Lucho's House

Location  -13.255527, -72.270926

This past spring I spent 4 weeks in a rural town in Peru called Ollantaytambo, the town is known for its ancient Inca ruins but also for the train that takes thousands of people to Machu Picchu weekly. A small town with basically one tiny road bustling daily transporting tourists to one of the most heavily visited parts of the world. I met some great people during my stay, one in particular; "Lucho" was in the process of building his own house from scratch not far from town in the sacred valley.  I took some photos of the process and followed up with some questions, hopefully I'll get back there next year to see the final product. He plans to rent beds if you find yourself in that part of the world, it is very special!

Thank you Luis Larrea  for sharing your hard work and your story and Chloe St. Thomas for the translations.


Where are you from originally and what brought you to Peru / Ollanta?

Hello, my name is Luis Eduardo Larrea. I was born in Lima, Peru and grew up in the city of Ayacucho. When a friend of mine moved to Ollantaytambo three years ago, I went down there to visit him. While staying with him for only a month, I fell in love with the tranquility and beauty of this Sacred Valley town. It seemed like a place where I could grow and learn new things about myself. After finishing a job in Lima, a few months later, I left Lima for Ollanta with only a backpack.

Hola, mi nombre es Luis Eduardo Larrea, naci en Lima, Peru. Creci en la ciudad de Ayacuho, Peru. Ayacucho fue la ciudad donde vivi. Tengo un amigo que vive hace 3 anos en ollanta, el me invito a conocer ollanta en febrero 2016, me encanto el lugar. Luego de terminar un trabajo en Lima, decidi regresar a ollanta en mayo del 2016 para vivir la tranquilidad del pueblito. Un cambio de vida para conocerme. 


How did you choose the area where you decided to build your house? 

I lived with some friends for two months, then I decided I’d like to have my own space. The next day, I went to look around town for any ads about land for rent. I knew no one in the town, but I remembered where I went once with my friend to pay his rent. I went there and asked the person if they had any other rentals for me. This person introduced me to his brother and he brought me to his land. I loved the place right away. 

Yo vivia con unos amigos por dos meses, hasta que una noche decidí tener mi propio espacio, al día siguiente fui a recorrer el pueblo para encontrar algún anuncio de alquiler de terreno, no conocía personas en el pueblo. Una vez acompañé a mi amigo a pagar su alquiler, yo recordé el lugar y fui a preguntar a la persona si tenía otro espacio para mi, ésta persona me presentó a su hermano y él me llevó a su terreno, en primera me encantó el lugar.


Can you please explain the process of building the structure your house; this is a broad question! Feel free to go into detail. What materials did you use. 

1. The house has 22 wood columns made of eucalyptus that are 2.5 feet deep, each placed 6.5 feet from each other.

1. La casa tiene columnas de madera (eucalipto), se hicieron los huecos de 80 centímetros de profundidad, cada 2 metros se colocaron estas columnas.


2. The installation of the roof was made with cuts of eucalyptus using nails and screws to unite the wood to the columns. The roof is a a solid wood base, made to resist 100 kilos per square meter. 

 2. Se instala el techo con carapas (corteza de eucalipto) se usan clavos y pernos para unir las maderas con las columnas, el techo es una base de madera sólida, hecha para resistir hasta 100 kilos por metro cuadrado. 


3. Covered the roof with plastic to make it impermeable.

3. Se cubre el techo con plásticos para impermeabilizarlo.

4. Put a layer of 6-10 centimeters of dirt on the roof.

4. Se vierte tierra en el techo hasta conseguir una capa de 6 a 10 centímetros de tierra. 

5. Made a channel of rocks on the edges of the roof for the rainwater. 

5. Se diseñan los canales de agua en el techo, para facilitar la salida del agua.


6. Covered the roof with native grass

6. Se ponen champas ( pasto de la zona) hasta cubrir toda el área del techo.

7.  Placed wooden boards around the border of the roof to support the plastic, dirt and grass.

7. Se colocan marcos a todo el borde del techo lo cuales deben facilitar la salida del agua de las lluvias y de riego. 


8. Placed a wooden board of eucalyptus every meter along the walls in order to improve the walls’ resistance. These boards also support the wall and roof. 

8. Se colocan listones (eucalipto) cada 1 metro, estos listones se sujetan al suelo y al techo, con la finalidad de mejorar la resistencia de las paredes de la casa.


9. Placed native reeds and bamboo horizontally every 10 centimeters to create the form. These are fastened to the columns and slats with nails and wire.

9.  Se colocan las cañas (carrizo o bambú de la zona) estas de instalan de forma horizontal cada 10 centímetros. Se instalan en la casa, sujetadas a las columnas y listones con clavos y alambre.

10. Prepared the mud (dirt, water, and straw). This mixture sat 2 days to improve it’s elasticity. This mud created the structure of the walls and was used to support all native reeds and bamboo. 

10. Se prepara el barro (tierra, agua y paja), este barro necesita reposar minimo 2 dias para mejorar su elasticidad. Este barro sirve para hacer las paredes y va a ser puesto entre las cañas.


11. Once the walls were finished, they were covered with plaster and the windows were installed.. 

11. Una vez terminadas las paredes, se recubren con yeso(cal para construcción de la zona) y se instalan las ventanas.


12. Painted the walls.

12. Se realiza el recubrimiento del piso



13. Painted the floors.

13. Se pintan las paredes. 

14. Installed the bathroom.

14. Se instala el baño, en el que se usaron mayólicas recicladas.


Can you talk about the water system, both for the bathroom as well as the construction of your roof for rainwater.

Ollantaytambo is a town blessed with water. It has a system of water channels that provide water all year long. The water from the channel allows me to water my plants and flush my toilet.I installed a water tank of 250 liters that is filled manually with water. I transport the water in buckets from a distance of 150 meters because the area does not have safe drinking water.
My green roof has excellent conditions in the summer. From December to April the rain helps me with the irrigation of it. From May until November the irrigation is manual because I don’t have electric energy yet to pump water from the channel to my roof.

Ollantaytambo es un pueblo bendecido con agua, tienen un sistema de canales de agua que provee todo el año. El agua del canal me sirve para regar plantas y para el baño, instalé un tanque de agua de 250 litros, este tanque es llenado manualmente. Transporto el agua en bidones de 24 litros desde una distancia de 150 metros, pues la zona no cuenta con agua potable

El techo tiene excelentes condiciones en verano, de diciembre a abril las lluvias me ayudan con el riego del techo, pero desde mayo hasta noviembre el riego aún es manual (con baldes llenos de agua) pues no cuento con energía eléctrica que me facilite instalar un motor para impulsar el agua del canal.


Are you going to grow your own food and what kind?

It’s possible to grow some vegetables like, tomatoes, lettuce, aji, rosemary and other herbs in small quantities in a small area of about 160 square feet. However, I don’t think I have enough space to provide food for myself everyday.

Es posible que siembre algunos vegetales como tomates, lechugas, ají, plantas aromáticas como cedrón, romero, en pocas cantidades pues el área líbre es de 50 metros cuadrados. Creo que no tengo suficiente espacio para abastecerme los alimentos diariamente.


Some work-in-progress shots:

Kitchen Area : One of the widows was a car windshield 

Kitchen Area : One of the widows was a car windshield 

View from kitchen area, installing front (and only) door :)

View from kitchen area, installing front (and only) door :)

Finishing the floor in the middle room. The second of 3 rooms total, excluding bathroom which is accessed from outside. 

Finishing the floor in the middle room. The second of 3 rooms total, excluding bathroom which is accessed from outside. 

Third room - work in progress!

Third room - work in progress!

Temporary sleeping situation.

Temporary sleeping situation.

Window detail.

Window detail.

Coat rack . Outdoor dining.

Coat rack . Outdoor dining.

House in profile - bathroom

House in profile - bathroom

home sweet home

home sweet home