Page 1

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

Upper Valley castle

rustic, reclaimed wood flooring

inspiration ideas resources

reclaimed wood floors

New Urbanism in El Paso

New Urbanism in El Paso

eclectic Southwest style

in the Upper Valley

elegant townhome makeover

all in the family:

Summer 2013

elegant townhome makeover Vol. 1 no. 3 SUMMER 2013


El Paso & Southern New Mexico


inspiration ideas resources




36 his, hers, and theirs

A creative couple with a unique hobby builds a life together in their one-of-a-kind home, the “Tin Roof Desert Disc Resort & Diner.”

46 the family Fortune

An El Paso townhome built in 1974 stays in the family and gets an elegant makeover for the new generation.

56 user-friendly

Functionality and practicality merge with style and jaw-dropping views in restaurateur Mike Meyers’s hillside bachelor pad.

64 the journey: home After living and traveling all over the world, a physician settles with her family in an amenity-filled Upper Valley home.

Bill Faulkner



in every issue

6 Inside Su Casa

8 Life+Style Southwest A green thumb’s verdant backyard, outdoor products, seasonal Southwest gardening tips, and Steve Thomas’s take on alternative wall construction.

24 Design Studio

The beauty of reclaimed wood flooring, faux wall finishes, and El Paso’s burgeoning New Urbanism movement.

72 Su Libro

New books by actress Jessica Alba and designer Shane Powers embrace natural living and organic decorating.

76 Vida Buena Say goodbye to sun spots with the latest skin rejuvenation treatments, and learn how savvy shoppers find the best estate jewelry.

82 Live Performance Calendar

It’s all about the music this summer! Get out and see this season’s hottest live events in and around El Paso and Las Cruces.

84 Travel Explore wineries in the scenic Texas Hill Country and delve into the history of c ountry music in Nashville.

92 Su Cocina

Party Planning 101 with Jill Leavitt and Chef Johnny Vee, recipes for a Tuscaninspired lunch, perfect wine and food pairings, and specialty food markets.

104 Dream On

The elements come together in the ultimate backyard.

On the cover: A cheerful red oven is the focal point of this El Paso kitchen. Read more about the home on page 64. Photograph by Bill Faulkner.


Jesse Ramirez


Inside Su Casa

a scent of summer


Bruce Adams Publisher


he famous French impressionist painter Claude Monet divided his creative efforts between painting and gardening. In fact, he designed his gardens in such a way that they became the subject matter for his paintings, all of which are now in the most prestigious museums in the world. Like Monet, we, too, can design our gardens to suit our lives and our various pursuits. This issue of Su Casa aims to show you how to do just that, with inspirational photographs of incredible outdoor living spaces and landscape designs along with organic gardening tips specific to the climate challenges of El Paso and Southern New Mexico. By creating pleasant, comfortable, and attractive outdoor spaces, you will add entirely new areas to your home for living and entertaining. Additionally, you will see that building the ultimate outdoor kitchen is also worth the effort: The area quickly becomes the focal point of your summer entertaining, and it is also helpful year-round for keeping heat and strong cooking odors out of your home. After being cooped up indoors due to the extremes of our area’s climate, time spent on a shaded lounge chair enjoying the aromas wafting from your garden and outdoor grill (especially when green chile is involved) is truly one of the great pleasures of summer. In fact, it’s these aromas and other scents that make summer my favorite season. The scent I find the most poignant is the sweet—albeit rare—smell of rain as it comes in contact with the ground. And what better place to absorb these aromas than your own comfortable, personalized, outdoor living space. The good news is that it’s not too late for you to enjoy outdoor living this year. The efforts and investments you make now will pay enjoyable dividends throughout the summer, the protracted fall and winter seasons, and for years to come. The fun part begins now. As you discover on the following pages what others have done with their gardens and outdoor living spaces, you’ll have the distinct pleasure of joining Monet in creating a vision-driven world that’s unique to you and your desires.

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

You Can Teach an Old House New Tricks!

inspiration ideas resources

Published by Bella Media, LLC Publisher Bruce Adams Business Development Bob Skolnick Associate Publisher B. Y. Cooper Editor Jessica Muncrief Executive Editor Amy Gross Associate Editor Phil Parker Contributors Joe Burgess, Tiffany Etterling Rodney Gross, Cassie McClure R. Monroe, Julieta Rios, Tom Ruggiero Steve Thomas, John Vollertsen Lead Graphic Designer Sybil Watson Designer & Media Specialist Michelle Odom Photography Avraham Elias, Bill Faulkner Jesse Ramirez

For advertising information contact: office 915-581-2300 mobile 575-649-8340 Customer Service Manager Julieta Rios Operations Manager Ginny Stewart-Jaramillo

Please direct editorial queries to For subscriptions, call 818-286-3162

Copyright Š 2013 by Bella Media, LLC. El Paso Office 550 South Mesa Hills Drive, Suite D-1 El Paso, TX 79912 915-581-2300 Santa Fe Office 215 W San Francisco, Suite 300 Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-983-1444

Imagine the Possibilities

Su Casa (ISSN 1084-4562) is published four times a year (March, June, September, and December) by Bella Media, LLC, 215 W San Francisco, Suite 300, Santa Fe, NM 87501. $9.95 for 4 issues or $15.95 for 8 issues. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Su Casa El Paso, PO Box 15305, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5305.

Life+Style Southwest

a royal entrance

Robert Hines Construction 575-405-9788 To see more: Linda Uribe, 915-585-0007 8


Bill Faulkner

This Las Cruces home proves that a man’s home is truly his castle. A towering rotunda rounds out the Mediterranean-style exteriors and also serves as a grand foyer resplendent with custom ironwork: an ornate chandelier and 8' double entry doors. A regal medallion crowns the varicolored travertine floors. Just around the corner: the gourmet kitchen, wood-paneled library, and the media room with its fiber-optic ceiling that mirrors the night sky. But that’s not all— the crown jewel of the home is a colossal, 4,000-bottle wine cellar with vaulted brick ceilings and adjacent tasting room.

Summer showers bring power outages El Paso Electric’s tips for weathering the storm Power outages are more common in the spring and summer months, thanks to stormy weather and increased air conditioning use. El Paso Electric (EPE) puts its more than 100 years of experience providing electrical service to West Texas and Southern New Mexico toward minimizing outages as much as possible, but when outages do occur, EPE offers these tips: • Prepare an outage kit that includes flashlights, a battery-powered or windup alarm clock, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a manual can opener, and a first aid kit. • Know the location of your home’s fuse box or circuit box. • Cordless phones don’t work if the power is out. Have a standard phone or cell phone as a backup. • Automatic garage door openers also don’t work without electricity. Check the instruction booklet—ahead of time— about overriding manually. • Avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors. A full, unopened freezer should keep food frozen up to 48 hours. Food should stay cold in an unopened refrigerator for 24 hours. • Disconnect appliances that turn on automatically when power is restored or that may become damaged due to voltage irregularities (computers, VCRs, televisions, stereos, answering machines, etc.).

Tap into energy savings at and click on the sunny side logo.

Masterpieces Made Here

Experience a gallery where you are the artist. Where you can see, touch, and feel your home the way you want it, right now. All the latest appliances. Gorgeous sinks and faucets. Brilliant lighting. Plus, the product expertise that makes it easy to turn your vision into reality.

FERGUSON.COM El Paso 820 Sunland Park Drive (915) 231-5836 Š2013 Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.

Life+Style Southwest

Pine trees offer more than shade; they also provide privacy and protection from the nearby golf course.


A green thumb transforms a bare backyard into a lush landscape

ground by Jessica Muncrief


Photographs by Bill Faulkner

t’s unusual to have a client who is as passionate about maintaining her garden as we are about putting it in,” says Mark Nash, owner of Nash Patio & Garden, of the landscape design he incorporated into this midcentury modern home in the rolling foothills of the Franklin Mountains. “This project was so memorable because the homeowner is truly a gardener.” Today, there’s plenty for the homeowner to get her hands dirty with, but this wasn’t always the case. When she and her husband first moved in, they both loved the clean lines and vintage style of the home, but the surrounding yard left something to be desired, namely the trees she had grown to love in her native Canada. “There was no grass, no shrubs. It was all lava rock and cool decking, a little grass, and then just desert,” she remembers. “I wanted to feel like I was in a lush garden up north or in the Berkshires. I wanted year-round greenery and an outdoor area I could take advantage of during any season.” To that end, the homeowner planted pine trees all over the property soon after taking up residence. They were six feet tall at the time, but now tower even higher than the home’s second level. “Some people don’t want to be bothered with cleaning up pine needles, but it’s give and take,” she says. “In the summertime, it’s very cool. I can sit outside or work in the garden, no matter what time of day.” Under the enormous covered patio spanning the length of the property, the homeowner utilized her design background to create an outdoor living area ideal for both the


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

summer parties she and her husband like to throw for friends as well as the intimate dinners for two they enjoy almost every night of the week. Four Seasons Construction added a deluxe grill and bar overlooking the Coronado Country Club golf course which runs right up to the property line. Nash then stepped in to transform the lackluster yard into the verdant landscape the homeowner yearned for, but abundant flora doesn’t come easy in El Paso’s mountainous terrain. “We were sitting on a bed of solid rock,” Nash remembers. “We brought in 60 tons of dirt and mounded up the gardens so she could add tulips or any flowers and plants she wanted—any place she could. There was no movement to the landscape, so we created islands and let the grass meander all around the gardens instead of just having one large, centered patch of lawn.” Nash supplemented the homeowner’s

“It’s unusual to have a client who is as passionate about maintaining her garden as we are about putting it in.”—Mark Nash

Summer afternoons are best spent poolside at this home (above, top), but floor-to-ceiling windows allow enjoyment of the outdoors even when curled up in the living room (above). Right: Mark Nash transformed a bare stone wall into a tranquil fountain covered in creeping vines.



30 Year Anniversary

ORNAMENTAL IRON • Entrada Doors • Custom Gates • Spiral Staircases • Wall & Window Treatments • Fencing & Handrails

COMMERCIAL FABRICATION • Metal Buildings • Custom Fabrication of Metals


Fax: 575-525-8636 PO Box 383 • Fairacres, NM 88033 •


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

beloved pines with additional shade trees—live oak, ash, and forest pansy redbud (Nash’s personal favorite)—to create a cooling canopy effect. He added vines such as Boston ivy and Algerian ivy, both of which fare well in the hot desert sun, as well as shrubs that thrive in the shaded areas such as aucuba, Japanese aralia, and cast iron plant. “The yard has very little structure to it,” Nash adds. “One area is flowers, and another offers shade. She even has roses. Something is in bloom all year round.” A great mix of perennials that flower in the spring, like lamb’s ears and meadow sage, sits alongside Mexican bush sage, daylilies, and other plants that blossom in the fall. Lantana, salvia, and gaillardia come alive in the summer. The homeowner admits that all this greenery does come with a bit of extra work, but she says that’s all part of the joy she gets out of it, something Nash has witnessed firsthand: “We still do regular maintenance and upkeep, but she plays in it all the time. She really has quite a green thumb.”

Grass pathways wind through the colorful garden plots.

An expansive covered patio features a top-of-the-line grill station and chic outdoor living room.

resources Nash Patio & Garden 915-587-6000 Four Seasons Construction 915-585-1598 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013











CREATING SPECIAL OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES FOR FAMILY AND ENTERTAINMENT Custom Pools, Spas, Pergolas & Trellises Outdoor Kitchens, Fireplaces & Fire Pits Outdoor Living with Custom Surfaces Professional Landscape Design Underground Irrigation Systems

Life+Style Southwest

by Jessica Muncrief

American summer Ample opportunity for enjoying the outdoors is a major bonus of living in the Southwest. Whether you’re hosting a Fourth of July barbecue, sprucing up the garden, or just spending a little extra time lounging poolside, do it in style with these fun outdoor finds.

OW Lee Lee Avalon Sofa A hand-crafted wrought iron frame and plush, customtailored cushions make this outdoor sofa worth the splurge. Pair it with the matching loveseat and club chair and move your living room outdoors for the season.

Mud Glove H20 Gardening Gloves The newest addition to this line of flexible and form-fitting gardening gloves offers the ultimate in water and mud protection. The superior grip surface keeps garden tools steady, even when wet. $9.99, Guzman’s Color Your World Greenhouse, 575-521-0496

$999.00, The Patio, 915-533-1198,

Perky Pet Antique Bottle Hummingbird Feeder This vintage-inspired glass hummingbird feeder is an elegant alternative to the ubiquitous red plastic version. It holds 24 ounces of nectar and has four decorative feeding ports. Also available in cobalt blue. $29.99, 150 Sunset, 915-585-0801

Char-Broil 14" Grill No matter where you plan to watch the fireworks, this lightweight charcoal barbecue can come along. Perfect for burgers or brats, it’s a fun twist on the basic black grill. $17.99, Target, 18

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Botanical Interests Crimson Sweet Organic Watermelon Seeds Nothing says summer like a slice of juicy watermelon. Grow your own with organic seeds from gardener favorite Botanical Interests. Each packet is beautifully illustrated by botanical artist Carolyn Crawford and jam-packed with information to help your seeds thrive. $1.99, Guzman’s Color Your World Greenhouse, 575-521-0496

Le Beau Earthenware Planters Give your porch a mini-makeover by trading in your terra-cottas for brightly colored earthenware planting pots. Fill them with fragrant red and white blooms for some Americana flair. $39.99–$199.99, 150 Sunset 915-585-0801, SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Life+Style Southwest

seasonal Southwest

gardening A local gardening pro offers advice and answers your questions Color Your World offers plenty of flowering annuals to bring color to your yard.

Break out your spades and gardening gloves; this summer is perfect for getting busy in the garden.


ary Guzman was born and raised in Las Cruces. As the owner of Color Your World Garden Center, he has more than 32 years of experience gardening in this region. Wondering how the scorching sun will affect your carefully tended garden? Guzman has the answers to your most pressing summer plant care questions.

How much water do my plants really need during the hottest months? Watering is the most obvious concern in the summer, but it’s also the most difficult gardening aspect to perfectly pinpoint. Humidity, sun exposure, wind, soil, the type of plant, the length of time planted, and location all dictate how much a tree or shrub should be watered. In most instances two to three times per week will suffice, as long as you apply enough water to thoroughly saturate the entire root ball. Less is needed on xeriscape, native, or well-established plantings. New plantings will need extra watering, especially during the heat of their first summer. Can I give my plants too much water? Beware of overwatering. Note any new growth that’s an extra pale yellow, or lower leaves dropping off at what may seem like an alarming rate. Remedy by adding organic iron to the soil and conducting regularly scheduled feedings with an allpurpose fertilizer containing mycorrhizae. And of course reduce the amount of water you have been applying.

I love color. Which flowering annuals fare well in the sun? Heat Wave petunias are great choices. Make sure the description on the label reads “Wave petunias,” because other petunias might not fare as well in extremely high temps. There are many species of petunias ranging in color from deep dark purple to light pink, and Color Your World will have these plants during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. 20

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Jessica Muncrief

I didn’t get out to the garden as much as I wanted this spring. Is planting still an option during the summer? Yes, you can still plant, even during the hottest months of the year. Plants such as ocotillo, oleander, palms, crape myrtle, Texas Ranger sage, yucca, and shade trees seem to thrive in the blazing sun as long as their roots have access to moisture. If possible, try to use a drip system for plants. This is the most efficient way to water just about any green or flowering item. Rain Drip, along with other irrigation system brands, offers adjustable drippers that allow for different volumes of water per plant, all on the same line.

Lantanas are another good option. There are numerous varieties, from the creeping gold lantana to the bright Dallas red. They thrive in the sun, and reflected heat is no problem for them. Lantanas are also good choices for xeriscaping. Phlox, portulaca, rudbeckia, zinnia, marigolds, red bird of paradise, vinca, purslane, and gazania also do well in blazing heat. Just be sure to give them extra water on the hottest midsummer days. Are there any pests I should be concerned with? Grub worms have been an issue the last few years, especially with newly planted trees and shrubs. May and June beetles love to lay their eggs in cooler, moist soil. As the eggs hatch, the larvae can wreak havoc on the soft roots that are just beginning to become established. Beneficial nematodes are a good organic choice for gardeners who want to avoid using chemicals. Products containing azadirachtin will kill the insect by interrupting its hormonal balance. Products containing imidacloprid will kill grub worms outright, as well as an array of other insects, and should only be used in the most extreme cases. What’s your best summer gardening tip? An ounce of prevention can really save you some large headaches in the future. If you notice any of your greenery in peril, don’t wait! Hesitation can lead to the removal of large plant material. Diseases or infestations can easily spread to surrounding vegetation. It may not be the heat of the summer that’s causing the distressed look on your landscape; it just might be all the other incidentals that come with the season.

Dallas red lantana thrives in the heat and requires minimal water.

resources Color Your World Garden Center 575-521-0496

radical rethinking

by Steve Thomas

The Southwest leads the way in alternative wall construction Rammed Earth. Literally earth (generally from the house site itself ) mixed with a little cement and water, rammed earth is created when these elements are compacted inside a form in layers or “lifts” with a pneumatic tamper. It’s incredibly beautiful, with geologic striations that make

AAC: Autoclaved Aerated Concrete. Formed in a fac-

tory out of sand, cement, aluminum powder, and, in some cases, fly ash from coal-burning power plants, AAC comes in big blocks. The blocks have a cellular structure that makes them lightweight and gives them

Steve Thomas is a home renovation expert and the spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity International. 22

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Douglas Merriam; Soare


e used to think of the exterior walls of our houses as, well, walls. They were punctuated by windows and doors and topped off with a roof, and the oldschool builders used to tout the value of “letting the building breathe.” Now with stricter energy codes, higher heating and cooling costs, and the need to keep homes healthy through good indoor air quality, our exterior walls have become part of an overall system called the “building envelope.” In most locations across the United States, exterior walls are still built with 2 x 4" or 2 x 6" studs, with wood sheathing and exterior cladding (wood, vinyl, cement board, etc.). Insulation is fiberglass, cellulose, and sometimes foam, and the interior surface is typically drywall. But the Southwest has its own architectural and environmental demands, not to mention an opportunity to utilize some unique materials that don’t readily translate to other parts of the country. Here are a few of my favorites.

insulating properties. The blocks are mortared together, stuccoed on the outside, and typically plastered on the inside. They form a deep wall, replicating the look and feel of adobe with good thermal and acoustical properties and those deep window wells that look so good in the Southwest. Adobe. Then there’s the old standby: mud. “Rammed earth is incredibly Adobe is mud and straw formed into blocks and left to dry in the sun. It creates thick walls with beautiful, with geologic deep window wells that scream “Southwestern striations that make the walls style.” In my own renovation in the historic district of Santa Fe, I went to great pains to restore look like they grew out of the the adobe structure as it was: out of plumb, out ground—which in fact they did.” of square, and way out of plane—a mud pie of a house. I plastered the interior and insulated the the walls look like they grew out of the ground— exterior with closed-cell foam clad with stucco. I came to love the sinuous forms and organic feel which in fact they did. Some builders insulate the exterior of the walls with spray-on closed-cell of the house with nary a straight line within the four foam and finish that with stucco; other builders exterior walls. The house has great acoustical propleave the exterior to show, sealing the wall with a erties—it’s quiet—and it just feels good, probably water-repellent sealer and protecting it with wide due to adobe’s quality of absorbing moisture and then giving it up, like a clay pot. The house can be roof overhangs. ICF: Insulated Concrete Forms. Looking a lot heated for a dollar a day, and if you open the winlike Lego blocks, ICFs are foam forms that are dows at night and close them in the morning, there’s hollow in the center, with toothed tops and bot- no need for air conditioning. Adobe does require toms so the courses can interlock. Steel reinforcing some attention. If your roof leaks into the exterior bar is laid in the hollow space which is then filled walls, for example, they will melt! But having cursed with concrete. The advantage is you’ve got a rock- it during the renovation, I came to love it after I was solid concrete wall that’s well insulated inside and done. I’d definitely consider using adobe again. out. With exterior stucco and Making adobe bricks interior plaster, you replicate out of mud and straw. the look and feel of a traditional adobe wall. ICF houses are quiet, strong, easy to heat and cool, and literally bulletproof!


3012 E. Yandell Dr. El Paso, TX 79903 915-566-0095


by Sierra


Experience Our Passion for Hardwood Floors




Design Studio

reclaimed glory

Stout Hardwood Floor Co., Inc. gives new life to old wood

by Tiffany Etterling Photographs by Jesse Ramirez and Bill Faulkner


aturally aged hardwood flooring offers unique character and timeless appeal. Nothing can compare to the rich textures, colors, and historical authenticity repurposed wood brings to a room. This is well understood at Stout Hardwood Floor Co., Inc., a family-owned business that has been covering homes with the welcoming warmth of hardwood flooring for nearly 70 years. Oklahoma farmer Harry L. Stout moved to New Mexico in 1928 to pursue his passion for building and remodeling homes. By 1944, he had settled his family in Las Cruces and founded H. L. Stout & Son. Harry’s grandson, Barry, still proudly displays his grandfather’s original contractor’s license in his showroom; it was one of the first awarded in New Mexico. “I’m third generation,” says Barry, with obvious pride and respect for the two generations that preceded him. “As kids we grew up working for Grandpa on weekends.” One of his treasured memories is driving around with his father and grandfather as they pointed out homes where they’d installed hardwood floors. “It was cool to see the families still living there on the same floor so many years later,” he remembers. Barry took control of the family business in 1995 when his father, Bobby, retired. He’d been away from Las Cruces for several years working for a flooring manufacturer. “I got a lot of experience and more

Barry Stout and Merek Rogers in their office (above). Right: Distressed wood flooring plays beautifully against the cabinetry and ceiling beams in a traditional Southwestern adobe by Classic New Mexico Homes.


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

of a global look at what was going on in the industry while I was away,” says Barry, who brought the reclaimed wood flooring concept home with him. “We were a little behind the curve in Las Cruces. We were like a general without a war before we introduced reclaimed flooring.” Reclaimed wood has seen a surge in popularity in the past decade, due in large part to trends in sustainable building. Stout primarily sources from old farms and barns in the Ohio Valley. According to Barry, these are buildings that would otherwise be torn down for scrap lumber. Today there are companies that specialize in finding those buildings, salvaging the wood, and preparing it to be repurposed into flooring and woodwork. Oak, hickory, white pine, and maple are a few of the common types of reclaimed wood that Stout offers, but Barry says they can find almost anything a customer requests, including wood not available from new trees. North American chestnut, for example, is nearly extinct due to the Asian bark fungus that found its way to the United States in the early 1900s. Attempts are being made to reintroduce the tree, but as of now, it is only available for building purposes as reclaimed wood. Likewise, river-recovered heart pine is only available through reclaimed sources. “Back in the day, the sawmills used rivers to float the logs down to the mills,” explains Barry. “A lot of the logs would sink. The last 10 or 15 years, people have made a business out of sending a diver down to inspect these logs and pull them up.” Whether building a new home with a historical design or restoring an old home to its former glory, reclaimed wood offers unparalleled authenticity—but it often comes with a hefty price tag. Reclaimed hardwood flooring can cost 50 to 60 percent more than other hardwood flooring products, and homeowners should plan for a delivery and installation timeline of up to six weeks. Merek Rogers, Stout’s residential project manager, explains this as simple supply and demand for a product that is extremely popular right now. “Reclaimed hardwood flooring probably won’t be around forever,” he says. “As soon as they’ve exhausted all the sources, it’ll be over.” With proper care and maintenance, reclaimed hardwood floors can last just as long as other flooring options. The Stout team has the inside track on the proper sealing and cleaning products; homeowners who follow their advice can expect minimal upkeep. Merek recently refinished the first hardwood floor he ever installed in Las Cruces as a Stout crew member. The owner contacted him about a wear spot on the kitchen floor. Checking the records, Merek discovered it had been nearly 12 years since the initial installation. “We recoated it, and it looks brand new,” he says. “It probably has another 15 years before it will need another recoating. Just as with new wood flooring, it will last a lifetime.” Even though Stout Hardwood Floor Co. does nearly 150 projects per year, Barry says they are still a true mom and pop organization. His wife, Kathy, serves as bookkeeper and office manager. Barry primarily handles commercial clients, such as the new Centennial High School in Las Cruces where Stout is laying the gym floor, while Merek covers residential. Barry and Kathy also have two teenage daughters and a five-year-old son. They say only time will tell whether a fourth generation will someday take the reins.

Barry reclaimed the original wood floors in this historical Las Cruces home and restored them to their former glory. Above: Reclaimed wood can be used in almost any room and can be treated to look as old or new as the homeowner desires.

Stout Hardwood Floor Co., Inc. 575-527-4143 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


by Jessica Muncrief

The Region’s Premiere

Flooring & Tile Showroom

Ceramic, Porcelain, Stone & Wall Tile

Carpet, Hardwood, Tile & Vinyl Flooring

the healthy garden I organic is the only way to go

t seems that everything is going natural these days—food, health care, home products, even clothing—so the question that begs to be asked is: Why is gardening, the most natural and earth-centered of activities, so laden with harsh chemicals? The fact remains that while most gardening hobbyists are still using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on their plants, Mother Nature has a pretty good grasp on the most effective gardening practices and is ultimately your best resource for creating a healthy, safe, and eco-friendly home garden. Although many people are only just now starting to embrace the all-natural trend, Joe Kane, nursery manager at El Paso’s 150 Sunset, has been stressing the importance of organic gardening for more than 20 years. Kane graduated from NMSU with a bachelor of science in ornamental horticulture, then honed his skills working for some of the largest nurseries in the Southwest before bringing his experience to the team at 150 Sunset. This is a man who knows a thing or two about making a garden thrive.

Successful organic gardening starts with clean soil. Also key is the use of natural products, compost, and beneficial insects.

This means that organic gardening starts well before you start planting. Already have a garden going and want to turn it organic? It’s doable, says Kane, but be prepared to give it some time. You’ll need to wash and water yourGET T plants for over a month and start introducing insects before you have a true natural environment working for you. The good news is that organic soils, fertilizers, and gardening products are becoming NATURA more and more readily available on the market. WHITNEY FARMS® full line Kane’s favorite brands include Serenade control products are derived from Garden, Whitney Farms, and products from garden with what it needs to grow b FoxFarm: Grow Big (great for tomatoes), Tiger And it gives you a full line of produc Bloom, and Happy Frog. consumer, supported by a robust m Ultimately, organic gardening, like anything can trust to grow your business an else, is a learning process. Kane and Get itother today through the Scotts Lawn Independent Program. experts are ready and willing to help with any problems you may encounter. If possible, bring& COMMENT FEEDBACK in a sample. “Be proactive instead of waiting for a prob- www.whitneyfar lem to happen,” Kane says, “and be specific about what the problem is. Don’t just start blasting chemicals. Maybe an insect can take care of it. Sometimes we don’t do anything; we just let nature take its course.”


Kitchen & Bathroom Glass Tile Selections

Free Estimates • Expert Installation Product/Service Warranty Designer on Staff

You’ve probably heard the terms organic gardening and sustainable agriculture, but what do they really mean? Kane notes that organic gardening is about more than just throwing down some fertilizer from a bag. “It entails using all-natural products, compost, and even insects, and getting back to basic elements,” he says. “It’s really about allowing Mother Nature to feed herself, as opposed to us spoon-feeding her.” For the sake of our health and the environment, chemicals should never be used in anything food- or plant-related. Those vegetables, herbs, and flowers you pay a premium for at whole food stores? You can easily grow them at home, and just as cleanly. It all starts with the soil; if you’re just starting out, you’ll have to give it some time and effort. “Organic gardening is a commitment,” says Kane. “You can’t use organic fertilizer and then throw in synthetic. It would ruin the microenvironment you’ve worked so hard to create.”

Courtesy of Whitney Farms


resources 150 Sunset 915-585-0108​​​​​​​​​​​​ ©2012 The Scotts Compnay LLC. World Rights Reserved 12WF09

The Regions Largest Selection of

Brick, Stone, Veneer and Floor Tiles • Brick – Choices of Colors & Sizes • Concrete Stepping Stones & Blocks • Centurion Stone Veneer • Clay Coping & Pavers • Saltillo, Cantera & Travertine Tile • Thin Brick Veneer 33 years serving El Paso and Southern New Mexico

9400 Gateway East - El Paso TX 79907 Showroom Open Mon-Fri 7:30-4:30 Sat 8:30-12:30 915-593-1301

Delivery Available



Design Studio

when passion calls

by Julieta Rios Photos by Bill Faulkner and Avraham Elias

Trading business suits for overalls, Myriam Montes finds her calling


hen you love what you do, moving to a different country is not an impediment, just a small challenge. No one knows this better than Myriam Montes, a faux finish painter originally from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Montes has been painting wall and ceiling treatments professionally for more than 16 years, but has only lived in the United States for the past few. “Decorating and painting have always been passions of mine,” says Montes, who owns Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio in the Placita Santa Fe on Doniphan Street in El Paso. “I wanted to study interior design, but my father was too afraid to let me leave home for college.” After obtaining a degree in business management, Montes managed her father’s business for many years, but admits her heart was never truly in it—a fact made evident by her tendency to constantly redecorate not only her own home, but her friends’ homes as well. “I would see something I liked and then go home and try to imitate the technique until I got it right,” she says. Epiphany arrived in the midst of painting a wall while eight months pregnant with her third child: Montes decided a career change was in order, one that involved her passion, painting. Just two months after giving birth, Montes flew to Kentucky to study with renowned painter and decorator Martin Alan Hirsch.

For Myriam Montes, a bare wall is a blank canvas (above, top) which she uses to transform sparse rooms into warm, personalized spaces like the bedroom above. 28

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Using the same spatula she took to her first faux treatment course, Montes produces exquisite, unique, and highly detailed artwork. Back home and anxious to put her newly acquired skills to the test, Montes admits she was a little shy initially. “I worried it might be awkward for a woman to work painting walls, but I really wanted to show everyone what I was capable of,” she says. Ultimately, support from her family gave her the courage to start showing samples of her work, and it didn’t take long before Montes landed her first client. “I started with a friend’s house,” she remembers, “and after I finished, they asked me to do the walls at her husband’s office. Each project led me to another and another.” With two years of work under her belt, Montes moved to Juarez, where, just three days after her arrival, she was commissioned to paint one of the city’s most prestigious event halls, Cibeles. As her business flourished, she also opened a decorating store and studio. Eleven years later, spurred by the lamentable situation in Juarez at the time, she decided to move her practice to El Paso.

“Immediately when I enter a client’s home, my mind is filled with a vision of what the room can look like.”—Myriam Montes

Myriam Montes in her El Paso studio, surrounded by paints and extensive samples of her work. Montes has perfected a number of finishing techniques including stenciling (top, left) and Venetian-style treatments (top, right).



Dan Suggs-Owner     30

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

575-526-5442 License #25764

Montes has since risen to the top of her profession with the ability and knowledge necessary to bring any project to a grand finale. “I like to make each project unique, because each client is unique,” she says. “Immediately when I enter a client’s home, my mind is filled with a vision of what the room can look like. Different elements lead me to know what the client will like. Sometimes even by the clothes they wear I can tell what type of project it will be.” As with any high quality project, optimum paint finishes require careful planning and execution. Using the same spatula she took to her first faux treatment course, Montes produces exquisite, unique, and highly detailed artwork—a process she deeply enjoys. “Every time I finish a project I feel like this is the best day yet,” she explains. “The feeling I get from honest gratitude of my work makes me feel like every project is the best project. I feed off the happiness my clients get from my work.” With a fulfilling career and a supportive family she adores, it seems Montes has it all. The secret to her success? “Never give up. Never. Don’t take no for an answer. Always finish what you start. And most importantly, do what you love to do, and you will live a happy life.”

Rich colors and exquisite detailing are hallmarks of Montes’s work. In addition to glazing, texting, marbling and plastering, she is also adept at creating unusual finishes like faux leather and alligator skin (below).

Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio 915-861-0489

Life+Style Southwest


Main Street back

New Urbanism takes hold in El Paso by Jessica Muncrief


nce upon a time in America, children rode their bikes to school, the neighborhood grocer knew everyone by name, and families gathered for backyard barbecues on weekends. American priorities began shifting back in the mid-1900s. Automobiles became affordable, and mass transit systems were in decline. Postwar housing developments sprang up on the edges of major urban areas, zoning regulations separated residential and commercial buildings, and the middle class sought a quieter life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The rise of the suburbs seemed like the American dream come true, but somewhere along the way it seems this plan backfired; we lost the comfort and meaning that a sense of community affords. “We also now know the unsustainability of an automobile-dominated building environment,” notes Scott Winton, vice president at 32

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

The Winton Group. Winton and other forward-thinking builders, architects, and city planners want that sense of community back, along with more rational land use based upon human needs. The concept of New Urbanism is growing in El Paso thanks to people like architect Chad North, who incorporates New Urbanist principles into his projects, and Mathew McElroy, director of El Paso’s City Development Department, who received the Groves Award in 2012 for his commitment to promoting New Urbanism. Despite the buzz it’s been enjoying lately, the New Urbanism design movement isn’t exactly a brand-new

The second phase of the Montecillo project on Mesa Street aims to provide stylish living (above) in a walkable community (opposite).

concept. Visionaries were calling for a return to community as far back as the 1970s and ’80s, and the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) was founded in 1993. Gradually, cities across the nation have started taking notice, El Paso being one of the more notable as it is the first to require all architects working on city projects to achieve accreditation from the CNU. Pablo Aguirre Jr., a project manager at McCormick Architecture, completed the 12-course CNU accreditation sponsored by the city and found himself impressed with the ideals it espoused. “It’s environmentally friendly and healthier because you walk everywhere. It’s emotionally fulfilling because you commune more with others. It’s also about building smart and utilizing resources wisely. It’s really about improving quality of life,” he says. New Urbanism centers on creating walkable, mixed-use communities. This means building pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhoods with schools, churches, and businesses all within close proximity of homes. It means incorporating areas like plazas and parks where people can gather and interact, and ensuring neighborhoods are safe and sustainable. “For most people, it’s the way they grew up or the way they wish they’d grown up,” says Winton, whose interests in New Urbanism were sparked more than a decade ago when he heard of Andrés Duany and his promotion of compact communities. Winton has since devoured literature on the subject and is now heading up the development of Piazza Escondida, a mixed-use community on El Paso’s Westside. The Winton Group has already broken ground on the project which, as the name suggests, mirrors an Italian piazza. Once complete, 48,000 square feet of residential and business space will surround a large open-air plaza, complete with cobblestones and decorative stone fountains. Residential units range from studio lofts to “mansion condominiums” and “terrace homes.” There are also live/work units offering retail space on the ground floor with housing above. Winton envisions mini-markets, boutiques, cafés, and even concierge services occupying the commercial

Piazza Escondida mirrors an Italian piazza where residents can congregate around a community fountain. Each well-appointed unit (above, right) can be designed to the owner’s personal taste.

Bill Faulkner

Renderings courtesy of McCormick Architecture and The Winton Group

El Paso is the first city to require all architects working on city projects to achieve accreditation from the Congress for the New Urbanism.



Plans for The Montecillo include community swimming pools, cafĂŠs, shops, and a cinema.


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

units. “The right entrepreneur could really tap into a new market,” he says. Also in the works at the Winton Group is the Rio Valley neighborhood at the corner of Borderland and Westside Road. Up to 351 living units will be built on tree-lined streets along with a small downtown, a central park, and community pomegranate orchards. The revenue from the orchards will go back into sustaining the hundreds of street trees that shade the pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. “Maybe one day we will have the Pomegranate Festival here,” Winton says. With CNU accreditations in hand, Edward McCormick and Pablo Aguirre Jr. are also working on a New Urbanism–inspired project, the second phase of the almost 300-acre Montecillo urban village on North Mesa Street. “We want to reduce dependency on automobiles as much as possible,” McCormick explains. This entails creating walking trails and paths as well as finding creative solutions for parking, street configurations, and traffic lanes. Residents began moving into the first phase, The Venue at Montecillo, a 290-unit apartment complex, just last August. And that’s only the beginning for this development that eventually aims to build several thousand multifamily units along with parks, shops, entertainment centers, and other businesses. Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas just signed on to build a bar/ restaurant/cinema complex in the upcoming Town Center. “The Montecillo is a community within a community,” says Angelica Castorena, manager of The Venue. “It’s a different feel for the city, but I think El Paso is ready.”

resources CGN Designs 915-581-5348 McCormick Architecture, LLC Word word word word word word word word 915-533-2288 word word word word word word Montecillo 915-833-5001 Piazza Escondida 915-637-0787 Rio Valley 915-637-0787 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


his, hers, and theirs

Welcome to the “Tin Roof Desert Disc Resort & Diner”

by Tiffany Etterling


Photographs by Bill Faulkner

etting married later in life often means fusing different styles and blending a lifetime of collected treasures. That was the case for Dan and Diana Diemer when they wed in July of 2009. When Diana moved into Dan’s home, it was all his. Over the last four years, the couple has worked to make it a little his, a little hers, but mostly all theirs, by creating their own blend of traditional, organic, and contemporary design. The Diemer home is well off the beaten path. Located in the Talavera area of Las Cruces, the 15-acre property is as close as possible to the


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

base of the Organ Mountains. “It’s the edge of nowhere,” jokes Dan, a home remodeler who designed and built the home over the course of several years. Dan’s design endeavored to mimic the style of traditional New Mexico farmhouses with straight walls and a tin gable roof, but the striking metal roof is more than just a historical element. “The metal roof has just always attracted me; it just makes sense,” says Dan. “It’s long lasting, and I think it looks great.” It’s also fireproof, an added benefit if there is ever another wildfire in the nearby Organ Mountains.

Dan and Diana Diemer relaxing at their home in Las Cruces. The Diemers’ appreciation for nature and the outdoors is evident throughout the home, and their design style is a careful melding of organic elements like wood and stone with contemporary materials like steel and tin (above and opposite).



Strategically painted accent walls and well-placed windows bestow a modern feel on the master bedroom (right) and bath (above).

Dan may have built the home, but the couple have truly made this space their own by combining Diana’s belongings and artwork along with a number of elements they designed and fabricated together. The recently refinished patio serves as a perfect example of the blending of their two styles: Water drips peacefully off a stone fountain fashioned out of rocks transported from Diana’s previous home in Picacho Hills. A steel-framed trellis with retractable awning covers the southeast-facing entertaining space, allowing enjoyment of astounding views even on the sunniest days. The mesquite patio furniture, as well as other pieces inside the home, were designed and built by the couple in their garage. “We made our coffee table out of mesquite, inlaid with lapis,” says Diana, “and Dan made a beautiful chaise lounge and our dining table outside.” The Diemers’ furniture pieces incorporate glass and steel elements, juxtaposing an organic feel with contemporary design. “We love to have people over and love to entertain,” says Diana. Thus, while the home is designed to reflect tradition, the kitchen includes contemporary features designed specifically to accommodate the couple’s joy of cooking for large groups. Over the course of his 30-plus year career, Dan says he’s seen a lot of kitchens that just don’t work, so designing the ideal kitchen was important to him. “I’ve always thought the kitchen work triangle works better when the shape of the kitchen itself is a triangle instead of a square,” he says. To that end, Dan’s triangular workspace includes two dishwashers, three ovens, two sinks, and a magnetic conduction stovetop, which Diana raves is “the best.” Dan recommends installing drawer bases in a kitchen whenever possible because they function much better than cabinets. To add some drawer space (and a great conversation piece), he built a stainless steel toolbox into the kitchen island for the storage of knives and utensils. “That’s probably why I married him, because of the kitchen,” jokes Diana. “And he can cook besides that.” 38

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

“The metal roof has just always attracted me; it just makes sense. It’s long lasting, and I think it looks great.”—Dan Diemer

Dan added convenience and contemporary style with underlit shelving in the living room (above, left) and a built-in wine rack in a dining nook (above).



The triangular kitchen, a must-have for Dan, flows whether the Diemers are cooking for two or 20.

Dan plays a round of disc golf on the expansive property, while Molly the Goldendoodle, paws clad in protective booties, serves as caddy (left).


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

A simple vase of sunflowers brightens the entryway.

The most unique amenity at the Diemer home is an 18-hole disc golf course. The couple discovered the sport during their honeymoon in Ruidoso. “We got to talking on the way home and decided we could do this at home because we’ve got 15 acres,” says Dan. It started with some fence posts and buckets, but the couple have since taken the course to a new level. Dan found a tutorial online describing how to make the metal baskets that serve as the goals for each hole, then he and Diana set up shop in their garage and constructed 18 of them. “We have a tee box for each hole,” explains Diana. “You throw the disc to the basket at each hole, just like a golf course—only ours runs through the desert, up the mountain, and down the arroyo.” Diana says they enjoy a round of disc golf nearly every day, weather permitting. Molly, the Diemers’ black Goldendoodle, serves as caddy while they play, retrieving discs that stray off course. She even has special boots SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


to protect her paws from the thorny desert terrain. In addition to being a great caddy, Molly also shares the Diemers’ love of charitable and missionary work. She works with Mesilla Valley Hospice’s Therapaws program once a week. Together, Dan and Diana have fused together a home that is truly theirs, perfectly suited for relaxing, entertaining, and disc golf. The Tin Roof Desert Disc Resort & Diner is open for business—and fun.

resources Design and Build Diemer Remodeling 575-524-5800 Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery 575-526-5200 Cabinetry Dura Supreme Countertops The Design Center 575-526-1022 Flooring Stout Hardwood Floor Co. 575-527-4143 Casa Mexicana Tile 575-523-2777 42

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Block the Sun’s Heat & Lower Your Energy Bill • Retractable Solar Screens for Windows and Patios • Block the Sun and Enjoy Your View! • Reduce the Summer Heat • Cut Your Cooling Cost





From beneath the contemporary pergola, the rear patio offers miles-long views of the rugged desert terrain.


Su Casa magazine Online Resource comprehensive guide Guide Aforfree, consumers who want to tap into design, architecture, and building communities.


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

an Exclusive Builder

for Exclusive Living


Grisel Ortega | 915-491-2056 |

Word the

family Fortune

A townhome is remodeled for a new generation

by R. Monroe


Photographs by Bill Faulkner

t Craig and Janet Fortune’s El Paso home, the signs of spring are everywhere: a crape myrtle bursting into bloom, golf balls flying through the air at the Coronado Country Club. Noting an outdoor light fixture cracked by an errant ball, Craig admits that occasionally there are a few downsides to living in such close proximity to a golf course—but not many. In recent years, the Fortunes embarked on an extensive renovation and expansion of their Spanish Revival–inspired townhome. Although the renovation is recent, the house has actually been in the family for decades. Back in 1974, Craig’s parents, Margaret and Irvin, were one of the first to buy a town-


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

house in the neighborhood. Margaret, an interior designer, enjoyed daydreaming with her son and daughter-in-law about how Craig and Janet might transform the house when they moved in. Determined to bring those daydreams to fruition, Janet spent years fine-tuning her design sensibility by looking through magazines and tearing out photographs. That work paid off in a house that feels at once elegant and deeply personal, reflecting both Janet’s aesthetic taste and a warm family spirit.

Word An avid golfer, Craig need only step out his rear gate to play the back nine (above). Opening up the main living space was a priority in the renovation. Once this was accomplished, interior designer Jeannie Norris designed simple but elegant archways throughout the home to define spaces (left).

Janet credits interior designer Jeannie Norris with setting her “on the path that helped everything else fall into place.” That meant revamping the house’s style from the 1970s to a more 1920s-inspired look. Norris was instrumental in establishing the vision, but as she puts it, “Janet was enjoying the process so much that she took over the finishing of it. A lot of people wouldn’t have been able to pull that off, but she was able to.” With help from Norris and Dalton Caldwell of Cullers & Caldwell Builders, a transformation took place. The undeniable heart of the home is the large main area, comprised of the open kitchen, informal dining room, and living room. Although it’s hard to imagine now, in its previous incarnation this downstairs area was split into different rooms with four different ceiling heights, while a wall blocked the kitchen off from views of the golf course. The first priority of their renovation project, the Fortunes decided, would be to open this space up—assuming such a thing were even structurally possible. “Dalton [Caldwell] said, ‘Let’s start taking things apart and we’ll see,’” Janet remembers with a laugh. 48

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Jessica Muncrief

Artwork and furniture pieces, like a pair of blue velvet armchairs, inspired the design of each room. A St. Francis bird bath adorns the home’s private garden (below).

Janet decided on an anchoring element for each space and worked from there. “Every room had something that inspired it,� she says.

A refrigerator hidden behind barn-style doors and a glass teardrop chandelier are focal points in the kitchen (right). Below: Arched windows and doors with ornate ironwork grace the foyer.



Design & Quality for Generations

Custom Design & Build for Each Home Light wood flooring and colorful throw pillows brighten the master bedroom.

Contemporary & Mediterranean Architectural Styles

Building Custom Homes Since 2001 (915) 252 8193 465 N. Resler Ste. J El Paso TX 79912

A hallway lined with gold-framed black-and-white photos pays homage to beloved family members (above). This opulent master bathroom (opposite) is Janet’s haven for relaxation. The window’s unique stained glass design lets in warm natural light.

Luckily for everyone, those structural adjustments worked out just fine, resulting in a living area marked by an updated Spanish Revival feel, complete with curved archways, large wooden beams, and terra-cotta floor tiles. Large windows offer an expansive view of the golf course’s sloping lawns, while the open floor plan provides plenty of space for lounging, entertaining, or enjoying an early morning cup of coffee. The space is airy and inviting, and it’s easy to imagine the Fortunes’ two sons enjoying a quick breakfast at the large marble kitchen island before heading off to school, or cuddling up with one of the family dogs in a cozy recliner. With structural elements in place, Janet found herself faced with an entire house to redecorate. She decided on an anchoring element for each space and worked from there. “Every room had something that inspired it,” she says. “Most often, it was the artwork. I’d figure that out, and everything else would follow from that.” Drawings by local artists, acquired by Craig’s parents and currently hung on a living room wall, influenced Janet’s choice of

Herringbone floors and paneled wainscoting round out a home office with golf course views.

In addition to two teenage sons, Craig and Janet are also parents to two lovable pups.


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

a striped velvet fabric in desert-inflected jewel tones. That fabric can be found throughout the home’s public areas: the living room pillows, the trim on a footstool, and on the couch in the entryway. Janet’s office is enlivened by dozens of quirky drawings of owls, each in a different style and unique frame. (It also doubles as a “dog-approved” zone, complete with a fenced-in yard for the family’s two canine members.) In Craig’s office, a Confederate musket and sword belt plate define the more masculine atmosphere. The master bedroom, with its muted colors and filigree headboard (refurbished by Norris), has a softer feel, distinct from the rest of the home. Thanks to the additional space, their expansion

afforded them, the Fortunes converted what had been a his-and-hers bathroom and closet area into a personal space for Craig; Janet’s own bathroom and closet are just a step down the hall. Each bathroom was designed to satisfy the occupant’s individual needs: Craig’s is marble-floored and features a steamer, while Janet’s incorporates a feminine clawfoot tub. “He wanted steam, I wanted relaxation,” Janet says. For Janet’s bathroom, the Fortunes commissioned a diamond-patterned stained glass window from Janet’s cousin, Louise Jones. “I wanted privacy, but I wanted to let the light in—although I didn’t want to change the color of the light,” Janet explains. The solution? Colorless stained glass, which bathes the room in soft light. Overall, the extensive renovation project was a learning experience for Janet—in a positive sense. “People complain about remodeling, but it was fun!” she says. “Once I realized it was a process, it got much easier. It’s not that you make a decision and then you’re done; you make a decision and then problem-solve to make it happen.” As an example, she points to a narrow, pewter-colored cabinet next to the

refrigerator. “It wasn’t supposed to be that narrow,” she says. But instead of bemoaning the mistake, Janet decided to turn it into something special by bringing in an artisan to carve patterns into the shelves. Now the narrow cabinet is one of those small touches that gives the kitchen its personality, and the house its effortless sense of warmth.

resources Design and Build Cullers & Caldwell Builders 915-584-5600 Interior Design Jeannie Norris Interior Designs LIC 915-581-5233 Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery 915-775-1000 Cabinetry A-1 Kitchens by Sierra 915-566-0095 Countertops Classic Granite & Marble 915-351-4401 Doors Artistic Entryways 575-589-0281 El Paso Wood Products 915-545-2974 Fireplace Mantel Bill Saab 915-593-7220 Flooring Arto Tile 310-768-8500 Flooring Stout Hardwood Floor Co. 575-527-4143 Ironwork Elite Design & Production 915-726-7582 Landscaping Sallie Homan 915-234-2276 St. John Sprinkler Service 915-755-8979 Stained Glass Louise Jones 915-581-5849 Windows Pella 915-833-3066 54

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013


915-581-5348 • 6927 N. MESA SUITE B

EL PASO, TX 79912

Charrette Certified  Form Based Codes Certified Congress For New Urbanism Accredited  Smartcode Interpretation

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

Subscribe today at ®

or call (818) 286-3162

inspiration ideas resources SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


userfriendly An El Paso restaurateur’s elegant bachelor retreat

by Tom Ruggiero


Photographs by Bill Faulkner

ike Meyers spent hours, days, years even, trekking his then-vacant land high in the foothills of the Franklin Mountains. During his walks, Meyers contemplated and visualized architectural and design elements and allowed the ideas for his planned new home to percolate. The result of those labors can best be described as a fusion of Spanish Colonial, Tuscan, and Alpine retreat in a 3,537-square-foot residence perched like a medieval castle on the Franklin slopes. The daytime views of El Paso’s Upper Valley and Mt. Cristo Rey


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

are stunning, but nighttime offers a particularly dramatic sight: a billion shimmering lights setting fire to the sister cities of El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. Meyers says he sought to strike a balance between rusticity and urbanity. “Not like a mountain cabin, but a house that belongs in the mountains,” is how he characterizes his home. The massive stone fireplace in the living room, Saltillo tile flooring, granite and marble countertops, and all the other natural design elements suggest an affinity to the sparseness of the Chihuahuan Desert environment.

Tuscan-style stone exteriors give the home the feel of a hillside villa.

A lap pool and cozy outdoor kitchen make the most of limited lot space (opposite). The open-air courtyard (right) invites visitors into the home; comfy furniture placed around a fire pit encourages guests to linger and chat.



Meyers bought the property in 2005, but architectural plans weren’t finished until early 2011. Construction began soon after, taking nearly a year to complete. Because the house rests on a severe angle of the mountain, a whopping 29,000 tons of fill material was required to create the foundation for the structural platform. Meyers is a practical man, and his mountainside home is a testament to that sense. He abhors ostentatiousness. Thus, his taste for creative expediency extends to nearly every aspect of the design elements of his home—what he calls a “user-friendly space.” “When we went to work on the design of this house, I wanted it to be not necessarily an open floor plan, but all usable space,” Meyers says. “I had a very specific idea about this house, and that’s part of the reason I chose the builder that I did.” Said builder, Dan Ruth of Millennium Homes of El Paso, turned out to be a kindred spirit, and he is equally proud of the final product. He encouraged Meyers’s unlimited participation in the custom home process. “Mike was totally involved in the design and the selection of materials and accessories,” says Ruth. “The house is unique in design, in architecture, and in execution.” Meyers jokes that being single also permitted him to have enormous input into the most minute design details of his home, including fixtures, paint color selection, tile, granite, marble—even the plants and shrubbery. A native El Pasoan and restaurateur, Meyers has traveled extensively; with a keen Taking advantage of the spectacular night views, both inside (right) and out (below), topped Meyers’s list of must-haves.

“Sunsets over Mt. Cristo Rey are really spectacular, and I don’t have to miss one, even sitting on my living room sofa.” —Mike Meyers

The kitchen features a wellstocked wine refrigerator and an island customdesigned three inches taller than standard cabinetry to account for Meyers’s height.



Above: The expansive array of windows is ingeniously arranged to provide panoramic views of the El Paso valley.


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

eye for detail, he incorporated his favorite elements from countless restaurants, public buildings, and hotel rooms into his design. The home’s entryway eschews the grandiosity typical of Tuscan architecture in favor of a more inviting space. Transitioning into the front foyer is a courtyard featuring soft plastered walls, an open roof defended by slender dark vigas, and a hardy stone veneer. Light wicker furniture with plump red cushions invites the visitor to linger around a gas fire pit with granite surround. The double front doors depart a bit from the home’s otherwise laid-back vibe: Exquisitely formal, they feature glass and carved wood in a style that’s distinctly Spanish Colonial.

As is often the case with architecture, solving design conundrums is the key to a successful build. Due to limited space and strict building codes, a typical round or kidney-shaped swimming pool was not structurally feasible. Meyers opted instead for a lap pool, a sleek rectangle of shimmering blue just meters from the craggy mountainside. The pool hugs the southern side of the home, serving as both a fitness center for the homeowner and a recreational center for his family and friends. Abundant windows take advantage of the tremendous views. Ironically, the view of Mt. Cristo Rey lies hidden behind the massive living room stone fireplace. Meyers cleverly

A spacious master suite boasts French doors and shuttered windows overlooking the pool. A home office is just across the hallway.

attached a real-time camera to the outside wall, and now a perfect view of the famous landmark is as simple as switching on the television to a specific channel. “Sunsets over Mt. Cristo Rey are really spectacular, and I don’t have to miss one, even sitting on my living room sofa,” Meyers says. Perhaps the design element that best illustrates Meyers’s love of efficiency is the house’s programmable environmental controls. Whether he is lounging on his plush living room sofa sipping a glass of merlot or miles away managing one of his several restaurants, Meyers’s home’s lighting and temperature are easily and conveniently modulated through his smartphone. Ultimately, Meyers sought—and achieved—a home that suited his desire for both functionality and elegance. With those two essentials achieving equilibrium, the result is a true work of art. Says friend and builder Dan Ruth, “There is really nothing up on that mountain like it.”

resources Design and Build Millennium Homes 915-274-8190 Interior Design Ross Landers Interiors 915-542-0016

Furniture, Lighting, and Accessories Designer’s Mart 915-778-9223 Landscaping CSR Landscape 915-587-6833 Pool and Spa Paradise Pools 915-591-8819

Appliances Wolf, Sub-Zero Ferguson 915-231-5836

Tile and Stonework Mancera Tile 915-494-6060

Audio/Video AV Concepts and Security 915-307-3607

Wall Treatments Ventura Nevarez 915-422-5683

Cabinetry Kristie’s Kitchens 915-587-7404

Windows Window Concepts 915-584-0266

Countertops EKB Construction 915-920-0999

Woodwork C&D Southwest Lumber 575-526-2131 Lopez Custom Woodworks 915-860-0843

A marble-tiled shower overlooks a soaking tub in the master bath. Being the sole decision-maker in the house, Meyers was able to choose colors, tile, granite, and other details himself.

the journey: home

A lifetime of experience meets innovative design

From Mozambique to Costa Rica, Cheryl Kosarek’s travels have influenced her design tastes. “I always bring something home with me,” she says, “and I love ethnic and animal prints.”

by Jessica Muncrief Photographs by Bill Faulkner


elding local sensibilities with worldly experience takes an astute design eye. “Life is a journey,” Dr. Cheryl Kosarek wisely notes. “You collect tastes, ideas, and things from different areas you live in and the cities you visit. This house reflects a lot of the places I’ve lived and traveled in my life.” Kosarek’s journey began growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast. She then lived in the Northeast and in the lake regions of Minnesota and Ohio before moving to the arid El Paso desert. “This


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

is the only place I’ve ever lived that wasn’t near water,” Kosarek notes. When building her family’s home in El Paso, Kosarek made up for that omission by utilizing architectural elements she loved in other areas of the country. “It’s not your typical Southwestern-style home,” she says. “There’s a lot of rock and stonework and wood. In some ways we wanted to mimic the feel of a cozy ski lodge.” Designer Don Waters, the man who revamped the

Don Waters designed the Versaillesinspired pattern of the stone floors in the grand entry and throughout the home. Above: The neighborhood is built around an air strip; many of the homes, including Kosarek’s, have airplane hangars. The handcrafted island countertop is a colorful feature of the kitchen (left, bottom).



interiors of the Plaza Theatre during its 2006 restoration, proved instrumental in meeting the family’s style visions while still maintaining sensitivity to the surrounding environment. “The owners related a great love of American traditional architecture, what we see extensively in the eastern states popularized as American Federal,” Waters recalls, “but they also wanted to have a bit more of a homogeneous, natural lifestyle. They have a very developed taste, but it’s not overly traditional or fussy. It was important to them that the home have the very natural look that people in the Southwest enjoy.” On the exterior, this was achieved with cleaner lines and an organic color palette. The purposeful elimination of windows in the front of the home and metal shed roofing over the entry portico further modernize the dwelling. Inside, stone is a common thread throughout—a split-faced, curved fountain greets visitors in the entry, distressed Durango stone quarried in Mexico makes up much of the flooring, and rough-cut rocks encase glass shelving in both the great room and the kitchen—all artfully executed by artisan stone mason Robert Porras. “The easy part for a guy like me is to design a vision, but it takes the best craftsmen to make it look seamless,” notes Waters. “Bob’s the best. He’s a perfectionist who knows my demanding designs and has always been up for any challenge.” Strategically placed wood elements also The kitchen was designed around the crimson AGA range and cooker (left). Window bench seats can be found in the office (below) and throughout the home.

In the kitchen, a striped wood island countertop handcrafted on-site is the pièce de résistan­ce. 66

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Outside the enormous covered patio, a pergola provides ample shade for the outdoor kitchen.



lend to Kosarek’s style preferences. An octagonal reading room looking out to the backyard is her favorite of many “cozy spaces” in the home. Here, Waters echoed the trussed high ceilings in the great room with hand-hewn sugar pine beams and added arched windows with plantation shutters. In the kitchen, Waters customdesigned style-melding cabinetry by juxtaposing simplified raised panels with classic fluted posts. A striped wood island countertop handcrafted on-site (the property’s many amenities include a full workshop) is the pièce de résistance. Despite astute attention to architectural and style elements, family was truly the guiding force in the building of this home. “I grew up in a close-knit family, and I’ve always wanted that for my children,” says Kosarek, who has a daughter and two sons. “I strive to be the best I can at my profession, but I never wanted that to take away from the focus on my family. So, since we are all extremely busy, this home needed to be a haven, a sanctuary.” The proximity of horse farms for her daughter, an accomplished equestrian, Stairs in the “football room” (below) lead up to a private suite for Kosarek’s two teenage sons.

In lieu of a formal dining room, the family opted for casual bar seating in the kitchen and a round dining table in the living area.

“Life is a journey. This house reflects a lot of the places I’ve been in my life.”—Cheryl Kosarek 68

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

originally drew the family to the property. “It feels like we’re in the country out here,” says Kosarek. “We can go biking. We have fruit trees on the property. At night, we look out on a big sky with stars. It even smells like fresh country air.” Wide open spaces also allow for another big amenity. If the garages seem a bit large in this community, it’s because they are actually airplane hangars. The entire development is built around a private airstrip. Kosarek says just sitting on their back patio provides quite a bit of weekend entertainment: “Planes of all shapes, sizes, and types take off and land regularly—everything from luxury jets to vintage WWII planes. And it’s surprisingly quiet; you’ll see the planes before you hear them.” For his part, Waters also took family concerns to heart when formulating the floor plan. “Seamless design entails understanding the client’s lifestyle,” he says. “Designing for a family with children is different. We made a lot of revisions to the first draft of the plan based on usage requirements.” Indeed, Kosarek readily admits that “adaptable and usable” held precedence over “expected and cookie-cutter,” with the lack of a formal dining room being one notable departure from standard home layouts. “It was really important to us that all the rooms be used,” she says. “The idea of a traditional dining room just didn’t seem to fit with our more casual entertaining style. We didn’t think we’d get use out of it. At the same time, everything is adaptable. Another family might turn the reading room into a breakfast nook, or the den off the butler’s pantry into a formal dining space.” Another family may just get that chance. As Kosarek’s children head off to college, she has put this labor of love on the market with plans to move to another abode for the next leg of her life’s journey. While new owners will undoubtedly add their own personalization, the innovative core remains a testament to professionals like Don Waters who are in tune with the melting pot of styles that make the Southwest one of the country’s most intriguing regions.

The piano just off the grand foyer (above) has followed Kosarek through more than two decades of moves.



Go Solar For Only $60.00 a Month*

* On Approved Credit for a Ten Panel System after Incentives




Building Custom Cabinetry for 20 Years ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

European System Construction Method Kitchens, Bathrooms, Entertainment Centers Full Selection of Woods and Finishes Professional Installation by Skilled Staff Warranty on Materials and Workmanship Proudly Made in El Paso! • 915-577-9777 70

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Gino Farina of Blooming Paradise designed an impressive pool, spa, and patio area for the family to enjoy. Fruit trees, a vegetable garden, and grape vines are also on the property.

The luxurious master bath boasts marble floors and two enormous walk-in closets.



Su Libro

by Julieta Rios

“I’ve been fascinated by the natural world for as long as I can remember,” says Brooklyn-based stylist and designer Shane Powers. Powers’s first book, Bring the Outdoors In: Garden Projects for Decorating and Styling Your Home, is an innovative how-to on indoor decorating utilizing elements from nature. Powers’s botanical interests were first piqued during a photo styling gig for the horticulture magazine Bloom. “The founder, Li Edelkoort, encouraged me to think beyond traditional uses and focus instead on plants and flowers as more dynamic elements,” he recalls. His creative skills eventually led to collaborations with upscale Bring the Outdoors In: Garden retailers like West Elm and well-known Projects for Decorating and Styling magazines including Vogue Living Australia, Your Home, by Shane Powers, Blueprint, and Martha Stewart Living. “All of Chronicle Books, hardcover, $24.95 these experiences—styling, decorating, using plant materials, crafting, developing products—have influenced my approach to the projects found in these pages,” says Powers. Bring the Outdoors In provides 22 amazingly simple yet elegant decorating projects that will do exactly what the title promises. Working with live and dried plant materials, the reader might create a gilded bonsai vitrine, a succulent stone garden, a gypsophila sphere, or a crystal-encrusted planter. There’s even an indoor water garden. Crafting pros and beginners alike will find room-enhancing inspiration within these pages. Not ready to get down and dirty in the garden? The book includes ideas for all tastes—green thumb optional. “The projects are not gardening projects per se; they are three-dimensional still lifes, miniature worlds designed to enhance your interiors,” Powers explains. “Remember that the organic process is an irregular one. Your own versions of these projects might not turn out exactly like those in the pictures, and they will evolve in their own way, but that is the amazing and wild beauty of nature.”

Courtesy of Chronicle Books

This colorful floral garland is just one of the fun, nature-inspired projects in Powers’s new book.


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

resources Listing Agent Linda Uribe 915-585-0007 Architectural and Interior Design, Lighting Don Waters Waters Design Group 915-231-9975 Audio/Video Custom AV 915-760-8273 Cabinetry Marcel Sierra Kitchens 915-727-1423 Carpet Gabriel’s Carpets West 915-581-4214 Entry Door Cantera Doors 512- 263-8881 Furniture, Art, and Accessories Laura Carillo 915-581-1877 LMC Design Group 915-581-8732 Sugarbakers of Texas 915-585-2600 Granite Countertops Piedras Mundiales 915-760-4160 Landscape, Patio, Pool Blooming Paradise 915-581-2312 Stonework Robert Porras 915-241-1130 Windows and Doors Pella 915-833-3066 Window Shutters Miguel Angel 915-855-0422

Su Libro

natural selections

Jessica Alba and daughter Haven whip up a fresh salad at home (above). The Honest Life includes recipes for family-friendly meals and healthy snacks like berry smoothies (right).


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Golden Globe–nominated actress Jessica Alba is branching out. A film and TV star, Alba is also a social justice advocate, an environmental activist, and cofounder of The Honest Company, a business venture providing green and healthy home and beauty products. With the recent publication of her first The Honest Life: Living Naturally and book The Honest Life: Living True to You, by Jessica Alba, Rodale Naturally and True to You, Books, paperback, $22.99 Alba can also add “author” to her resume. Alba has always been environmentally and health conscious, but her “honest life” journey truly began while she was pregnant with her first child. A brand of baby laundry detergent gave her sneezing fits and itchy red welts on her hands. Shocked by the incident, she began to delve deeper into exactly what was in her household products. She was horrified by what she found. “I was overwhelmed by the amount of research I had to do on every brand to figure out if they were the real deal or just green washing me with a lot of eco-promises that didn’t pan out,” says Alba. “That’s when I decided that if this company didn’t exist, I had to make it happen.” So she paired up with Christopher Gavigan, best-selling author of Healthy Child, Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home, and did just that. It’s been four years since they founded The Honest Company, and now Alba is sharing all the information and advice she has gathered from specialists, as well as family and friends, in her new book. “I decided to write this book because I was sick of being told that ‘healthy,’ ‘safe,’ and ‘eco’ meant ‘boring,’ ‘beige,’ and ‘blah,’” she says. Readers will find tips and tricks on everything from maintaining a healthy diet to nontoxic cleaning alternatives. Alba also offers hip, green decorating and remodeling ideas, discusses how to grow an indoor garden, and even offers advice on getting kids involved. From paint and bedding options to recipes and skin care regimens, Alba covers it all, without trying to force her beliefs on the reader. “This is a book about how you can live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. But at the same time, it’s really not about that at all—because this book is not about why you need to become vegan, use cloth diapers, or grow all your own food,” says Alba. Serving as a guiding hand, The Honest Life is filled with tons of information on living an organic, natural, and eco-friendly life you can feel good about.

Courtesy of Rodale Books

New reads by actress Jessica Alba and designer Shane Powers offer advice for living organically and in harmony with nature

Trust us with 7 years experience and 3 locations to serve our community!


1727 Lee Trevino El Paso, TX

4242 Hondo Pass El Paso, TX



Vida Buena

seeing spots?

by Cassie McClure

Beat the aging effects of the sun— without surgery

first step in the right direction. “Your skin repairs itself overnight,” she explains, “so clean skin with purposeful and professional skin care at night is an easy way to ward off some signs of aging.” Dr. Cynthia Carey, of Truecare Chiropractic & Acupuncture, believes that “anti-aging comes from the inside out.” She says women should consider an overall healthy lifestyle which includes a diet of fresh, whole foods (with healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, and macadamia nuts), getting a full night’s sleep, a personal concentration on stress management, and a regular exercise routine. She also points to another common at-home menace: bar soap. She notes that women sometimes forget that the skin on their face is not the same as that on the rest of their body, with bar soap being notorious for draining oil and moisture.


hile we love the abundance of sun in the Southwest, secretly we all worry about the long-term damage it may be inflicting on our skin. Is there anything that can truly rejuvenate, and possibly even reverse, the effects from our daily doses of sunshine? We went straight to the local experts to find out what works, what doesn’t, and when you really need to start paying for high-tech treatments.

make yourself at home We all know a high SPF sunscreen (preferably 30–50 UVA/UVB) is absolutely mandatory here, but Griselda Oaxaca at El Paso Cosmetic Surgery notes that many people incorrectly believe applying just once in the morning is sufficient. “If someone is out in the sun during the day, or even if they just sit next to a window at work, they should reapply sunscreen every two hours,” she says. Anna Marie Hooley, a certified advanced nurse practitioner from CA Skin & Body, agrees that although sunscreen is a must, it’s not enough in itself if you really want to turn back the hands of time. “It is not uncommon to see signs of early to moderate photo-aging (brown spots, dryness, wrinkles) in your 40s—even if you used sunscreen in recent years,” she says. Hooley suggests starting a professional at-home routine with a Clarisonic brush and a gentle cleanser as the 76

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Signs that might indicate a need for professional treatments include sun spots, freckles, static lines, and a decrease in skin elasticity. make it a spa day You can’t beat the convenience and price tag on DIY treatments, but at what point should you start looking for more advanced procedures? According to Hooley, “Some early signs that might indicate a need for professional treatments include the presence of sun spots, freckles, the development of static lines—those wrinkles that remain even with a relaxed facial expression—and a decrease in skin elasticity, [which causes] sagging of the skin, like under the chin.” Before signing up for invasive and painful surgical options, consider the pain-free and relaxing—yet effective—treatment options offered by many clinics and day spas. Focusing again on the importance of skin hydration, Dr. Carey suggests the Jet Clear treatment featuring a sterile water exfoliation for deep rehydration. Her office also specializes in facial enhancement acupuncture, which focuses on tightening underlying facial muscles to reduce the sagging appearance, and treatments using microcurrents, tiny amounts of electrical stimulation for collagen and skin elasticity. At CA Skin & Body, Hooley recommends Ultherapy, a new, nonsurgical, and noninvasive procedure for the face that uses ultrasound and the body’s own natural healing process to lift, tone, and tighten loose skin. “It stimulates the deep structural support layers of the skin—including those typically addressed in a surgical facelift—without disturbing the surface of the skin,” says Hooley. Other CA Skin & Body treatments that specifically target anti-aging include the ClearLift fractional, a non-ablative laser treatment for skin firming that does not destroy the

According to Anna Marie Hooley, cleansing daily with the Clarisonic skin brush is a first step in the right direction.

The nonsurgical, noninvasive Ultherapy treatment (shown here and left) tones and tightens aging skin.

outer layers of the skin; pixel laser resurfacing for textural improvement; and photofacial rejuvenation for color correction of the skin. Despite the moniker, El Paso Cosmetic Surgery also offers an array of nonsurgical options. If you’re a rookie when it comes to professional treatments, Oaxaca says microdermabrasion is a great starter option. “The patient will see their healthy glowing skin immediately. They will love it!” If your specific issue is sun spots, Oaxaca points to the depigmentation cream Cosmelan. The initial treatment—a mask—is applied at the clinic. The patient wears the mask home and removes it after several hours. With follow-up home creams, the patient can expect significant results within as little as one week. Whether you’re the first up to greet the sun, or you’re more inclined to only see it through the dark- Word word word word word word word word word ened windows of your car, know that you can start word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word. helping your skin with sunscreen, hydration, and sleep. But when the spots in the mirror start to creep up, a follow-up with local professionals can help you slow the aging effects of basking in the sun. Our experts agree, beautiful skin starts at home—for men and women.

CA Skin & Body 575-532-9132 El Paso Cosmetic Surgery 915-351-1116 Truecare Chiropractic & Acupuncture 915-587-4600 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Vida Buena by Jessica Muncrief Photographs by Avraham Elias

treasure hunting The basics of buying estate jewelry


hether it’s a Victorian ring passed down from your greatgrandmother or a funky brooch from a garage sale, estate jewelry adds something special to your jewelry collection. “These pieces are not made today,” says Armando Medrano, owner of El Paso’s Jewel Gallery. “You get unique quality, real treasures, and heirlooms—and often at bargain prices.” Knowing what to look for can go a long way in getting the most out of your finds. Here are the basics to get you started.

know the lingo

Estate is simply a fancy moniker for “previously owned.” Estate jewelry can be further broken down into vintage and antique. Experts may quibble over the specific dates, but antique generally refers to pieces that are more than 100 years old, and vintage is anything newer. As with vintage clothing and antique furniture, there are specific subperiods that dictate the styles. According to Keith Austin of Austin’s Fine Jewelry in Las Cruces, Art Nouveau and Art Deco are two of the most sought after in the estate jewelry market. “Art Nouveau is very delicate and feminine, with intricate filigrees and beadwork,” Austin says. “Art Deco is associated with the styles of the 1920s and ’30s: bold, bright colors, geometric shapes, and patterns.” It works to your advantage to educate yourself on the time periods associated with estate jewelry since this plays into the value of the piece as well as the design.

bargain shopping

Opal and diamond watch with 14k gold band, $3,200, Jewel Gallery. Hammered gold and diamond cuff, $12,995, Jewel Gallery (top, right).


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Precious metals and gemstones are always good investments, and in addition to finding a truly unique piece, you can often get a great deal when you buy estate. “You can really find some treasures if you know what you are looking for,” says Medrano. “But be careful, especially at estate and garage sales. Sometimes even the seller doesn’t even know what they really have. ” Also buy conservatively at pawn shops and even at trade shows. Do your research and examine jewelry carefully for craftsmanship and authenticity. When in doubt consult a professional jeweler who specializes in estate jewelry. Consider gold rings, for instance. Susan Eisen, owner of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches, says that due to sizing adjustments, some have lost their karat marks. You can’t be sure of the purity unless you have it tested. Gemstones and diamonds should also be given extra careful consideration. Cracks and inclusions not visible to the naked or amateur eye

can still significantly affect the value. You may even run the risk of purchasing a fake stone. “Synthetic and imitation stones were being manufactured back in the late 1800s,” notes Eisen. “It’s a very big mistake to assume an emerald or ruby is real just because it is old.”

conversation pieces

The real fun in owning an estate piece is the story behind it. A skilled jewelry appraiser will usually be able to tell you something unique or interesting about a piece—how it was made or how someone may have used it a century ago. Austin uses a carved seashell to illustrate how cameos are carved, and he’ll often pull out his loupe (a magnifier) to explain the minute details that reflect the history of a certain piece. When jewelry has been passed down through a family, that story becomes even more personal and interesting. Eisen recommends having a goldsmith inspect all family heirlooms before wearing. “We make sure all the prongs are tight and the stones are properly set. If it’s been worn before, chances are good that it will have some wear and tear, so we can refurbish it as close as possible to its original condition.” If you own family jewelry that you just can’t imagine wearing, Eisen has a solution for that as well: “If you inherit something that is not really your taste, instead of selling something with personal meaning attached to it, we can redesign it into something that is more your style.” Estate jewelry can really make a statement, but to get the most out of your pieces, know exactly what you have and how to care for them. With a bit of research beforehand and local jewelry experts on hand for tips and advice, you can become your own expert regarding prized jewelry treasures.

resources Austin’s Fine Jewelry 575-525-3340 Jewel Gallery 915-845-7740

Clockwise from top: Six cameo bracelet, $3,000, Austin’s Fine Jewelry; 18k gold hand-painted portrait brooch with diamonds, $960, Austin’s Fine Jewelry; white gold and pearl necklace, $2,800, Austin’s Fine Jewelry; vintage yellow gold, garnet, and pearl necklace, $3,450 (with matching earrings), Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry; Art Nouveau gold and pearl brooch, $1,450, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry.

Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches 915-584-0022 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



Sterling silver charms from $25

7933 N. Mesa, Suite N • El Paso, TX 79932 Across from Sam’s Club • 915.584.1183 Monday–Saturday 10:00–6:00



live performance calendar June through August June 26 Curtis Grimes, 8 PM, State Line Bar-B-Q Sunland Park

June 23 Agüeybaná, 8:30 PM, White Sands National Monument

The majestic moonlit dunes at White Sands come alive with the music of the five-part Latin ensemble Agüeybaná. The band hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, performs as part of White Sands’s Full Moon Nights program which features a different band or performer every month.

State Line Bar-B-Q restaurant presents country music artist Curtis Grimes as part of their free summer music series. Grimes, a songwriter and self-taught guitar player, got his start opening for Kenney Chesney. He has also shared the stage with Toby Keith and appeared as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice.

June 28 Mark Chesnutt, 10 PM, Whiskey Dicks, El Paso

With more than 30 chart-topping songs in his repertoire, country music artist Mark Chesnutt puts on a not-to-be-missed live show. He takes the stage at El Paso’s famous Whiskey Dicks for one night only to perform favorites like “Bubba Shot the Juke Box,” “I Just Wanted You to Know,” and “Let it Rain.”

June 29 Incendio, 8 PM, Spencer Theater, Ruidoso

It’s no coincidence that incendio translates to “fire” in both Spanish and Italian. This band has been performing their energetic world fusion music for more than a decade, garnering a strong following on the West Coast. Incendio’s fiery instrumental numbers blend the passion of Latin guitar with flamenco, Middle Eastern, Celtic, rock, and jazz music styles. 82

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

July 20 The Hard Road Trio, 7 PM Rio Grande Theatre, Las Cruces

This Southwestern acoustic band mixes heartfelt vocals with the harmonious melodies of the mandolin, guitar, and bass. The Hard Road Trio headlines the KRWG fundraiser in their hometown of Las Cruces, along with guests Bill Evans, Nate Lee, and Tim May. or

July 4 Pop Goes the Fort, 7:30 PM Biggs Park, El Paso

July 25 & July 27 Music of ABBA— Arrival From Sweden July 25, 8 PM Spencer Theater, Ruidoso July 27, 8 PM Plaza Theatre, El Paso

The El Paso Symphony Orchestra honors our military heroes with a Fourth of July concert at Biggs Park at Fort Bliss. Conductor Andy Moran leads the orchestra in a rousing, patriotic music lineup followed by a spectacular fireworks display. This event is free and open to the general public.

The famed Swedish quartet ABBA comes alive in a spectacular live tribute show featuring megahits like “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia.” Catch the show in Ruidoso at the Spencer Theater, or at the Plaza Theater where they will be accompanied by the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. or

August 4 Dusty Low, 1 PM, Zin Valle Vineyards, Canutillo

It doesn’t get any better than live music and free wine tasting! Zin Valle Vineyards offers Free Music Sundays all summer long with El Paso favorites Dusty Low performing their fresh and original alt-country music the first weekend in August. Picnic baskets welcome. or

July 19 Joe Ely, 8 PM Spencer Theater, Ruidoso

Lubbock native Joe Ely has been touring the world for more than 40 years performing his eclectic mix of blues, folk, country, and rock music. Hear him play tunes from his latest album, Satisfied at Last, which he describes as the album of his life: “It reflects where I am and where I’ve been.”

August 10 Chubby Checker, 8 PM Spencer Theater, Ruidoso

In 1960, a dance craze called “The Twist” swept the nation. See the legendary Chubby Checker perform his hit live on the Spencer Theater stage along with “Let’s Twist Again,” “Pony Time,” and “Limbo Rock.” Checker, a rock phenomenon, has sold over 250 million records worldwide with a national chart life second only to Elvis. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM




by Joe Burgess


Hill Country A surprising wine destination in the heart of the Lone Star State


t’s no secret that most Texans love a good steak, but not all of them pair their beef with a frothy beer. The romantic Hill Country of Central Texas actually boasts one of the best wine regions in the country, second only to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, according to Orbitz Travel. The popular 30mile segment of Highway 290 between Johnson City and Fredricksburg is an easy day trip from either Austin or San Antonio, and both cities are less than a two-hour plane ride from the Borderland. A full spectrum of grape varieties is cultivated by the 30-some wineries of the Texas Hill Country, with the tempranillo and viognier grapes faring especially well in Texas soils. The wineries and vineyards themselves range from large-scale production houses to family-run sole proprietorships. Most offer tasting rooms and gift shops, open daily. Here’s a sampling of a few favorite wineries along the Texas Wine Trail.

At Becker Vineyards (top, inset), visit the gift shop and the special wine tasting and pairing cellar. Midnight Nymph (above) is a popular full-bodied blend from Torre di Pietra. 84

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Jenise and Ken Maxwell, Torre di Pietra Vineyards

Torre di Pietra Vineyards, just east of Fredericksburg, is owned by Ken and Jenise Maxwell. The couple met in a previous life while making semiconductor chips at Intel in Albuquerque; Ken proposed to Jenise on the plaza in Mesilla, New Mexico. The winemaking gene is in both of their families: Jenise is part of the Apodaca family, whose ancestors were growing grapes near El Paso as far back as 1755, while Ken’s Texas ancestors have been farming and making wine for over 100 years. Torre di Pietra Vineyards produces 10 popular grape varietals and blends with fun names like Midnight Nymph, Red Flirt, and Dirty Girl. The winery was the first in Texas to plant petite sirah grapes, as well as the first to include Spanish on their labels, and they are known for offering great live music on the grounds.

William Chris Vineyards’ event room overlooks an oak grove (above, right). Texas Hills Vineyard’s 2007 Kick Butt Cab (right) is an award winner.

Eco-friendly William Chris Vineyards in Hye, Texas, is owned and operated by William Blackmon and Chris Brundrett. They produce an award-winning Blanc du Bois, a white wine that’s 40 percent barrel-fermented in new French oak and 60 percent in stainless tanks. Their Artist Blend is a dinner wine, predominantly High Plains mourvèdre and tempranillo, which pairs well with Italian food and rich sauces. Says Blackmon, “Using small batch fermentation and old-world ‘by hand’ techniques, we can achieve a level of wine quality which is truly unique to Texas.”

Courtesy of Texas Hills Vineyard

Texas Hills Vineyard in Johnson City features Kick Butt Cab, a full-flavored cabernet sauvignon with a pleasant feel in the mouth. A charming patio overlooks the vineyard where you can enjoy a picnic lunch or try the artisan cheeses and crackers available in the tasting room. Texas Hills Vineyard produces about 16,000 cases per year and works 25–30 acres of grapes. It is owned by Gary and Kathy Gilstrap, who, along with their son Dale Rassett, personally manage the operation. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Where to stay

The Inn on Barons Creek has all the amenities of a resort and conference center, while the Sunday House Inn Fredericksburg is located in the middle of the downtown shopping area. Fredericksburg Inn & Suites is only a block from Main Street, situated on five acres with hot tub and pools. Luxuriously rustic cabins are the mainstay at Cotton Gin Village B&B.

Becker Vineyards, tucked into a tiny town called Stonewall, is probably Texas’s most successful winery. The 100,000-case operation is owned and managed by Dr. Richard and Bunny Becker and their sons, Will and Joe, and produces 14 varietals. The handcrafted, award-winning bordeaux, Burgundian, and Rhone-styled wines are perfect for fine or casual fare. Becker’s wines have been featured on the Fine Living Channel, served at The White House and James Beard House, and noted in Wine Spectator and Wine Business Monthly. Becker’s claret is rich and complex with essences of raspberries, chocolate, and spices, complementing lamb, burgers, or pheasant. The number one–selling Icon Cab is an easy-drinking wine with notes of black cherry and raspberry, great for pairing with ribeye and quail—the perfect wine for a hearty Texas dinner.

Where to eat

Cotton Gin Village also boasts an excellent fine dining restaurant, Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant. For a German experience, Altdorf Biergarten serves a memorable jäger schnitzel, and naturally, they have an excellent beer and wine selection. The Mediterranean Chicken at the Pink Pig is outstanding, as is the Tuxedo Cake dessert.

When to visit

Tuxedo Cake, The Pink Pig

April through June is the best time to see the famed Texas wildflowers in bloom. In late summer and early fall, plan your trip to include a grape stomp festival. Becker Vineyards, Texas Hills Vineyard, and Dry Comal Creek Vineyard host popular stomps. Check out for themed events and tours happening year-round, including the Texas Wine Month Trail in October and the Holiday Wine Trail in December.

What to know

Regulations concerning wine shipments vary from state to state. Be aware that you may be carrying some bottles home with you. The wineries can provide specific details on current shipping regulations.

Becker Vineyards utilizes 2,000 barrels and 64 tanks to produce their award-winning wines. They also grow lavender on the property to make their own lavender products (top left). 86

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Summer 2013 Advertisers 84 Lumber.........................................................................63 150 Sunset - Nursery.....................................................21 150 Sunset - Events Center........................................72 A-1 Kitchens by Sierra..................................................23 American Living.............................................................62 Aquarium Concepts......................................................51 Ardovino’s Desert Crossing......................................99 Austin’s Fine Jewelry.....................................................91 Bank 34..............................................................................44 Bella Vista..........................................................................45 Blooming Paradise.........................................................17 Border Solar......................................................................70 Builders Source................................inside front cover C & D Southwest Lumber Corp.............................30 CGN Designs..................................................................55 Classic New Mexico Homes........................................3 Closet Factory..................................................................34 Collectibles........................................................................43 COMAF............................................................................27 Connie Hines Interior Design.................................31 Copenhagen........................................................................4 Cost Plus Pools................................................................15 Crown Heritage Homes..............................................50 Designs by L.L. Power & Associates.......................10 Diemer Building & Remodeling................................7

EF Building Materials..................................................27 El Paso Association of Builders...inside back cover El Paso Cosmetic Surgery Center...........................75 El Paso Electric................................................................16 El Paso Varicose Vein Laser Clinic.........................75 Ferguson Supply..............................................................11 Greenery Restaurant.....................................................95 Guzman’s Color Your World....................................30 Habitat for Humanity...................................................34 Hacienda Carpet & Tile.............................................26 HPS Audio and Video.................................................35 Jewel Gallery.....................................................................81 Johnny’s Septic.................................................................30 Las Cruces Awning Co...................................................1 Magic Bistro.....................................................................99 McCormick Architects................................................52 Millenium Homes..........................................................54 Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio.....................................41 Nash Patio & Garden...................................back cover Nuovo Cappetto’s..........................................................94 Opus World Bistro........................................................95 Outdoor Fire Concepts...............................................19 Paradise Pools...................................................................14 Persian Rug Gallery.......................................................43 Piazza Escondida............................................................73

Piedras Mundiales Design Center...........................54 Plaster Queen..................................................................35 Pointe Homes..................................................................71 Punto Living Homes........................................................5 Rawson Building Supply..............................................55 Renovus..............................................................................19 Sandy Messer & Associates...........................................9 Santana Custom Homes.............................................53 Sherwood Fine Wood Designs.................................41 Silver Springs Pools & Spa..........................................16 Southwestern Home Products.................................43 Spencer Theater..............................................................80 Stained Glass Design & Gallery...............................42 Stenner Custom Pergolas............................................19 Stout Hardwood Floor Co., Inc...............................23 Sunwest Woodworks....................................................70 Team Juan Uribe...............................................................6 The Lodge Resort & Spa............................................87 The Patio............................................................................15 The State Line.................................................................95 Torres Welding................................................................14 Toucan Market.................................................................94 Vanities...............................................................................81 Westside Lighting Gallery..........................................42 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



Music City With roots that run deep, country music still reigns

in Nashville

by Rodney Gross Photographs courtesy Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp


ashville may be the home of country music, but it wasn’t always that way. The Fisk Jubilee Singers were Nashville’s earliest musical emissaries. When the gospel choir traveled to Europe in 1873, an impressed Queen Victoria proclaimed the group was clearly from “a musical city.” Over the next decades, classical musicians contributed to the Ryman Auditorium’s reputation as a musical marvel, while in 1947, Nashville scored its first millionselling record with Francis Craig’s big band standard “Near You.” Today, the city is also home to the gospel and contemporary Christian music industries. And yet it is the country genre that is most strongly identified with the place an English queen inadvertently nicknamed “Music City.” The specific phrasing of the term is attributed to radio announcer David Cobb on 50,000-watt behemoth WSM. This station arguably contributed to Nashville’s reputation as a music hub more than any other single factor. Way back in 1925, a long-running Saturday night music show, originally called the WSM Barn Dance,


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Above, top: The Shelby Bridge serves as the backdrop for a live Fourth of July concert and celebration in Nashville. Above: Country star Keith Urban.

proved to be especially popular with rural listeners who were able to pick up the station’s powerful signal. Later they would journey into the city to see Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, and Roy Acuff perform in what was eventually renamed The Grand Ole Opry. Thus Nashville became an entertainment destination; today it draws some 11 million visitors every year. Depending on one’s point of view, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum can impress as both architecturally striking and downright bizarre. It contains an amazing array of artifacts, tributes, and folk music lessons that music lovers of any stripe will likely agree are worth the price of admission. The Museum recommends that you allow two hours to fully appreciate your visit and an extra hour if you want to take in the Historic RCA Studio B tour (where Elvis Presley and other notables recorded) on Music Row. The Ryman Auditorium, just a few blocks away from the Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville, is the former home of the Opry. It was built in the 1890s as an evangelical tabernacle. The building’s excellent acoustics, however, soon established it as the premier concert hall in the region. Opera star Enrico Caruso performed at the Ryman in 1919; Johnny Cash’s TV show was produced there in the late 1960s; and in 2012, Mumford & Sons took the stage. The Opry moved to the Ryman in 1943 and remained until 1974. The Ryman is still a performance venue, but also serves as a living museum and a testament to the generations of actors, musicians, and lecturers that have graced its stage.

Clockwise from top left: The Walk of Fame leading to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; RCA Studio B on Music Row, where Elvis recorded Blue Christmas; the Ryman Auditorium, open daily for tours as well as performances; floor-to-ceiling gold records in the Country Music Hall of Fame.



Anne Hornyak

Guest lineups at the Grand Ole Opry are likely to include veterans like Little Jimmy Dickens or Loretta Lynn, as well as contemporary stars like Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood.

Above: A six-foot circle of wood taken from the Opry’s original home, the Ryman Auditorium, marks center stage at the Grand Ole Opry House. Country Music Hall of Famer Little Jimmy Dickens (above, top), now 92, still performs with the Opry in that same historic space where he and hundreds of other country music legends and contemporary artists have stood.

Today, Grand Ole Opry performances are held at the Grand Ole Opry House, the cornerstone of a vast shopping and hospitality complex east of downtown Nashville. When planning your visit, note that the show that broadcasts live on WSM, cable television, and satellite radio occurs on Saturday nights, but there are additional shows on Tuesday and Friday evenings. The guest lineups can be found on the Opry’s website ( the week of the show, but any given evening is likely to include veteran performers like Little Jimmy Dickens and Loretta Lynn, as well as contemporary radio and TV stars like Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood. If you can stay for several days, take the time to sample the honky-tonks and nightlife on Lower Broadway and Second Avenue. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a legendary bar that was accessible to Opry stars via the alleyway between its back door and the Ryman Auditorium. Willie Nelson is said to have gotten his first writing job there. That classic country vibe runs all the way down Nashville’s main downtown artery to Robert’s Western World, Bluegrass Inn, Second Fiddle, and others. 90

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Turn left up Second Avenue for access to more contemporary venues such as the Hard Rock Cafe, B.B. King Blues Club, and that vast modern dance club, the Wildhorse Saloon. At the other end of the rowdiness spectrum, check out the legendary Bluebird Cafe where nearly every songwriter in town has taken the stage to try out new material at one point or another. This involves a ride uptown (as well as reservations), and you will be expected to sit quietly and attentively during performances at the Bluebird. Here, it’s all about the writing. Several major airlines, including Southwest, offer service from El Paso to Nashville. Devoted country music fans might want to plan their visit around CMA Week in June. Currently a rash of hotel construction is going on in Nashville, so look for competitive pricing on rates and packages in the months ahead. Always remember: Stars abound in Nashville, so while you’re there, keep your eyes peeled and your autograph book handy; you never know who you might run into!

Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp 800-657-6910

Southwestern homes

The inspiration doesn’t stop here! Visit, click on the El Paso & Southern New Mexico edition, and see everything we couldn’t quite fit in the magazine—more photos, recipes, resources, and ideas to make your home and life beautiful!

Summer exclusive online content includes: Extra photos of the stunning feature homes in this and previous issues More advice from the pros at Stout Wood Floor Co. about how to keep reclaimed wood floors in tip-top shape Organic gardening tips and advice from Joe Nathan The complete list of recipes from our outdoor Tuscan luncheon menu A great dessert from Ardovino’s Desert Crossing and more wine pairing tips with Marina Ardovino and Vic Poulos

Coming up in the Autumn issue of

Authentic Mexican style in El Paso’s Upper Valley, home libraries, an ultra-contemporary home on the Westside, fire pits and bowls to light up your backyard, and high-tech automation systems for the home.



Su Cocina

by John Vollertsen Photographs by Jesse Ramirez

hostess with the mostest Jill’s Party Tip #1: “A theme tells you how all the other parts of the party will come together.”


n our fast-paced world of drive-throughs and come-as-youare get-togethers, the art of entertaining seems in danger of dying out. At parties, would-be revelers face bowls of storebought guacamole and reheated mini-quiches bought in bulk. Hosts seem to be giving less forethought to planning their parties, and Martha Stewart types are few and far between. Happily, a couple of savvy El Paso merrymakers still delight in pulling out the stops for their guests with themed and thoughtfully planned events. Jill Leavitt is that hostess. Her fashionable home, tucked on a ridge in the Franklin Mountains overlooking the Sun City, is the perfect setting for a variety of fetes, from intimate dinner parties for six to pre-theater cocktail parties for 40. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Leavitt on a few occasions where we combined a cooking class theme with fabulous food, bracing cocktails, and festive celebration. A return visit to Leavitt’s lair proved to be a crash course in the fading art of efficacious party-planning.


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

A well-stocked bar is a must for a good party, says El Paso interior designer Jill Leavitt.

Jill’s Party Tip #2: “The guest list is vital; mix it up and invite a broad range of people.”

Leavitt uses fine ingredients like tequila blanco, agave syrup, and fresh lime juice in her signature cocktails.

Leavitt’s gift for putting together fun affairs stems from her interior design business, Spangler & Spangler, Inc. Growing up in Houston with a mom who liked to throw a great party herself prepared Leavitt for her social future. “I went to the Art Institute of Houston and achieved a BBA in design,” the glamorous gal recalls. “That led me to opening my business there that included an antique store. Many of the things I used to decorate this house came from my store in Houston.” Leavitt’s knack for style and panache is evident in the colorful décor. The open kitchen/living room holds center court with two patios that spill out from the living room; one leads to the pool and the other to an outside bar and lounge. There are a variety of outdoor seating areas, some cozy and some with spectacular views. Leavitt’s hubby is an ER doctor at Las Palmas Hospital. “Lewis and I were married in 2000, and when he found the job here in 2006 we started looking for a house,” she says. “I stayed behind in Houston, but when our realtor, Sue Woo, showed my husband this house, Lewis immediately knew I would love it. He put in an offer on the spot. We did do some cosmetic changes as the house was all beige and pretty dull. I brought in furnishings from El Paso Import Company, Gump’s San Francisco, The Pink Store in Palomas, and Seret & Sons in Santa Fe.” The kitchen is a burst of color: Burnt orange and mustard set off the handsome granite tile, alder wood cupboards, and the stainless GE Profile appliance package. Deep sinks and a five-burner stove are perfect for easy party cookery and cleanup—the ideal setup for a couple who love to entertain.

Jill’s Party Tip #3: “Create a special cocktail for the evening, a welcoming drink that sets the mood.”

“When we moved here we didn’t know anyone, but Sue introduced me to people, and I became involved with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and the El Dedon Verde Garden Club,” Leavitt says. That’s when the entertaining began. Over the preparation and sampling of a delicious recipe for avocado hummus, I asked Leavitt to share what she considered the most important facets of successful party planning. She had a ready list. “I always start with a theme,” she says. “It tells you how all the other parts of the party will come together. It can be a holiday theme—New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays to throw a party for—or it might be an ethnic or seasonal theme. “Music is very important. I always put together a playlist on my iPod and have it ready to play. The guest list is vital; I like to mix it up and invite a broad range of people who are not necessarily in the same field. It’s imperative to tell people how to dress so that someone doesn’t show up in a T-shirt and flip-flops when everyone else is dressed up—or visa-versa. I always bring in fresh flowers which I think shows you consider your party and your friends to be special. “I always create a special cocktail for the evening, a welcoming drink that sets the mood,” Leavitt continues. “A well-stocked bar is important, too. Even lighting can affect the feel; we had dimmers installed on every switch so I can control the atmosphere. I always do table decorations, and many of my cabinets are stuffed with knickknacks to create with.” Does Lewis help with the party planning? “He just shows up,” Leavitt says with a laugh. “One time he came home from work, and I had the place decorated. He had forgotten there were guests on the way. He does like to play bartender, and he invented some wild drinks for a girls’ night I hosted.” Leavitt even started a blog, stellasroar, to chronicle her celebrations. It’s a terrific source for party ideas and recipes created by a party girl with a passion for enchanting soirees and fun shindigs—Holly Golightly for the modern age. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Avocado Hummus with Toasted Pita Chips Makes 1½ cups hummus and 24 chips For the Hummus: 2 cloves garlic 1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1 avocado, halved, pitted 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons fruity olive oil 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil Kosher salt Olive oil for drizzling For the Chips: Three 7" pitas 2 tablespoons olive oil Kosher salt Ground chipotle chile Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add parsley leaves and process until minced. Add chickpeas, avocado, lemon juice, oils, and salt; process until smooth, 1–2 minutes, scraping the side of the bowl. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Brush both sides of the pitas with oil and cut into wedges. Arrange wedges on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and chipotle, and bake until golden, 5–7 minutes. Serve with the hummus.


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Dried hibiscus flowers are a fun twist on the traditional margarita garnish. A sprinkling of chipotle gives the pita chips an extra kick (opposite).

Jamaica (Hibiscus) Margaritas Makes 1 margarita 1 hibiscus tea bag 1 lime slice Âź cup tequila blanco 2 tablespoons agave syrup 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice Dried hibiscus flowers for garnish Steep 1 hibiscus tea bag or 1 teaspoon dried hibiscus flowers with 4 ounces hot water for 10 minutes. Discard tea bag and let tea cool. Combine tequila, agave syrup, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a glass prepared with salt (optional). Gently spoon tea over margarita. Garnish with lime slice and dried hibiscus flowers.



Su Cocina

tastes �


by Bob Skolnick Photographs by Jesse Ramirez


Serve an intimate Italian summer lunch alfresco in your own backyard

� MENU � Mixed Green Salad with Vine Ripened Tomatoes Shrimp and Cannellini Bean Salad Panzanella (Bread and Tomato Salad) Citrus Salad with Oil and Vinegar Bruschetta di Prosciutto and Fontina Penne with Marinara Sauce Chicken and Sausage Skewers 96

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

When Tuscany, Italy, comes to mind, it’s often with visions of charming stone villas dotting idyllic hillsides covered in sunflowers. Flowering vines adorn trellises beneath which friends eat and laugh around long tables, much like a scene from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. And on the table? Simple, fresh dishes and bottles of delicious red and white vino. Tuscan cuisine is known for coupling natural, locally grown ingredients with a legacy of family recipes passed down from generation to generation. Central Italy may be a bit of a hop from here, but with the right menu and wine list, a sunny afternoon in the picturesque Southwest is an adequate substitute. Taking a much deserved mini-vacation is as easy as gathering a group of close friends, setting an alfresco table, and serving refreshing, traditional Tuscan fare. Here are a few recipes and recommended wine selections to get you started.

Shrimp and Cannellini Bean Salad Serves 6 3 cups cooked cannellini or white northern beans, drained 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon black pepper ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 4 garlic cloves, crushed 30 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 1½ cups canned Roma tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and medium-chopped 2 cups fresh spinach, minced 1 bay leaf 1 head Bibb lettuce Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the salt, pepper, chopped basil, and parsley. Gently mix so as not to crush the beans. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan at medium-high heat, and cook the garlic cloves until browned. Remove the garlic and set aside. Add the shrimp to the garlic-flavored olive oil and sauté until just firm. Add the tomatoes and spinach and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Gently incorporate the shrimp, spinach, and tomatoes into the bean mixture; refrigerate overnight. To serve, spoon the bean and shrimp salad over a platter lined with Bibb lettuce.

Bruschetta di Prosciutto and Fontina Serves 6 2 loaves crusty Italian bread 18 medium brown mushrooms, sliced thick 1 cup melted clarified butter seasoned with onion powder 24 fresh basil leaves 8 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced 8 oz Fontina cheese, thinly sliced 12 sprigs fresh oregano

Presentation is important when entertaining. Line serving platters with crisp lettuce leaves and garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs to make dishes stand out.

Cut the Italian bread loaves in half, then into 12 open-faced slices, each about 6" long. Sauté the sliced mushrooms in a tablespoon of the clarified butter until tender but firm; set aside. Brush the 12 bread slices with the remaining clarified onion butter and place under the broiler until lightly browned on both sides. Place 2 fresh basil leaves and 4 mushroom slices on each slice. Cover the bread with sliced prosciutto and top with several slices of the Fontina cheese. Place under the broiler to crisp the prosciutto and melt the cheese. Garnish with fresh oregano sprigs. Serve immediately on a warm platter. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Chicken and Sausage Skewers Serves 6 1 cup extra virgin olive oil ½ cup red wine vinegar 6 garlic cloves, minced 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped ½ cup fresh sage leaves, shredded 1 tablespoon black pepper 1 teaspoon sea salt 12 skewers 1 cup red wine 2½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2" pieces 1½ lbs fresh Italian sausage 8 oz prosciutto, sliced 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, whole Wondra flour

thighs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the fresh Italian sausage into 2" pieces. Remove chicken from marinade and wrap each piece of chicken with a strip of prosciutto. Using the skewers, prepare 12 brochettes, alternating a piece of prosciuttowrapped chicken with a piece of fresh Italian sausage. Place brochettes in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and then brown quickly on a gas grill to crisp the sausage and chicken. Strain the marinade. Bring the marinade and the red wine to a rapid boil and then slightly thicken with Wondra flour. To serve, place the cooked brochettes on a serving platter and spoon the thickened sauce over. Garnish with the fresh rosemary sprigs.

Combine the oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, sage, black pepper, and salt into a marinade. Mix well and pour over the cut chicken

Skewers are great for an outdoor lunch on the patio. These include chicken, Italian sausage, and prosciutto, making them perfect with a red or white wine.


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Tuscan cuisine is known for coupling natural, locally grown ingredients with a legacy of family recipes passed down from generation to generation.

ADC-SuCasa-Spring2013-ThirdPg.indd 1

10/23/2012 1:09:07 PM

Villa Antinori Wines Wines from Tuscany’s own Villa Antinori pair nicely with an Italian-themed lunch. The Antinori family has produced world-famous wines for more than 600 years. Current matriarchs Albiera, Alessia, and Allegra are Villa Antinori’s first women winemakers in 26 generations. For a full-bodied red, try Antinori Villa Toscana 2009. This wine is ruby red in color with intense aromas of ripe cherries, spice, and chocolates, along with hints of mint. Antinori Villa Toscana White 2010 is a very drinkable and refreshingly fruity chardonnay. It has a good balance of fresh lemon and melon character, a perfect choice for warm sunny occasions on the terrace. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Su Cocina


by Jessica Muncrief Photographs by Bill Faulkner


Marina Ardovino and Vic Poulos talk food and wine pairings

If you secretly think wine selection is a bit intimidating, you aren’t alone. Should you always serve red with beef? Will a dessert wine overpower a delicate sweet treat? And what the heck goes with salad, anyway? Marina Ardovino, co-owner of Ardovino’s Desert Crossing restaurant in Sunland Park, selected a locally inspired menu and got together with wine expert Victor Poulos (who, in addition to being a practicing attorney, is also the proprietor of Zin Valle Vineyards in Canutillo) to pair wines with each of the four courses. Together, they offer some interesting—and sometimes surprising—insight into the intricacies of food and wine pairing.


The Food: Herbed Goat Cheese Broiled herbed chèvre with roasted red and gold bell peppers In addition to bringing creative and locally minded ideas about Italian cuisine to Ardovino’s, Chef Apolo Salazar also brought this savory appetizer. An acquaintance dining in the restaurant specifically requested the broiled goat cheese Salazar had once made for him. When a number of nearby diners demanded a taste also, the dish was permanently added to the menu. The chèvre (pronounced “shev-reh,” meaning “fresh artisan goat cheese”) is from Lone Star Farm Fresh Goat Cheeses, produced right in the heart of Texas with 100 percent fresh goat’s milk. This cheese is made the old-fashioned way, hand-ladled and with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. Salazar says this dish is perfect with the fresh-baked bread they serve from El Paso’s own Belle Sucre Bakery.

The Wine: Kim Crawford, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2012


The Food: Blue Cheese Salad

“Sauvignon blanc goes hand-in-glove with goat cheese,” notes Ardovino. Poulos wholeheartedly agrees. “Sauvignon blanc is standard for a dish like this. It’s a somewhat zesty wine, which is a good balance with goat cheese. I chose this wine because it’s from Marlborough— New Zealand’s version of Napa Valley. For the money, it’s a great wine. It has very citrusy and tropical notes which balance well with the red and gold peppers in this particular dish.”

Bibb lettuce with Maytag blue cheese vinaigrette, seasoned walnuts, heirloom tomatoes, and Serrano ham “This is our take on the traditional wedge salad, with a little European influence,” says Salazar. The fresh heirloom tomatoes are especially ripe and flavorful in the warm summer months, and along with the crisp Bibb lettuce, they come straight from the organic farms of Preferred Produce in Deming, New Mexico. The European influence is the delicately shaved Serrano ham draped atop the crisp lettuce wedges. 100

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

The Wine: Vina Gormaz, Tempranillo, 2010 While light dishes like salads tend to pair well with whites, Ardovino and Poulos decided to mix it up, opting for a red tempranillo instead. “Spanish wines in general sell really well in this market, and they are typically budget-friendly,” says Ardovino. “This particular tempranillo is lighter than a typical red; it is still a salad after all.” “Spanish ham calls for a red, Spanish wine,” Poulos adds, “and anything from the Ribera del Duero region is good. It works well with the Serrano on this salad, but really it mixes well with anything Spanish, like tapas or paella. It holds up well with spicy foods because instead of cutting through the flavor, it balances it out.”


The Food: Hawaiian Opah Grilled opah served over local beet risotto, pickled asparagus, and candied beets “Opah is meatier than the flaky, oily fishes. It cuts like a steak and lends a lot better to grilling,” says Chef Salazar. Locally sourced beets from Mountain View Market Co-Op in Las Cruces also take a starring role, used as flavoring in a colorful risotto and as a sweet topping to this otherwise savory plate. “The beets are amazingly sweet,” says Salazar. “People think of beets as being sharp or tangy tasting, but straight from the farm, they are like sugar.”

The Wines: Goldeneye, Pinot Noir, 2009 and Inama Vin Soave, Soave Classico, 2011 Ardovino and Poulos couldn’t decide between a white and a red for the entrée, so they went with both. “We did a white and a red because people always think of whites with fish, and although whites do go very well with seafood, reds can complement nicely as well,” explains Ardovino. Since the fish was grilled and served with a creamy risotto, the Goldeneye pinot can stand up to it, explains Poulos: “It’s light enough to pair with fish, but still a bold pinot. The flavors are black cherry with hints of raspberry. For the white, we selected the soave because it’s not as fullbodied as a chardonnay, not as oaky. I particularly like the soave because it’s an alternative that many people may not be aware of. It was really popular in the 1960s and ’70s, and it’s making a comeback. It’s from the Verona region of Italy and is a classic pairing with meatier fish.” SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Su Cocina

by R. Monroe

Local specialty food stores offer intriguing food for thought—and table


nspired by food blogs and encouraged by programs on the Food Network, today’s home cooks are growing increasingly experimental with their recipe choices. While previous generations of Americans grew up with Meatloaf Mondays, the modern family is more likely to eat Moroccan on Monday and Thai on Tuesday. But there’s one catch: Innovative meal planning often requires hard-tofind ingredients such as exotic spices and unusual vegetables that aren’t readily available at your average grocery store. Fortunately for residents of the El Paso/Las Cruces region, there are several small but wellstocked markets catering to cooks who are excited to try something a little different. From gourmet to market-fresh, organic to international, there’s a store out there that can fulfill your culinary needs. East El Paso’s Wan Jia Le (9501 Gateway W) is one of the area’s several Asian markets. Wan Jia Le’s frozen section offers a selection of premade snacks, including potstickers, dumplings, and buns stuffed with everything from red bean paste to taro strips. A large, bubbling Mountain View Market Co-op sells a variety of organic herb and vegetable plants for your home garden.

tank in the back of the store stocks live periwinkles, small edible sea snails. Produce options are limited; the smart thing to do here is to stock up on staples such as chili oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, dried mushrooms, and an infinite variety of noodles (including soba, rice stick, udon, egg, and shirataki). Over on the Westside, Jerusalem International Market (5360 N Mesa) tempts hungry shoppers with its attached restaurant, the Jerusalem Grill, which offers Middle Eastern favorites in a casual café environment. Once you’ve gotten rid of those pesky hunger pangs, browse through Jerusalem’s aisles for lentils and other staples. Bulk spices and spice mixes—everything from cardamom to quince seeds to sour grape powder—provide the necessary seasonings for Mediterranean-inspired meals. Jerusalem’s dairy section features three different kinds of labneh (yogurt cheese) nestled alongside halloumi, Bulgarian feta, and something called “Istanbolli white cheese.” For dessert, try halvah, a crumbly-sweet sesame confection that Jerusalem sells in vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio flavors. Just one mile farther south on Mesa Street, RV Grocery (4700 N Mesa) is another unassuming strip mall storefront with treasures inside. RV focuses on ingredients and supplies from the Indian subcontinent, although it also features a small section of West African foods. The main attraction here is 102

S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Jessica Muncrief; Courtesy of Pro’s Ranch Market

It’s always a fiesta at the colorful Pro’s Ranch Market, with three locations in this area.

While previous generations grew up with Meatloaf Mondays, the modern American family is more likely to eat Moroccan on Monday and Thai on Tuesday.

Middle Eastern flavors abound at Jerusalem International Market.

Jesse Ramirez

A wide variety of artisan breads, meats, and cheeses are always in stock at Toucan Market, along with more than 600 wines from around the world.

Joe Burgess

Searching for an unusual herb or spice? You may just find it at Wan Jia Le in El Paso.

Courtesy of Wan Jia Le

the spice blends, which allow home cooks to whip up an authentically seasoned baingan bharta or chana masala. There’s madras curry powder in a beautiful green tin, and an intriguing produce selection which the average cook will probably have no idea what to do with (but will probably enjoy speculating about). Snake gourds, anyone? If you’re daunted by all those unfamiliar spices, sign up for RV’s Indian cooking classes to get some guidance. Unsurprisingly, El Paso and Las Cruces boast a wealth of markets serving the area’s Mexican community (as well as those who just like to cook Mexican food). A favorite is the gigantic Pro’s Ranch Market (see for various locations), something of a megastore featuring everything from hot tortillas to Mexican candy to every agua fresca you could imagine. Rows of shiny apples, oranges, onions, and mangoes make the store’s produce aisle an especially colorful spot; less mouth-watering is the calf’s head on display in the butcher area (but to each his own!). Cooks aiming for healthier, more planet-friendly plates may also find themselves stymied in average

grocery emporiums; in that case, try Las Cruces’s Mountain View Market Co-op (1300 El Paseo). Here, the bulk section is a big draw—you can fill bags with everything from amaranth to quinoa, much of it organic. The Mountain View’s produce area is stocked with locally grown, inseason vegetables, many of them from the co-op’s own pesticide-free farm in the Mesilla Valley. Also in Las Cruces, Toucan Market (1700 E University) sells local and regional produce—more than half of it organic—as well as cheeses, wines, grocery items, and meats. The smell of fresh-baked bread wafts through the store, tempting customers to take home a crusty European-style loaf. And since all of Toucan’s breads are made with unbleached, unbromated flour, it’s difficult to say no! Don’t be afraid to step out of your culinary comfort zone. With a kitchen full of global ingredients, you can make every meal feel like a world tour. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Dream On

earth, air, fire, water

Silver Springs Pool & Spa 915-875-0290


S U C A S A S U M M E R 2013

Bill Faulkner

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, owner of Silver Springs Pool & Spa, brought all of the elements together in his own backyard. He gifted this Upper Valley home to his wife, Lorena, for her birthday, fulfilling her long-held dream of remodeling a home to make it their own. While Lorena worked on the interiors, Juan Carlos created a backyard his whole family, including two teenagers, would enjoy. The sprawling, multi-tiered expanse includes a full outdoor kitchen, a 60-foot lap pool, spouting water features, and a waterslide winding through the lush foliage. Overlooking it all is this serene reflecting pool surrounding a crackling fire pit.

Su Casa Magazine El Paso & Southern New Mexico Summer 2013 Digital Edition  

Su Casa Magazine El Paso & Southern New Mexico Summer 2013 Digital Edition

Su Casa Magazine El Paso & Southern New Mexico Summer 2013 Digital Edition  

Su Casa Magazine El Paso & Southern New Mexico Summer 2013 Digital Edition