Singing Toad House


In June-July of 2013 Oliver Goshey worked with Carole Crews on two natural building projects near her property outside of Taos, New Mexico. The first project was an exterior re-plaster job on the Singing Toad house in the Tres Orejas community. The hybrid adobe/stone house hadn't undergone maintenance in nearly six years of harsh New Mexico weather and the exterior finish was showing signs of erosion. In three weeks Carole and Oliver repaired the earthen finish and aesthetic features with locally sourced clay and sand strengthened with wheat paste and a small amount of acrylic binder. Clay based paints tinted with mineral tones made for the bright colored features on the exterior.

In the last week, Carole hosted a natural plasters and finishes workshop on her property. Acting as an assistant teacher Oliver helped to lead the students through the process of mixing and coloring clay based paints, lime and clay plasters, and casein wash.

Over the course of the week the workshop students re-plastered one of the walls of the outdoor living room as well as the outdoor sculptures and entrance, repainted one of the bedrooms in the main house, and finished it with a casein wash. The students were also given presentations on natural wall systems, and the use of the wood fired hot tub.  

Oliver returned for a second time to the Tres Orejas community in northern New Mexico in 2015 to do routine maintenance and re-plastering on the Singing Toad house. During that time he worked with one assistant and to complete the maintenance on the exterior in one week.

The client had also requested that a finished plaster be applied to the upper level interior of the house. Using caution to move the furniture and keeping everything organized, the interior walls were finished in a clay based plaster with a wheat paste binder and an addition of mica flakes to give a bright shimmer to the walls when hit by the light. Both plaster jobs are good example of finished and renovations that can be done on both natural and conventional homes