A Desert Oasis
The highlights of the Tucson House renovation.
Concrete countertops, a first for the show.
The highlights of the Tucson renovation included:
Designing the quintessential Southwestern kitchen.
The Meigs enlisted a top local craftsman to custom-build mesquite cabinets for their new kitchen. This native Southwestern wood was imported from the neighboring state of Texas. Hard to work, the wood is nonetheless prized for its dramatic figuring and rich color. The Meigs' kitchen also sported poured concrete countertops, never seen before on This Old House. They are as durable as they are handsome.
Creating an outdoor kitchen
Made complete with a built-in barbecue unit and kiva fireplace, to take full advantage of the great outdoor living that Tucson's climate invites.
Building a state-of-the-art R-36 wall system to form up the addition.
The basis of this new technology is a system of hollow blocks made of Styrofoam and concrete, whose interstices are reinforced by steel rebars and poured concrete. Made from recycled materials and using technology from Austria, these blocks are both highly insulating and allow for quick wall construction.
Coating and waterproofing the flat roof with a highly reflective, water-based paint-on product.
Laying a new curved driveway using concrete pavers.
Restoring the home's traditional red, scored concrete floors.
The red floors are a style native to the western region of the country that has antecedents dating back to the 1600s.
Installing an "endless" pool.
Located just outside the door of the master suite, it is compact and, with a current generator, allows for endless exercise.
Enhancing the southwestern flair of the house with traditional interior skip-plaster.
Homeowner Jim Meigs coaxed the area's best restoration plasterer out of retirement for this job.
Traveling to Mexico
Research was essential to understanding the centuries-old way to create clay tiles, which graced the Meigs' outdoor floors.
Installing an innovative, environmentally friendly air-cooling system
The solution is unique in that it uses natural gas and ammonia to beat the desert heat.
Learning how a city of 750,000 survives in a desert environment.
Tucson receives, on average, only 10 inches of rain a year. We filed a report on the state of water resources and conservation in the region.