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The Fechin House :: The most beautiful house in the history of ever


Constructed 1927-1933

We are kicking ourselves for not checking out the Taos Art Museum at the Fechin House sooner. What a beautiful gem tucked right in the heart of town. I have been trying to see all of the photography exhibits in the area. Olga Nazarova's photography is currently showing at the Fechin studio. We made our way there on a Thursday afternoon. Olga tells beautiful stories with her images. The house was amazing! No, that is not a strong enough adjective, even with the exclamation mark. It was breathtaking. We consider ourselves architecture nerds and we have toured and experienced many homes by wonderful architects, this house stands proud and in some ways surpasses those masters. Nicolai Fechin, the man responsible for this masterpiece was a trained artist, not an architect. He made sketches and built models of ideas, but no plans to scale were ever drawn up.

We have passed the house often and loved the house from the road, but you need to get up close to experience the angles, curves and texture. The stark white of the adobe finish plays lovely with the blue of the Taos sky.

The house contains Russian, Spanish, & Pueblo architectural styles

The Fechins first visited Taos as guests of Mabel Dodge Luhan in the summer of 1926. Nicolai was suffering from TB and the dry climate was suggested for his condition. Side note: I wonder what this area would be today if not for Mabel and Tuberculosis? They purchased 7 acres of land in 1927. The house was completed in 1931, his marriage in 1933, so he only lived in the home for 3 years.

The use of wood and his wonderful carving are part of his Russian heritage. His father made iconostases for the Orthodox Church and Nicolai started helping in the studio as a child. He carved all the doors from mostly sugar pine. All of the hardware for the doors and cabinets were designed by Fechin as well, he used a local blacksmith to produce them.

A quick internet search did not turn up any information on who constructed the windows, but I am sure that it was the artist himself that chose the placement. Each room is bathed in soft light and through many windows you can see the natural splendor he was framing.

Electricity came to Taos in 1928 and modern sewage in 1930. Both the kitchen and the bathrooms are outfitted with fixtures from a great era.

The adobe walls are 24 inches thick and were constructed by Miguel and Pedro Mirabal, masons from the Taos Pueblo. The finish is still the original plaster applied in the 1920's. The plaster's exact ingredients are known only to the people of Taos Pueblo. The walls were then sealed with milk.

Shortly after purchasing the land and the original small, two-story house he also built a light filled studio and apartment, a beautiful space for the current installation.

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