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The Salamander Company

Video Chapters

Chapter One: From Straw Bale to Passive Technology Homes

Chapter Two: Moving Away from Flat Roof Construction

Chapter Three: Passive House Movement

Chapter Four: Cost of Passive, Straw & Adobe Homes

Chapter Five: Salamander Time Frame for New House

Patrick O’Brien of the Salamander Company in Taos.

Passive Home Building Thrives in Taos, NM

The Salamander Co. LLC. has been building beautiful custom homes in the Taos area since 1998.  We began specializing in Straw Bale building and have evolved to incorporate other technologies from Adobe to Frame, Pumice-Crete, SIPS panels and more.  As we have grown in our experience, we have come to believe that building in a sustainable way is as much about the aesthetics of a home as it is the materials used. By using regionally produced materials from straw bales and adobe bricks, to small scale forested Douglas Fir we are able to strike a healthy balance between sustainable building materials and mainstream building products.  A natural curiosity and practical knowledge have helped us to discover techniques and procedures that yield homes that are warm and inviting, and also perform well.

Over the years we have expanded to include custom cabinetry, woodwork, and mosaic tile work.  Rainwater roof catchment for domestic use and landscaping is becoming a growing need and we have partnered with Smart Water Systems LLC  smartwatersystemsllc.com to design and install catchment systems on some of our projects.  We enjoy each phase of the process of building and are always open to new ideas and materials.  Efficiency, comfort and beauty are what our clients expect from us and we work hard to deliver.

Please look through our portfolio and feel free to contact us with any thoughts or questions you may have.

Patrick O’Brien began his career in the Detroit area in 1989, working with friends and gaining experience in cabinet-making, wood working and home renovation.  After striking out on his own he established a complimentary working relationship with a local architect and had the opportunity to take on more challenging projects.   In the summer of 1995, with this experience and a handful of references, Patrick, his wife Lisa and young son Conner moved to Taos, NM.  They built a small off-grid, load-bearing Straw Bale house (Patrick’s first) out on the Mesa west of the Rio Grande Gorge and lived there for 11 years.  During this time Patrick had jobs in Taos working in a local cabinet shop and then partnering in a small firm with a local architect and another builder where they built a few Adobe houses.

After a time, Patrick and his step-father, Ivy, formed a partnership and The Salamander Company came into being.  After nearly 20 years of building Straw Bale homes, Pumice-Crete, Adobe and Frame homes and many re-models Ivy has retired and Patrick is carrying on with the tradition of applying a creative energy to the work and maintaining a high level of honesty and integrity with clients.


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