In 1923, renowned Russian-American artist Nicolai Fechin (pronounced "fay-shin"), his wife, Alexandra, and their daughter, Eya, emigrated from Russia to New York City. In 1926, at the invitation of Taos patroness Mabel Dodge Luhan and the encouragement of artist John Young-Hunter, the Fechin family traveled to Taos and spent the summer at Mabel's place. Then, so Fechin could have the privacy he desired to paint, the family decided it was time for their own home in Taos. In 1927, they acquired the property of Dr. J.J. Bergmans and his wife, Wilhelmina Harkink-Bergmans, who were returning to their native Holland. The Fechins moved into the house until March of 1928 when they concluded the two-story, eight-room, cube-shaped symmetrical adobe failed to satisfy their needs functionally or aesthetically, and they would have to remodel.
For the next five years, the Fechin family labored to make the home theirs. Nicolai planned, and the multi-lingual Alexandra communicated directions to Miguel and Pedro Mirabal, masons from the Taos Pueblo, and Joe Martinez. Nicolai worked day and night. The Fechins' workmen removed all interior, non-load bearing walls and reconfigured the space. They doubled the size of the front porch and added a series of rooms that projected from what was once the central cube.
The construction coincided with the arrival of electricity in Taos in 1928 and a modern sewage system that arrived in 1930. Electricity made it possible for Nicolai to carve and build at night while he painted during the day. The electric stove, oven, and refrigerator were the first in town! With the new sewage system, Fechin went to work installing three new bathrooms.
Despite the massiveness of the walls, Fechin carefully planned window openings. Their locations and shapes were essential to accommodate the home's scenic surroundings, including the Sangre de Cristo Mountains under a high sky. He introduced intense light, which bathed textured "terra bayeta" walls and richly carved wood, into the interior through lancet and arched bay windows of rolled and beveled glass.