Adobe Builder in 1930s Santa Fe
By Catherine Colby
The work of a Santa Fe, New Mexico female designer and builder in the 1930s.
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Kate Muller Chapman arrived in New Mexico at the time Santa Fe Style architecture was just developing. In the 1920s and 1930s Kate designed adobe houses, and directed local workmen during construction. Well versed in the tenets of the evolving Santa Fe Style, Kate also added her own distinctive touch to the projects. Kate Chapman skillfully directed rehabilitation projects preserving the essential historic character of nineteenth century adobes while updating and enlarging them. Two of her rehabilitations on Canyon Road are partially accessible to visitors: El Zaguan and the Borrego House. With graphic layout, linoleum cut illustrations by Stewart, and her own folksy humor, Kate combined a certain romantic spirit with recommendations that still apply to New Mexico adobe building.
In 1930 Kate Chapman collaborated with her friend, artist Dorothy N. Stewart, to produce a small volume filled with practical tips about earthen architecture. First printed by Spud Johnsonís Laughing Horse Press, Adobe Notes or How to Keep the Water Out with Just Plain Mud is reprinted and included in this book.
Catherine Colby is a professional historic preservationist working in Santa Fe for over twenty years. She has a Bachelor's Degree in History and a Masters Degree in Architecture. During her career with the National Park Service Catherine researched and documented historic properties throughout the southwest. She runs a consulting business in Santa Fe, preparing National Register Nominations and reports on historic properties for their owners and for the Historic Santa Fe Foundation. She received a Heritage Preservation Award from the State of New Mexico for her role in the conservation of the Bishop Everett Jones property in Santa Fe.
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