The key structural elements of the house are:

 * standard concrete footings
 * poured concrete slab
 * retaining walls and above-slab walls built with hollow styrofoam panels filled with concrete
        (
click here for information on insulated foam blocks)
 *
3/4 inch copper plumbing runs
 *
standard roof trusses to allow space for HVAC ducts, plumbing, and electrical runs
 
* 3/4 inch plywood sheathing on roof
 
* large dual pane windows and multiple skylights
 * stucco exterior, liberally accented with site-found rock masonry
Floor Plan
Construction Plans
We wanted to build a roomy adobe-style home with an exterior of earth-tone stucco and rock
facing that would blend reasonably well with the site.  The lot has a considerable slope (about
16% grade), so we are building the house with some different levels to minimize cutting and
backfilling, although there will still be plenty of that.  The hillside is loaded with granite rock of
all sizes ... which provides us with a lot of facing material, but makes digging a nightmare.
Because of the fairly steep hillside lot, the slab for the downhill side of the house (the bottom
side of the floor plan above) will be above grade by six to seven feet, meaning that the walls on
that side of the house are retaining walls that have to hold back the soil under the slab.  On the
other side of the house (the top of the floor plan above), the grade will be cut down by a similar
amount to reach slab level and the soil that is removed will be used to provide the fill behind the
downhill walls.

We will therefore lay the footings for the downhill walls first so that the retaining walls can be
built.  The footings for the uphill walls will be dug after the cut and fill has been completed.   The
green lines above show the first set of footings.  The red lines show footings that are being
delayed to allow the concrete mixer trucks room to maneuver as they deliver their load.