Arthur Residence

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Life+Style Southwest

Atop a hill on what is arguably one of the best vantage points in all of Placitas, George and Sharon Arthur enjoy spectacular views from their contemporary home, designed by architect Robert Zachry and built by Paul Kenderdine of PWKI LLC. “There are really two distinct spaces and views,” says Kenderdine, noting the radius point generated off the two main galleries of the house. One captures the Jemez Mountains and volcanic mesas; from the southwest-facing direction shown here, it’s twinkling city lights at dusk. The homeowners enjoy throwing open the huge sliding glass doors and breakfasting and entertaining beneath the cantilevered, structural steel awnings of their outdoor spaces. A curving adobe wall and deep red hues that echo the distant mesas help the home blend seamlessly and organically into its natural surroundings and beautiful, painted desert landscape. PWKI LLC,


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2019

Amadeus Leitner

a natural fit

on the ground and the winter wind still howling, we started gutting the place. As an experienced builder and renovator I knew I was turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse. But it seemed like the path of least resistance, so we persevered, hauling the loads of construction materials over by large and small barge and work skiff and trundling them up the hill by tractor, wheezing dump truck, or by hand.

As an experienced builder and renovator I knew I was turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse. After a punishing six-month effort our family and friends loved the amazing views from the deck and the delicious sense of detachment island living creates. But still I wondered if it had been worth it. Then, one by one our neighbors came over to express how glad they were that we’d kept the old place. “Yeah,” I’d respond, “but it was a piece of junk.” “I know,” they’d rejoin, “but my Aunt Gladys got married here.” Or, “I helped insulate the original place when I was a kid.” Or, “I had a summer romance with one of the girls who lived here.” Turns out it wasn’t about the house; it was about the memories. Community is about shared history—common stories. Mapping the stories onto the built environment makes the stories real. That’s why historic preservation is so important. I knew that, but I didn’t think it applied to a humble house on an island in Maine. I guess the house decided to teach me that lesson. Steve Thomas is a home renovation expert. The former host of This Old House and Renovation Nation, he now heads up Steve Thomas Builders.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2019

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