constructed the entire house to provide a healthy, comfortable environment for her and her husband."

To create this safe shelter, the homeowners began working with Rainbow Adobe three years ago with supplemental counsel from H3 Environmental Corp. in California. During the first year, Belardo listened to their needs and desires, sketched both exterior and interior design options, and finalized the architectural drawings for the 4,600-square-foot property. During the next two years, he and his team brought the concept from paper to physical reality.

Belardo elaborates, "We detailed the exact setting for each room down to the tables and chairs. We spent a lot of time to get everything just right." Chief among the home's exacting specifications are its windows and HVAC system. "Placement of the windows was absolutely critical to capture the views, let morning light into the rooms, while keeping out the hot, afternoon sun." To ensure the proper performance, style, fit and allergy-free construction, Eagle Mountain Building Specialties' president/owner Gary Woodward assisted Rainbow Adobe with its window selection.

"Adobe home designs are Steve's specialty. It's what he's built his reputation on and known for throughout the region," says Woodward. "For this unique creation, he chose Kolbe's Ultra Series casements, patio doors... Each was glazed with LoE²-240 solar control glass. The glass' reflective solar properties help manage unwanted heat gain, tones down the glare and preserves the clarity of view."

Further complementing the home's natural aesthetic, the owners and designer/builder selected Kolbe's windows and doors with a durable, Camel-colored finish for the exterior aluminum cladding and a vertical grain, preservative-free fir on the interior jambs, wood-wrapped screens and coving. Woodward continued, "Once the order was received in the factory, Kolbe modified its manufacturing process to ensure it met the homeowners' allergic concerns, and still provided a competitively-priced product."

"Gary was very helpful. We had every assurance that Kolbe's products would match our needs," says Belardo. Rainbow Adobe required similar assurances and manufacturing modifications from all of its other material suppliers. Prior to receiving and installing "the highest efficiency, HEPA filtered, Lennox heating and air conditioning unit you can buy for residential use," Belardo needed to confirm allergy-free tape sealants and cleaning solutions were used in its fabrication.

Each step of the home's construction presented challenges, but Rainbow Adobe adjusted as needed. Whenever possible, the designer/builder requested raw, unfinished materials and finished them on-site. The interior adobe walls and ceilings were handplastered with environmentally safe ingredients. The wood trim and sanded brick floors also were sealed with non-toxic stains and finishes. With no hint of bravado or sacrifice, Belardo says, "It's pretty straightforward for us. We've got the technique down. It's clean, professional work and a handsome project." Woodward agrees, "It's a nice home in a nice area. The homeowners should be very happy."

  • Rainbow Adobe, designer/builder
  • Eagle Mountain Building Specialties, Kolbe window & door dealer

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