Page 1

dialing in home automation

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

inspiration ideas resources

the heat is on:

shiny and new an El Paso home goes mod

fire features

custom fit classic Southwest style in Las Cruces

Vol. 1 no. 4 AUTUMN 2013

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

inspiration ideas resources



32 shiny and new

A dated El Paso residence is transformed into a colorful and dramatic contemporary work of art.

42 picked by hand

From choosing furniture to planting the orange trees that are their home’s namesake, every member of the family helped design La Casa de los Naranjos.

52 happy accidents

While rebuilding their home, a family encounters some surprises along the way—most of them quite pleasant.

62 custom fit

Veteran Las Cruces home builders Wayne and Kiki Suggs finally design their own distinctive Pueblo-style dream home.

62 Vol. 1 no. 4 AUTUMN 2013

in every issue

6 Inside Su Casa

Design & Quality for Generations

8 Life+Style Southwest Planting the right trees for an explosion of fall colors, fire features heat up backyards, Steve Thomas shares his love of small homes, the latest in home automation, celebrating emerald—Pantone’s color of the year—and more. 28 Design Studio

Woodworker Sidney Williamson uses traditional methods and a bit of technology.

70 Su Libro

A flower arranging “cookbook” and inspiration for designing your kitchen.

78 History El Paso’s Sunset Heights Historic District’s annual home and landmark tour.

80 Vida Buena Bo Rattay, EPSO’s new conductor, is searching for a place to call home.

82 Live Performance Calendar

Happenings around El Paso and Las Cruces this fall, plus an exclusive interview with Jon Jones of country music’s Eli Young Band.

Custom Design & Build for Each Home

86 Travel Arizona’s ancient Canyon de Chelly and the wild side of Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

94 Su Cocina A holiday baking smorgasbord, brewing the perfect cup of coffee, and the easiest way to fill a basket with fresh produce.

104 Dream On An elegant kitchen combines beautiful accents with over-the-top appliances. On the cover: The dining table in this ultra-modern El Paso home is a work of art in itself. Read all about the home on page 32.


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


Inside Su Casa

a strong connection


Bruce Adams Publisher


he pink light of morning and sunset glow on the Franklin Mountains serve as constant reminders of the uniqueness of this area. In a country where many communities and homes all look the same, we have something very special here in El Paso and Southern New Mexico that distinguishes us from the rest of the United States. The area’s distinctiveness is not just limited to its stunning natural beauty; our climate, flora, cuisine, and design sensibilities all speak to a place that is one-of-a-kind. So much is connected to our culture—with influences from both sides of the border. It’s a culture that encourages creativity, embracing what is new and contemporary while respecting that which is old and traditional. Whether making beautiful santeros or incorporating stonework into outdoor fireplaces, our local artisans espouse the qualities that are unique to this region. It’s intriguing the many creative ways in which architects, builders, and homeowners have created homes that make a connection to this place. Practically every single home in Su Casa features beautiful views, certainly, but the connection goes beyond that. In this issue, we are featuring homes that connect with this area in a variety of fascinating ways. Reclaimed old wood has become an integral part of one home while innovative landscaping and a sustainable design makes careful use of water. In all cases, local artisans and craftspeople, drawing upon their knowledge of this place, have created something special for each homeowner. Dramatic outdoor fire features are perfect for our climate; we use our pools year-round. When you build, remodel, redecorate, or alter your home, keep in mind the uniqueness of El Paso and Southern New Mexico and the many options you have that others in the country do not. Other areas of the country don’t have the views, climate, or magic that we know of this area. They also don’t have our amazing local talent—probably our most cherished and unique asset. Our culture here is so special. I encourage you to welcome it into your home.

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

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 Tiffany Etterling, Cheryl Fallstead, Gary Guzman Cassie McClure, R. Monroe, Julieta Rios Benjamin Roussey, Tom Ruggiero, Bud Russo Linda Skolnick, Steve Thomas Lead Graphic Designer Sybil Watson Designer & Media Specialist Michelle Odom Photography Cheryl Fallstead, Bill Faulkner Kelly McGinley, Alfredo Miranda, Jesse Ramirez Bud Russo, Rudy Torres

For advertising information contact: office 915-581-2300 mobile 575-649-8340 mobile 915-603-8434 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 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

fire and ice

Paradise Pools, 915-591-8819, Winton/Flair Custom Home Builders, 915-584-8629,


SU C A S A A u t u m n 2013

Tony Skarlatos

When Winton/Flair Homes approached pool designer Joe Beechler about sprucing up a challenging backyard, he delivered with a design he dubbed “Fire and Ice” —the ice being the glittering mosaic tiles lining the spa. A pool was out of the question; the home was built on a rocky slope that ran right up to the base of the home. Beechler compromised with a soaking spa surrounded by sleek privacy walls. The spa can be heated when temperatures drop, and in the heat of the summer it’s always ready and waiting for a cool dip. With the push of a button, ambient flames spring up around the base of the wall from what at first glance looks like a simple bench. “The best part about designing fire features,” says Beechler, “is figuring out how to disguise the element so it’s not seen for what it is until the flames come to life.” See page 16 for more exciting fire feature ideas.


SU C A S A A u t u m n 2013

Life+Style Southwest

Courtesy of Monrovia

by Gary Guzman

the colors of fall

Transform your landscape with the seasons by planting trees


ool crisp nights, warm days, and beautiful fall colors all around—what a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors. Trees in particular will provide those vivid, eye-catching colors that make the season so inviting. Ever wonder why trees turn colors in the fall? It’s because as the days get shorter and the trees are exposed to less light, less of the chlorophyll that creates bright green color is produced, allowing the colorful pigments beneath to become visible to the eye. Many tree varieties that are tried and true in our desert climate offer striking hues of yellow, orange, gold, red,


S U C A S A A u t u m n 2013

purple, burgundy, and just about every shade in between. Fall is still a great time to plant trees, and in some cases it’s actually the best time. Weather conditions are ideal for putting minimal stress on new trees. Little or no wind, cooler nights, warm days, warm soil, and hopefully a little rain—these all contribute to an excellent recipe for planting success. Some tree varieties, like the Chinese pistache and the crape myrtle, will vary from tree to tree in terms of what color they will blush. So if you have a specific color in mind, purchase a tree after the leaves have already begun to change so you can be sure of the hues you’re getting.

Other trees are a bit more typical in their fall coloring. The raywood ash will change to a maroon, almost resembling a purple leaf plum tree. The red oak (no surprise here) turns bright or dark red. The cottonless cottonwood blushes into a golden yellow, while the goldenrain tree morphs into a deep yellowish orange. For burgundy mixed with a little green, try the flowering pear tree. The flame leaf sumac ignites into a bright orange-red hue. Keep in mind that the autumn colors of these trees are dependent upon a slow and gradual cooldown. Sometimes, when high summer temps linger well into the fall season, plants have little time to get into fall mode. This can unfortunately lead to little or no fall color when the temperatures abruptly drop. If you don’t see the vibrant colors you’re looking for one year, just be patient; you’ll likely see them the next. As with all plantings, give thought to type of soil, watering habits, fertilizer, and location. These all have an effect on the final look of trees before winter removes the leaves. Remember that a good feeding program that includes an iron supplement throughout the spring and summer growing season will help unleash the full potential for a beautiful fall show. As a rule, if you have deep green leaves during the summer months, you can usually expect brighter fall colors as well—that is, if you avoid feeding too late into the season. Feeding or watering too much and too late into the season can keep your trees in growing mode. As you reduce water and fertilizer, you’ll help to stop the production of chlorophyll and gently guide your plants into their winter slumber. It is best to keep the soil just moist as long as there is a chill in the air, but don’t let leaves go limp from under-watering. After a hard freeze, all trees should receive water every 10 to 14 days. Less water will be needed for fully established plantings, more for newer transplants. Want some color in your yard? It seems counterintuitive, but a little less care in the fall season should leave you with the brilliant show you’ve been awaiting.

“The Difference between Ordinary and Extraordinary is that little Extra”

Crape myrtle trees vary from white to deep orange to blushing pink (right). You can ensure getting the right color by choosing one for planting when the leaves have already begun to change.

Gary Guzman

In the fall, little or no wind, cooler nights, warm days, warm soil, and hopefully a little rain all contribute to an excellent recipe for planting success.

resources Color Your World Garden Center 575-521-0496

550 S. Mesa Hills Drive, Ste. D2 El Paso, Texas 79912 P. 915.533.2288 F. 915.533.2280 M CARC H C O NS T RU C TI O N, LL C



Life+Style Southwest

by Jessica Muncrief

no green thumb required Potted cacti are a novice gardener’s best friend


f you can’t seem to keep houseplants alive longer than a few weeks, don’t resign yourself to plastic plants just yet. Take a look out your window: The Southwestern desert is teeming with plants thriving in a harsh environment that, as we all well know, endures punishing sun and gets very little rain. In your own backyard, forgo exotic flora for potted cacti. These prickly wonders come in an array of sculptural shapes, sizes, and colors, and, best of all, they don’t require much TLC. “What’s great about putting cacti in pots is that if we have severe weather, like the winter freezes we’ve experienced the past few years, you can just move them inside,” says Jimmy Zabriskie, who owns Robledo Vida Nursery with his partner, Marcy Scott. Robledo Vista has built its business around “native, adaptable, and resource-efficient” plants. Their nursery in the northern Mesilla Valley is by appointment only, but you’ll find them several days a week outside the Mountain View Market Co-op and every Wednesday and Saturday at the Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market. Robledo Vista Nursery offers a great selection of native plants, cacti, and succulents.

Fortunately, potting cacti isn’t that complicated. The bulk of attention you’ll be giving your potted cacti will be in the beginning; once they’re settled in, they pretty much take care of themselves. When asked about their top tips for potting cacti, both Scott and Zabriskie quickly note the importance of good potting soil. Cacti need quality dirt that drains well. “We make our own potting soil by mixing perlite with an all-purpose soil,” notes Scott, “but you can also find bagged mixes designed for cacti and succulents at any garden center.” The worst thing you can do to cacti is overwater. By their nature, these plants retain water, making them highly susceptible to root rot. Adequate drainage is a must. Plastic and glazed pots will work, but since, as Zabriskie notes, “these don’t breathe as much as terra cotta,” be sure your pots have some holes on the bottom. Most varieties need watering just once a week, but scale that back even further in the winter months. When the temperature drops, root rot is even more of a concern. “Most go dormant in the winter. They only need a little water about once a month,” says Scott. Ultimately, it’s easier to bring back a cactus that has been under-watered than to save one that’s had too much. Once your cacti have been potted, you can pretty much sit back and enjoy them, but be sure to keep an eye out for things like discoloration or bleaching; the pots may need to be moved to a less sunny spot. On the other hand, if the cactus starts etiolating—bending towards the direction of the sun—it’s craving a bit more solar power. All cacti need repotting at some point, but only once every year or so. You’ll know it’s time when the cactus starts pushing itself up out of the pot or you see roots poking out through the drainage holes. For maximum results with minimal effort, plus a lot of natural Southwestern style to boot, potting cacti is the way to go. 14

S U C A S A A u t u m n 2013

Bill Faulkner

“If we have severe weather, like the winter freezes we’ve experienced the past few years, you can just move potted cacti inside.”—Jimmy Zabriskie

Jessica Muncrief

Keeping your cacti in tip-top shape is as easy as choosing the right pot and using a good potting soil specifically made for cacti and succulents.

Robledo Vista Nursery 575-541-8083, 915-203-4385

Life+Style Southwest

by Jessica Muncrief

the heat is on

The latest trend in outdoor design has homeowners all fired up

Courtesy of Outdoor Fire Concepts


Bill Faulkner

Silver Springs Pool and Spa lit up this ultra-modern El Paso home with fire bowls and torches.

hen temperatures start to dip low, the party doesn’t necessarily have to move indoors. The demand for outdoor fire features is hotter than ever. And why not? Fire packs a three-punch: heat, light, and ambience. “Everyone should have one,” says George Ocampo of 150 Sunset in El Paso. “Fire, especially combined with water, is enthralling. It’s exotic. It takes people to another place.” In a recent survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, 97 percent of respondents rated backyard fire pits and fireplaces as popular features for 2013. As the market continues to heat up, fire features are getting more convenient, more personalized, and a whole lot more modern. For the ultimate in expediency and atmosphere, natural gas is the only way to go, says Ocampo. Gas fire features burn clean and hot, without emitting the choking smoke and messy ash of their wood counterparts. For safety reasons, a professional needs to do the installation, but once in place, gas fire features are virtually maintenance-free, requiring only an occasional debris sweep by the homeowner.

Using flaming bowls with decorative rocks or sleek troughs (left, top), Pat Klohr of Outdoor Fire Concepts often adds spouting water features to his fire designs. 16 16

SSUUCCAASSAA A u t u m n 2013

Tony Skarlatos

The owner of this El Paso home often hosts live music acts on the stage at the far end of the pool. George Ocampo of 150 Sunset incorporated a cozy fire pit for guests to gather around while they enjoy the show.

Courtesy of Outdoor Fire Concepts

Fire glass is available in almost every shape and color, including rocks that look like diamonds and gemstones. That’s some serious bling. Going for gas also paves the way for one of the hottest trends in the industry: automation. “More and more people want their fire elements to be easy and convenient to start up,” says Pat Klohr of Outdoor Fire Concepts in Las Cruces. “You can literally just flip a switch, just like turning on your porch light.” Taking it a step further, Klohr says the big trend now is to pull out an iPhone or smartphone and fire everything up from a distance. “It’s huge in California and Florida, and we can expect to start seeing it more and more in this area as well.” With that much modern technology in play, it should come as no surprise that style and design possibilities are wide open, and most industry experts say customizing fire features to homeowners’ tastes is their top concern. “I first work with the homeowner to create a connection between the outdoor rooms and the inside of the home,” says El Paso landscape designer Mark Nash. “If the home is Southwest in style, flagstone provides a synergist appeal. For more traditional stucco or brick houses, I might use brick as the basic theme.” Bottom line: There’s no need to limit the imagination. Circular fire pits are the most budgetfriendly, notes Ocampo, but if that’s too standard, custom pits can be constructed in almost any SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


shape and size. Don’t think you have the space? Klohr has created elements that take up as little as a 3 x 3' area. Is a built-in element too much of a commitment? High-end patio furniture lines like OW Lee and Agio incorporate fire pits right into tables. Standard pits can even be spruced up with stainless steel fire rings bent into shapes. Just imagine flames shooting up in the shape of a star, a heart, or the family monogram. For that extra element of personalization, fire feature fillers are just as varied. Popular options include river rock, ceramic logs, lava rock, and fire glass, but Ken Scholten of Embers in El Paso is quick to note that not just any filler is safe. “River rock is common,” he says, “but you can’t just use regular river rock because it will explode. Talk to a professional and find a filler specifically designed for safe use in fire pits and fire features.” A professional will also turn you on to the latest and greatest in filler designs. Klohr recommends large, round cannonballs for modern and contemporary homes that play up simple, geometric shapes. Fire glass, he says, is available in almost every shape and color, including rocks that look like diamonds and gemstones. That’s some serious bling. Forget the old adage that says you shouldn’t play with fire. Modern advancements make it safe and fun to stoke the flames with unparalleled personalization. Get friends and family together and gather ’round, because outdoor enjoyment in the Southwest lasts well past the heat of summer.

Courtesy of OW Lee

OW Lee offers patio furniture sets with fire features built right in. Cannonball fillers are a modern alternative to the standard river rock.


S U C A S A A u t u m n 2013

Jordan Ocampo

By adding dramatic water and fire elements to this outdoor entertaining bar, George Ocampo changed the feel of the entire space.



Bill Faulkner

From outdoor fireplaces to fire pits, landscape designer Mark Nash always incorporates spots for guests to get away.

resources 150 Sunset 915-585-0801 Blooming Paradise 915-549-7352 Cost Plus Pools 915-494-7285 Embers 915-833-1452 Homecrete 915-503-1930 Nash Patio & Garden 915-587-6000 Outdoor Fire Concepts 575-647-5840 Paradise Pools 915-591-8819 Silver Springs Pool and Spa 915-875-0290 The Patio 915-533-1198











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 Steve Thomas

small is beautiful Efficient, functional footprints encourage better craftsmanship

“Luxury” is a small, perfectly designed and furnished house I can clean in 15 minutes and live in all winter with almost no heating bill.


trend I’ve been watching for a decade has finally come home: Small, simple, energy-efficient houses are hip! According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home will be 2,152 square feet by 2015—down 10 percent in size from homes built after late 2010—but I’m seeing a sub-trend toward even smaller, super-energy-efficient homes. What’s interesting is that the two biggest demographic groups, the boomers and their kids—the Generation Y millennials—share an interest in small, netzero (or near-net-zero) homes. We used to build big because it was cheaper per square foot to do so and because the buoyant real estate market rewarded raw square footage and lots of features. We were convinced we had to have a formal dining room, formal living room, four en suite bedrooms, and a great room. But as we boomers watched the real estate market crash and our 401(k)s shrink, all while contemplating the possibility of working less and traveling more, we thought: “If

ship and great precision. Plumb level and square reads instantly to the eye (unless the house is an adobe, then the rules are different), and cabinetry and built-ins are used to excellent effect. Furnishing and decorating a small space must be done with precision as well, using fewer pieces of high quality versus many pieces of lower quality. We’re conditioned to think of luxury as proportional to the size of a space and the amount of stuff that’s in it. But for me, luxury is a small, perfectly designed and furnished house I can clean in 15 minutes and live in all winter with almost no heating bill. Getting back to my sushi reference, a small house is like a Japanese bento box: simple and elegant, with delicious and perfectly placed preparations in every rectangle. Small spaces are about editing and simplifying, not about elaborating and adding on. Most good design professionals, builders, and decorators will relish the challenge!

build or buy their own homes. When I showed my son a rendering of a 1,300-square-foot superenergy-efficient house I wanted to build, he exclaimed, “That’s what I want!” Small attracted him, as did the possibility of having no energy bills. Like father, like son. This 1,500-square-foot home is LEED Platinum certified. Built Building small is not easy, howwith efficiency in mind, the home’s open floor plan makes its ever. To get all the functionality smaller footprint feel roomy and comfortable. out of a tight footprint requires intense design. This is where a good architect or designer will really earn their fee. You can’t paper over design flaws with extra square footage. And building small does not mean building cheap. The reason large houses are less expensive per square foot is that the extra footage is empty—the highly designed and engineered spaces like kitchens and bathrooms are relatively expensive, so adding raw square footage in the form of family rooms, bonus rooms, and future space rooms is relatively cheap. Think of that extra square footage as empty calories. With a small house there are no empty calories—it’s all lean beef. Maybe sushi. As a carpenter, I find the challenges of building a small house exciting. To really sing, small spaces demand high craftsman-

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


S U C A S A A U T U M N 2013

Douglas Merriam

we don’t need the space, why pay to build, heat, cool, and maintain it?” At the same time, our kids (the millennials), began planning for such time when they could get good jobs, move out of our basements, and

Life+Style Southwest

by Tiffany Etterling

dialing it in

Smartphones take home automation to a new level


Running late for your own party? Have music, mood lighting, and the ideal temperature set before you even walk in the door. 24

S U C A S A A U T U M N 2013

“Vacation Mode” offers the convenience of taking care of business from afar, while CCTVs and hidden cameras allow parents to keep an eye on babysitters or teenagers left home alone. while the owner is away. Need to monitor what’s going on inside the home from afar? An automated home can also include CCTVs (closed-circuit TVs) or hidden cameras—features, says Gonzalez, that are extremely popular with parents who want to keep an eye on babysitters or teenagers left home alone. The best and easiest time to begin planning home automation is during the design stages of a new build. HPS works with customers during the pre-wiring design phase to ensure the correct components are wired into the home for current automation needs as well as possible future desires. “We tell our customers to leave the wires ready even if they don’t plan to do automation now,” says Gonzalez. While owners may not see the need for certain functions today, it’s much more difficult to come back and add features down the road if they aren’t already wired into the home. Owners of existing homes needn’t fret, however—home automation is still an option. Adding automated controls to most features can be as simple as replacing wall switches to

Courtesy of Crestron and Blackberry

he advent of the TV remote control in the 1950s began a wireless revolution in the electronics industry. Today, just about any device that’s plugged into an electrical outlet can be automated and controlled by a computer or mobile device, says Rafael Gonzalez, owner of El Paso’s HPS Audio & Video. While home automation in itself isn’t new, the smartphone is transforming the industry. Gonzalez says that where once automatic home functions like lighting, HVAC, sound, home theater systems, window coverings, appliances, and door locks had to be controlled on-site— via a traditional remote control, laptop, or desktop computer—those features can now be controlled using a smart device, literally from anywhere in the world. Crestron, one of the leading names in home automation technology, provides interface with a variety of features using a free app downloadable on nearly any smart device including iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, and Blackberry. Automation is especially popular with clients concerned with conservation and energy efficiency, notes Gonzalez. Energy-consuming features like lighting, heating and cooling, the water heater, and other appliances, can be automatically programmed to shut off during certain times of the day to conserve energy. Likewise, automated sprinkler controls sense when it’s raining to conserve water. Convenience, however, is the major bonus. Gonzalez recently automated nearly 20 window coverings in an El Paso home, increasing both the speed and the ease of opening. “Vacation Mode” offers the convenience of hitting that button to automate the home

Whether in your car or a restaurant, you have the power to keep tabs on your home.

communicate with the remote app. It’s not difficult, says Gonzalez, but it is more expensive than integrating smart-wiring into the home’s original design. So how much does this type of technology really cost? Well, that depends on the size of the home and the features desired. Smart-wiring starts as low as $5,000, but costs can add up quickly. “For many people this is like a hobby,” Gonzalez says. “You can easily spend over $100,000 automating your home.” After installation, HPS assists customers in programming the functions into their smartphone app, and all buttons are completely customizable. “Just tell us what you expect when you push that button, and we’ll make it happen,” says Gonzalez, who recommends that automated home systems be maintained at least once a year to ensure the manufacturer’s firmware is up-to-date. Cameras may also need to be cleaned and dusted periodically due to dust and rain. Home automation is not without some minor risks. Gonzalez says with any wireless system there’s a chance of interference from other wireless devices, but it’s a minor issue. Hacking is a bigger concern; HPS can install a secure firewall to keep hackers out and increase the security and privacy of the system. While almost anything in the home can be automated, there are a few things that HPS can’t control. “There are customers who ask me to add a button to control their spouse, but I just can’t do that,” laughs Gonzalez. At least not yet. HPS Audio & Video 915-772-3311

Life+Style Southwest

old and new

by Jessica Muncrief

Reclaimed wood finds new life as art and contemporary décor makes its mark in El Paso

Local architect Edward McCormick decorated his personal home with sculptural vases from Dekora (above).


S U C A S A A U T U M N 2013

art is where you find it After retiring from the daily grind, Sherwood (aka Woody) and Peggy Hoffman spent the better part of a decade traveling the continent in their RV, visiting friends and showcasing their art at shows and conventions. When they finally decided to semisettle down, they chose Las Cruces as the location for both their home and Hoffman Studios. Woody, whose original passion is film photography, found himself disinterested in relearning his craft when everything went digital. Having previously dabbled in woodworking, he turned his focus there and discovered a love of “turning” wood. In a cozy, one-man workshop, Woody gracefully transforms random pieces of wood into bowls, vases, and other hollow forms. He finds material wherever and whenever he can: an acacia tree killed in the hard freeze a few years ago, a Chinese pistache cut down during the revitalization of downtown Las Cruces. He takes care to allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine through, but often incorporates intricate touches like bits of turquoise picked up from a mine in Arizona or delicate bands of aluminum. His pieces are on display at Main Street Gallery in Las Cruces and Divino Diamonds and Jewels in Santa Fe. Peggy found her niche in oil paints; she’s been putting brush to canvas for most of her life. She draws inspiration from nature and old buildings, many of which she’s happened upon during their extensive travels. She says she’ll often coax Woody into taking a photograph which she’ll then bring back to her easel; her window-filled studio overlooks the entire Mesilla Valley. “I usually start with a photo, but ultimately my pieces are collaborations between the photo, what I’ve seen, and what I feel,” she says. Studio viewings are by appointment only, but on a nice weekend day, the Hoffmans might be found at the Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market sharing their personal creations.

Bill Faulkner; Courtesy of Global Views

modern love Proof that El Paso is embracing modern style can be found at Dekora, a design store in the Century Plaza on Mesa Street. It’s a small space tucked into the back corner of the shopping center, and it’s jam-packed with goodies—mirrors, vases, clocks, art, throw pillows, even a few pieces of furniture—all in what owner Sandra Diaz calls a mix of modern, contemporary, and transitional styles. Diaz and her husband Alex Martinez opened the store almost three years ago after relocating from Mexico. Martinez was involved in the furniture business, and Diaz was a kindergarten teacher with a love of interior design. Besides unusual décor, what Dekora offers over large chain stores is a personalized experience. Most days you’ll find Diaz working at her desk in the back of the store, helping customers choose just the right mirror or dining table centerpiece in between emails. Prices are reasonable, and the owners aim to ensure customers are completely satisfied with their purchases. For gifts or design projects, it’s worth stopping in; something sparkly is bound to catch your eye.

Sherwood Hoffman

Peggy Hoffman found her inspiration for this oil painting in Taos. Husband Woody formed a vase from a piece of California buckeye (above).

Dekora 5857 N. Mesa, El Paso 915-581-2908 Hoffman Studios 575-644-4210 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Design Studio

by Cassie McClure Photographs by Bill Faulkner

spiraling innovation

Sidney Williamson enhances his art with a touch of technology

Williamson’s projects, like this pergola, include intricate detail work.


S U C A S A A utumn 2013


riving through downtown Las Cruces, you’re likely to notice the massive, spiraling cast concrete columns supporting the shade pergolas along Main Street. Residents looking to add this same design element to their homes can turn to Sidney Williamson, owner of woodworking company Spirals By Design, who built the molds used to create the distinctive Main Street columns. Williamson comes from an engineering career and holds patents for his work with scales. But the business he founded in 2000 started with a simple hobby. Using a self-made hand crank, Williamson enjoyed carving large, wooden wall clocks and chains. After one session of tinkering, he realized that the pieces of wood looked a bit like springs. Refined a bit more, they became inherently beautiful spirals, which he fashioned into plant stands for his friends. Through word of mouth, he eventually caught the eye of a contractor who asked Williamson the questions that became the turning point: How big could he make these? Could he make one eight inches wide and eight feet high? A short while later, Williamson handed over two

“I love a challenge; that’s what keeps me going. Any design I could think of, I could probably create it.” —Sidney Williamson columns for a front porch, quickly followed by two more for a fireplace, three more for a bar, and more used for balusters. As his work became more popular, especially with contractors for new homes, Williamson realized he needed to move on from the hand-crank carver, so he designed and welded a machine about the length and height of a midsized sedan. With this, Williamson was able to create much larger and more intricate works, such as massive decorative ceiling beams, pergolas, and a current project featuring etched Mayan symbols. “I love a challenge; that’s what keeps me going,” says Williamson. “Any design I could think of, I could probably create it.” Each design he creates is scanned and entered into a computer program written by Williamson himself. While the machine works automatically after the initial programming, Williamson still does the sanding and detailing by hand. Even when working with larger pieces, he works alone, using a forklift to place the heavy wood into his machine. Toward the beginning of his carving career, a friend issued Williamson one of his biggest challenges: Could he make a spiral within another spiral? “A month later, I came back with it,” says Williamson. Today that piece sits in his showroom, where it appears one tree is woven inside another. “It’s not easy to do, and there is some hand work after, but if you know the feel of the machine, you can handle whatever wood you’re cutting.” Williamson enjoys collaborating on the ideas customers bring to him and remembers many projects that gained new depth once clients actually

The Spirals By Design showroom (above, top) is filled with examples of the many designs Williamson can produce for use in virtually any project, such as shade pergolas and fireplace surrounds (above).

Word word word word word word word word word word word word continued on page 84 word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word word.



Life+Style Southwest

by Jessica Muncrief

emerald city Lively, daring, and bold, this year it’s all about emerald. Color authority Pantone named this jazzy green the color of the year for 2013. Normally hard to find, emerald is popping up throughout the fashion, design, and décor worlds. Feeling trendy? Look for big, dramatic focal pieces or just add smaller elements here and there. Here are some of our favorite emerald finds on the market now.

Century Furniture Consul Chest A rich malachite finish updates the classic style of Century’s consul chest. Constructed of maple solids and maple burl veneer, this sturdy bureau brings a touch of royal elegance to any room.

WAC Lighting Couture Pendant Light High style comes to light with this mouthblown Venetian glass pendant lamp. Strips of colored glass are hand-cut and handapplied by Italy’s finest glass craftsmen. The pendant can be canopy-mounted or attached to a track or rail system. $420, Designer’s Mart,

$5,569, Charlotte’s

Daltile Sonterra Collection Give personality to kitchen backsplashes, showers, and pools with one of the hottest trends in the design world: mosaic tiles. These 1 x 1" iridescent emerald tiles are ideal for adding a little shimmer and a pop of color without going overboard. Price upon request, Hacienda Carpet & Tile

BlueStar Gas Range and Cooktop “The BlueStar is one of the best ranges on the market. It will last forever,” says Jose Nunez of Builders Source Appliance Gallery. This top-of-theline cooktop features 22,000 BTU burners and an innovative design that ensures all the energy goes straight into the pots and pans without losing any heat around the edges. Prices start at $6,220, Builders Source Appliance Gallery, 30

S U C A S A A utumn 2013

MarthaCelebrations Cupcake Liners and Decorative Picks Make your next party one to remember with Martha Stewart’s newest line of party decorations, exclusively at JCPenney. From garlands and balloons to cupcake wrappers and candles, Martha has it all in fun color themes like indigo, lemon, ice white, cotton candy, and sweetgrass (shown here). $10, JCPenney,

Global Views Glass Forest Bottles Fans of contemporary design will love these sculptural glass bottles. The deep green base is highlighted with luminous yellow and lime green hues that really come alive in the sunlight. Available in three sizes. $49–$125, Dekora, 915-581-2908

shiny and new

Contemporary style makes for comfortable living


S U C A S A A utum n 2013

by R. Monroe Photographs by Rudy Torres


George Ocampo of 150 Sunset partnered with Pat Klohr of Outdoor Fire Concepts to redesign and update an existing fire pit to match the modern feel of the home. Nash Patio & Garden added water features and an easy-to-maintain landscape.

hree-foot-tall numbers on a white exterior brick wall practically shout this El Paso home’s address. Made of a translucent resin, the bright indigo blue house numbers hint at the contemporary style within: a recurring theme of simple white walls and clean, contemporary lines underscoring bold accents and unusual décor. But the artsy, modern spaces didn’t always look this way. “It all started when my husband wanted to upgrade our rear-projection television screen to a flat-screen model,” says the homeowner, who worked with designer Don Waters of Waters Design Group on what would become a comprehensive remodel. “The next thing you know, we were knocking down all the walls, taking out the insulation, and installing entirely new systems. The house was literally a shell. We moved out for 16 months!” In the end, though, the upheaval was worth it. “It was kind of like getting a new house,” she says happily. The dramatic renovation was necessary to align the house both aesthetically and practically with the homeowners’ wishes, Waters says. “I always like to work the canvas, so to speak, of the home itself—the walls, the lights, the way it functions—before I’ll even touch the interior.” That includes examining (and reconceiving) everything from architectural plans to landscaping. “The canvas has to be prepared to accept a great interior,” he explains. “Otherwise, you might end up with beautiful things in rooms that just don’t work.” To that end, Waters focused on creating a home with a colorful, contemporary style and cutting-edge international influences that reflect the owners’ personalities. To open up space in the living room/kitchen area, Waters incorporated part of the home’s patio into the new interior plan, enabling flow from room to room. Large windows bring the outside in, making the patio feel like a part of the interior. Getting the space just right required innovative thinking and creative use of materials. Luckily, as the homeowner says, “Don loves challenges—nothing we suggested was too ‘out there’ for him.” A fireplace serves as the central focus of the main living area, but in


33 33

the house’s previous iteration, it reached all the way up to the ceiling, dominating the room. In order to make the room feel more spacious, Waters replaced it with a rectangular ventless fireplace, which is eco-friendly and helps open up the space. The fireplace is framed with patterned gypsum panels, providing a pedestal of sorts for a large glass sculpture that the homeowners acquired in Italy. This is a house where details count, where even the smallest things—the lights in the hallway, the doors on the kitchen cabinets—were chosen with an eye to the overall aesthetic vision. Much of the furniture and cabinetry was custom built, including the master bedroom’s geometric headboard (which Waters designed himself). A state-ofthe-art smart system allows lights, music, and temperature to be controlled remotely. Eco-friendly features include the ventless fireplaces, a tankless water heater, and sustainable materials throughout. Although the home contains products and materials that Waters discovered all over the world, it’s the high-quality craftsmanship of El Paso artisans that brings it all together. A gorgeous blue agate countertop and sink highlights one bathroom. Waters first spied the material at a design show in Las Vegas and realized it would be perfect for the spa-inspired bathroom in this home. Through his sources, he tracked down the fabricators, who were based in Israel, and commissioned a countertop custom-designed for the

Suede chairs and vibrant abstract art make an eye-catching bar. With its geometric pattern, the dining table is a piece of art in itself (right).

This is a house where details count, where even the smallest things were chosen with an eye to the overall aesthetic vision.


S U C A S A A utum n 2013

The homeowner’s love of color livens this table setting design. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows unify the space with the patio.



home. While the countertop’s materials may have exotic origins, its cantilevered base was designed by Waters and built by artisans in El Paso, like many of the home’s custom features. “They also did the mirror work and tile work in the bathroom,” says Waters. “We have incredibly talented artists in El Paso and Juarez—people who are at the top of their trade.” The international and the local come together in the home’s artwork as well. Throughout the home, glass sculptures collected during the homeowners’ travels to places like Ecuador, New Zealand, and Italy reveal pride of place, while the home’s outdoor spaces are dotted with flower-like glass garden lights made by El Paso artist Tori Scott. Powered by solar energy, they lend the outdoor spaces a hint of whimsy and color; coordinated with the smart system, the outdoor lights flicker on at sunset, while the interior lights change color at the push of a button. All these details add up to a home that looks like no other. “What counts in interiors is working hard to create a unique space,” Waters says. “That’s why we work to transform spaces in a holistic way, from the landscaping to the architecture to the design aspects. When things are conceived as a unit, they meld properly together. When you have clients like [these homeowners] who have the confidence to explore and the creativity to participate, you end up with a wonderful home that they truly enjoy.” The sultry, streamlined living room (below) boasts contemporary furniture and another ventless fireplace. Renee Iglesias designed the sleek and polished kitchen (opposite, top).

An eco-friendly, gypsum-paneled fireplace displays a glass sculpture bought in Italy. Flames ignite with the push of a button.

“We have incredibly talented artists in El Paso and Juarez—people who are at the top of their trade.” —Don Waters


S U C A S A A utum n 2013

Each piece in the home, from the sculptural lighting fixtures to the ultra-modern sofas and chairs, was carefully selected with an overall vision in mind.



Elements like a sunburst light in the hall, a silver vessel sink in the bathroom (right), and a rectangular patterned suede and wood headboard (below) create unique visual effects.


S U C A S A A utum n 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




resources Interior Design Don Waters Waters Design Group 915-231-9975 Builder Cole Thomas Homes 915-443-5275 Appliances and Fixtures Ferguson 915-231-5836 Audio/Video HPS Audio & Video 915-772-3311 Cabinetry Sunland Carpentry 575-589-2396 Countertops The Stone Center by Piedras Mundiales 915-760-4160 Doors and Windows Window Concepts 915-584-0266 Entry Door Artistic Entryways 575-589-0281 Fire Pits & Solar Lights Outdoor Fire Concepts 575-647-5840 Sunlit Creations 150 Sunset 915-585-0801 Furnishings Cantoni Landscaping Nash Patio & Garden 915-587-6000 Outdoor Kitchen Western Wholesale Supply 915-778-3086 Stone and Tile Robert Porras 915-241-1130 Window Shades Southwestern Home Products 915-771-0044


S U C A S A A utum n 2013

Editor’s Find

basking in the


an Exclusive Builder

Changing a space’s ambience doesn’t require huge expense or complicated mechanics. Think small: light bulb small. Update candelabras, chandeliers, and sconces simply by swapping standard light bulbs for silk-wrapped (also referred to as satin-wrapped or spun-thread) decorative bulbs. The delicate threads encasing the bulbs promise a warmer, elongated glow. They simulate the feel of vintage gas lamps, and frankly, they’re just prettier than the basic glass bulb. “Try one in your chandelier side-byside with a standard bulb, and you’ll never go back,” promises Shirley Geschwin of Westside Lighting Gallery. Westside carries the silk-wrapped bulbs in amber and frost tones. Westside Lighting Gallery 5375 S Desert, El Paso 915-585-3000

for Exclusive Living


Grisel Ortega | 915-491-2056 |

picked by hand Every member of the family put their stamp on La Casa de los Naranjos


S U C A S A A u t u m n 2013

by Julieta Rios Photographs by Bill Faulkner


espite blazing hot summer days, temperatures can drop pretty low in the desert—not exactly the tropical conditions necessary for growing orange trees. But when Sergio Ortega moved his family from Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, he was determined that their new home showcase his love for the citrus fruit. He brought in two trees—after traveling all the way to Phoenix to hand-select them—and planted them in the backyard of their newly built Upper Valley home. Thus was christened La Casa de los Naranjos—The House of the Orange Trees.

starting from scratch

Although the orange trees require some maintenance—“They take a lot of work, and not only watering; I cover them when it’s cold or the weather is off so they don’t die,” says Sergio—they were the easiest part of the process of deciding on a new home. Finding a place to put down roots was a decidedly larger task. Sergio and his wife Dora, along with their three children, house-hunted for months without success. “Every day after school, they would pick me up, and we would go see different houses,” remembers Kassandra, Sergio and Dora’s teenage daughter. The few houses that might have been possibilities would have required major overhauls, and the family agreed that if they were going to take on such a big project, they should just start from scratch. Home tours were put aside, and builder interviews began. The third interview proved to be the charm. Luis Medina of MRQ Construction came on board to build the Ortegas’ dream house, a task not so easily accomplished, Dora admits. “We changed the floor plan multiple times,” she says, and the design and build ultimately took almost a full year to complete with Medina working diligently to make sure all the details were in order. “This project was a memorable experience because we really took care to make everything in the house in accordance with what they had been dreaming of as the family’s perfect home,” notes Medina. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Team Ortega

It took some time to figure out the specifics, but there’s no doubt this family knew exactly what it wanted. Even today, the Ortegas take pride in the process. “What we think makes our home special is that we hand-picked everything in this house and have placed it exactly where we want it. And every decision was made as a family,” says Sergio. “Everything” means everything—from appliances and furniture to artwork and all décor. The Ortegas readily admit that their tastes are a bit eclectic, describing their home as a mix of Mexican and Moroccan styles, with a bit of Spanish and Tuscan influence thrown in for good measure. “Nobody told us ‘buy this cross or that painting’; everything was handpicked by us. Yes, it’s a mix of styles, but it’s simply what we liked,” says Dora. “If we saw something we liked, we bought it, and we didn’t base it on whether one thing went with another. But in the end, everything turned out really pretty.” That ever-changing floor plan also managed to come together just right for this close-knit family. A grand dining room was passed over in favor of an informal nook right off the kitchen—“We never used the formal dining space in our former homes,” notes Dora—and the extra floor space went to a full entertaining bar for the parties and reunions the Ortegas love to host.


S U C A S A A u t u m n 2013

The Ortega family, from left: Dora, Kassandra, Sergio, Sr., and Sebastian with their fourlegged family members. Eldest son Sergio is away at school.

“We spend a lot of time together as a family, so it was important to have everything together,� says Dora, whose kitchen is right in the middle of the action. The grand entry sets the elegant tone for the entire home (above, left). A nook off the kitchen serves as both the formal and informal dining space (above). In the backyard, an elevated spa flows into a large lap pool (left).



Dora Ortega

The Ortegas personally selected all of the furniture and dĂŠcor, mostly from shops in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. 46

S U C A S A A u t u m n 2013

“We handpicked everything in this house and have placed it exactly where we want it. And every decision was made as a family.”—Sergio Ortega

The bedrooms, each with private baths, are located in a separate wing of the home, sectioned off from the main living areas by an ornate wrought iron gate. “It doesn’t lock or anything,” says Dora, “but it does give us our personal space”—and a little privacy during their fiestas. Dora’s kitchen, however, is right in the middle of the action. “We spend a lot of time together as a family, so it was important to have everything together,” says Dora, pointing out that the main family room and the swimming pool are both just steps away from the kitchen. “I like to see what’s happening with the family while I cook. I love that beautiful view I have of the swimming pool from the kitchen. And I love that whether the kids are watching TV or in the pool, I can be part of it from my kitchen.”

Muted citrus hues complement the natural stone used throughout the master bath. Palms and bubbling fountains lend an exotic feel to the property (above).



“My favorite part about the bar is the bottles,� jokes Sergio. Made from travertine stone with an underlit onyx countertop, the full bar is an entertainer’s dream.


S U C A S A A u t u m n 2013

four-season enjoyment

When the weather’s especially nice, and even sometimes when it’s not, the Ortegas head to their backyard oasis. Extra tall fences keep the family secluded from the outside world, while a covered patio is a mini living space all its own with a tiled fireplace, a built-in grill station, and a dining table for six. “We have a chimney in the gazebo so that we can enjoy it year-round, even in the cold winter months,” says Dora. One of Sergio’s beloved orange trees is planted right in the middle of the yard, while the other graces an entry courtyard. Both are still thriving, despite less-than-tropical conditions, and are just about ready to bear their first fruit. With a little cultivation, you really can have it all.

Thanks to the extra attention he gives them, Sergio’s orange trees (above)—the home’s namesake—are thriving in the desert climate.


49 49

Artist Myriam Montes dressed the master suite with a Venetian wall finish. Her work can be found in almost every room of the home.

resources Builder MRQ Construction 915-760-5771 Architect Enrique Martinez Audio/Video Home Theater Experts 915-594-0667 Cabinetry Dreevo Designs 915-820-9530 Countertops Stone House Granite and Marble 915-588-9842 Doors El Paso Wood Products 915-545-2974 Flooring–Wood Mario Lopez 915-630-4002 Flooring–Tile Emser Tile 915-633-9988

Landscaping and Pool Nieves Landscape 915-274-5741 Lighting City Light 915-533-6045 Murals and Wall Treatments Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio 915-861-0489 Plumbing Fixtures Ferguson 915-231-5836 Stonework The Stone Company 915-587-0578 Windows Pella 915-549-9899 Woodwork Lopez Trim 915-525-1678

happy accidents While rebuilding their El Paso home, a family encounters some pleasant surprises along the way


S U C A S A A utumn 2013

by Tiffany Etterling Photographs by Bill Faulkner


ost buyers consider two possibilities when searching for a custom home: Build a new home or remodel an existing one. For Ace and Michelle Lowery of El Paso, neither option seemed right. In thinking outside the box, they inadvertently stumbled into a less-often-considered genre: the existing home rebuild. The Lowerys had their dream neighborhood already picked out, but the family’s search for a home or even a build site they liked proved fruitless. After months of looking, an existing home went on the market, and although it wasn’t quite what they were looking for, the location was too good to pass up. “One of the main selling points was that my mom lives across the street,” says Michelle. “The neighborhood is great, and we just got a vibe when we walked into the house. We both just looked at each other and said, ‘This is it!’” The ranch-style home hadn’t been updated since it was first built in the 1970s, so it required more than a simple remodel. Trying to raise ceilings, doorways, and the roofline presented a huge challenge. Recognizing the

Michelle, Ace, and their three kids couldn’t be happier in their new home.



magnitude of the project, Ace and Michelle teamed up with El Paso new home builder Jim Pofahl of Cole Thomas Homes. “We felt like someone who was building new homes would have more experience than just remodeling,” says Michelle. Adds Ace: “Jim’s got a lot of design skills that I think a lot of contractors don’t have.” The Lowerys worked side-by-side with Pofahl throughout the project, reimagining, redesigning, and ultimately rebuilding their home. Michelle attributes the success of their endeavor to that three-way collaboration: “I think if you had removed any one part from the equation it would have been beautiful—just not what it is today,” she says. “We balanced each other very well.” The successful collaboration modernized a dated home, incorporating elements of Santa Barbara–Spanish, Tuscan, and Texas styles to 54

S U C A S A A utumn 2013

create a home style the trio calls “American Tuscan.” To design a home truly unique to the El Paso area, they started by importing materials. Limestone was purchased directly from a quarry in Austin, and cantera and travertine stone was brought in from Mexico. “You don’t see a lot of rough-sawn beams or limestone in El Paso homes,” notes Ace. While the home incorporates many unexpected features and materials, the doors transitioning from the breezeway to the back patio really set the tone of the home. “Everyone has an inspiration piece when they’re designing a home,” says Michelle. “My inspiration piece was these muntin doors. I saw doors like these when I was in college in Dallas, and I loved them.” Originally the Lowerys ordered standard-sized doors, but as they began framing, both Ace and

Kitchen cabinetry by Mark Kowalski features contrasting wood hues on the top and bottom. Details like the checkerpatterned backsplash and cross beams in the skylight make the home the family’s own.

“Everybody’s favorite part of the home is the cupola,” says Michelle. Part of the original dining room was transformed into a walk-in pantry; the Lowerys opted for this smaller dining space right in the hub of things. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


A breezeway opening onto the back porch lets in tons of fresh air and light. The bar in the background is half inside and half on the patio.

“Everyone has an inspiration piece when they’re designing a home. My inspiration piece was these muntin doors.” —Michelle Lowery


S U C A S A A utumn 2013

The homeowners and the builder modernized a dated home, incorporating elements of Santa Barbara–Spanish, Tuscan, and Texas styles to create a home style they call “American Tuscan.”

Michelle realized that 8' doors would completely change the house. Faced with a 50 percent restocking fee, they reluctantly decided to stick with the shorter doors. But in a pleasant twist of fate, the wrong doors arrived. Although it delayed construction, the mistake allowed them their 8' doors. “It was a huge blessing,” Michelle says. “They changed the look of this whole house.” Unquestionably one of the home’s design centerpieces, a brick cupola rises above the formal dining area. This distinctive feature opens up and brightens the dining room while also adding visual interest to the front facade of the home—but it too was not part of the initial plan. “Jim’s son, Cole, came by one day and said, ‘We need to do something in here—not just for the dining room but also for the outside of the house,’” Ace recalls. “It probably turned out to be the best architectural feature of the house.” Michelle, however, bestows that honor on her favorite room in the house: the kitchen. Designer Anne Steele helped with the floor planning, but the style of the kitchen can be attributed to



Wood flooring adds warmth to the unusally shaped master suite (below), which looks out to both the indoor and outdoor kitchen areas.

a single photo Michelle stumbled across on the Internet. “Ace and I looked at kitchens forever because we couldn’t find cabinetry that we liked,” says Michelle. “We probably looked at 2,000 pictures of different luxury kitchens.” The Lowerys finally came across a particular photo which they immediately knew was the one. The couple gave the photo to cabinetmaker Mark Kowalski of Las Cruces and asked him to replicate the design concept. “He totally blew us away,” Michelle says. “We had no idea how it would turn out, but he did it.” Through a bit of trial and error, the home eventually came together. Originally 4,300 square feet, the home now offers over 5,000 square feet for Ace, Michelle, and their three young children—Addison, Ryder, and Hattan—to enjoy. The Lowerys say they couldn’t be happier in their new home, a project three parts excellent planning and one part pure serendipity. THE MESI LLA V AL L EY’S




Leaders in ICF Concrete Homes Design Services Available Entire Home Remodels & Room Additions Lic. #22 522 58

S U C A S A A utumn 2013

The master bathroom was reworked several times, but in the end Michelle and Ace got everything on their wish list: a deep soaking tub, a spacious shower, and walk-in closets.



You Can Teach an Old House New Tricks!

resources Builder Cole Thomas Homes, 915-443-5275 Appliances and Fixtures Ferguson, 915-231-5836 Art and Accessories Art Masters, 915-833-3838 Audio/Video Home Theater Experts, 915-594-0667 Cabinetry Mark Kowalski Cutting Edge Industries, 575-644-4796 Countertops The Stone Center by Piedras Mundiales, 915-760-4160 Doors El Paso Wood Products, 915-545-2974 Entry Door Artistic Entryways, 575-589-0281 Flooring Wood Floors by Beto, 915-587-6005 Furnishings Charlotte’s, 915-581-1111 El Paso Rustics Ironwork Elite Design & Production 915-726-7582 Kitchen and Bath Layout Anne Steele Custom Interiors 915-581-2942 Landscaping Armendariz Landscaping 915-760-6618

Imagine the Possibilities

Stone and Tile Robert Porras 915-241-1130 Windows and Patio Doors Pella, 915-833-3066 60

S U C A S A A utumn 2013

Window Treatments Octavio’s Custom Drapery 915-598-7070

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



custom fit Veteran Las Cruces homebuilders Wayne and Kiki Suggs design their own dream home

The sprawling adobe, built on five acres of desert landscape, glows at night and offers 360-degree views of the Organ Mountains and the valley below.

62 62

UC CA ASSA AA Au uttumn umn 2013 2013 SSU


by Tiffany Etterling Photographs by Bill Faulkner

itting together in their new living room, Wayne and Kiki Suggs can’t help but smile as they describe the process of designing and building their sprawling Pueblo-style home in Las Cruces. With over 30 years of marriage behind them, and nearly as much experience building Southwestern houses for their company, Classic New Mexico Homes, the Suggses are an ideal husband-and-wife team. Kiki is an artist with a knack for integrating vintage and reclaimed finds into a home design; Wayne is a master craftsman with the skills to make a new home feel centuries old. After decades of building homes with others in mind, designing their own dream house was really pretty simple. “Kiki and I have the same taste,” explains Wayne. “We’ve been designing and building for so long that the design just came together really well.” They bided their time since purchasing the five-acre Talavera site in 2002, waiting for the perfect set of circumstances. “We’d been saving and looking and planning,” says Wayne. “And dreaming,” adds Kiki. After a decade of thinking about their fantasy home, the couple say it took less than a week to actually design it. After all, they’d spent years visiting small towns around New Mexico, touring historic homes in

that can be used to make breads, pizzas, and Dutch oven recipes. One could surmise that a home with so much incorporated history wouldn’t be as functional or efficient as a more modern build, but this marvel is a model of smart building. Woodworking craftsman Greg Duff, who builds nearly all the cabinetry for Classic New Mexico Homes’ projects, is an artist when it comes to making sturdy, new cabinets look beautifully aged. His touch is in every room of this home, and the Suggses admit a renewed appreciation for his talents. “Greg has built a lot of cabinets for our other clients,” says Wayne. “Everybody says how great they are, and we always thought they were beautiful. Now that we’re living here and actually use them, we see how well they work. They are just wonderful.” Photovoltaic panels and a graywater system allow for guilt-free living and working. The home also includes the office and shop where the duo works side-by-side to make the design magic happen for their customers. While many married couples wouldn’t survive working in such close proximity, Wayne and Kiki thrive on it. “We don’t always agree on everything, that’s for sure,” Kiki laughs, “but we have so much fun.”

the Mesilla Valley, and staying at historic B&Bs, all the while studying New Mexico architecture and gathering ideas. The home pays tribute to adobes traditionally built in the early 1900s. Authentic treasures can be found in every room. “We wanted the house to feel old, like it had been here for a long time,” says Kiki, who took care to finish out the details with a true vintage feel. The kitchen ceiling is constructed of whitewashed decking, a technique traditionally used in old homes to lighten up a room. Reclaimed hardware graces the cabinetry. The master bathroom was designed around an antique mirror cleverly converted into a door for a hidden linen closet. Many of the light fixtures are so old they still had cloth wiring and had to be rewired. In the backyard, just off the pool, sits an adobe horno, a traditional Pueblo-style baking oven

Touches of Southwestern décor lend to the authentic desert adobe style of the home.


63 63

The home pays tribute to adobes traditionally built in the early 1900s. Authentic treasures can be found in every room.


S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

Custom woodwork, Saltillo tile floors, and exquisite detail work come together to create the traditional Southwestern appeal Classic New Mexico Homes is known for (above and opposite).

Although few and far between, some disagreements naturally arose in their own home project— the style of the powder room being one of the more memorable. “I wanted it to be very Victorian,” explains Kiki, “so I found an 1880s Eastlake dresser for the vanity and restored it.” She then added a tin ceiling dating back to the 1850s, reclaimed from a building in Socorro, and hand-painted the floor with a design relevant to the period. “Wayne wasn’t sure about the room at first, but he came around,” says Kiki, who had to do some compromising herself when she learned about Wayne’s dream amenity. “I really wanted a swimming pool,” explains Wayne. “I work so hard, and in the middle of the summer I want to come home and just fall in the pool and relax.” After a little bartering, Wayne agreed to sell his vintage, 1962 Fender Stratocaster guitar to pony up the extra cash. Kiki now admits she enjoys the pool, and that it really wasn’t a hard concession to make given the surroundings. Wayne’s mother, Bobbie Suggs, incorporated a colorful xeriscape befitting the setting and style of the home. A porch dotted with rocking chairs and benches wraps around the entire backside, with an authentic kiva fireplace cozied into a corner. And it’s all uniquely positioned to take full advantage of inspiring views. “You have your Organ Mountain view to the east and your sunset view to the west, all from the same place, which is kind of hard to accomplish,” says Kiki. “But we got it.” SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM

65 65

“We wanted the house to feel old, like it had been here for a long time.”—Kiki Suggs

Kiki rescued the mesquite beam framing the reading nook (above) from a lot in Santa Fe where it was being used as a parking block. The comfortable master suite (right, top) includes a roomy, blue-tiled shower and brick flooring (right) reclaimed from an old cotton gin.


S U C A S A A u t umn 2013



The backyard includes a trickling koi pond and a traditional horno baking oven. For more private relaxing, there’s an outdoor shower in the courtyard off the master suite (below).

Wayne and Kiki Suggs, with a potbellied stove handed down from Kiki’s grandmother that dates to 1893. 68

S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

The same could be said for the entire project. Wayne and Kiki “got it” just right, down to the finishes and final details, and one thing they unequivocally agree on is they are in love with the final result. “And we’re never moving again,” adds Wayne.

resources Design and Build Classic New Mexico Homes, 575-525-9530 Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery 575-526-5200 Audio/Video Precision Sound and Video 575-522-1048 Cabinetry and Woodwork Greg Duff 575-525-9530 Countertops Tom Sawyer Enterprises 505-898-1007 Doors and Windows L&P Building Supply 575-527-8000

Entry Door Artistic Entryways 575-589-0281 Ironwork Artsy Fartsy Metal Works 575-541-1105 Plumbing Fixtures Winnelson 575-523-7401 Pool and Spa Pools by Design 575-541-0006 Solar Energy Positive Energy Solar 575-524-2030 Tile Juan Garcia Tile 575-644-4098 Casa Mexicana 575-523-2777 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Su Libro

by Julieta Rios

“Balance style with function. While style can bring instant joy, function can bring long-term contentment.”—Joanne Kellar Bouknight

Anthony Tiueli


Kitchen Idea Book, by Joanne Kellar Bouknight, The Taunton Press, paperback, $19.95

s an emeritus architect, Joanne Kellar Bouknight has plenty of experience designing ideal spaces, but she got a refresher course on kitchens when her sons grew up and moved into their own pads. “I’m always tuned in to the shortcomings of kitchens, and I’ve had more practice since our sons have been living away from home,” says Kellar Bouknight. Her guess is that many homeowners are in the same boat as her sons, trying to make the best of small and unusual kitchens. “That may be why you picked up this book, because you spend time in a kitchen that isn’t really a dream come true,” she says, referencing her latest in a series of architectural publications for The Taunton Press, Kitchen Idea Book. Indeed, those looking for practical inspiration won’t be disappointed with her creative and economical design solutions for upgrading, remodeling, and renovating kitchens of all shapes and sizes. Kellar Bouknight offers layout and design advice with the ultimate goal of creating a chic kitchen that still meets everyday cooking and cleaning needs. Which trends are worth the money and which will have you wanting to renovate again all too soon? How does lighting, both natural and artificial, affect kitchen functionality?


Experience Our Passion for Hardwood Floors


SERVING LAS CRUCES, EL PASO & SOUTHERN NM • 695 S. Compress, Ste. 1 • Las Cruces, NM 88005 70

S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

Eric Roth

Is there any way to keep from bumping elbows when your kitchen space is completely minimal? Kellar Bouknight has the answers to these questions and many more. “How your kitchen looks is a big deal, but how it works is even more important,” she notes. “As you make decisions, balance style with function. While style can bring instant joy, function can bring long-term contentment.” Whether you’re looking for inspired storage solutions, advice on the best cabinets and countertops, or innovative ideas for amping up the wow factor, Kellar Bouknight has you covered in this must-have guide to spicing up a kitchen. Kellar Bouknight’s clever storage solutions can help make the most of a small kitchen. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


“With a flower recipe, there’s plenty of room for experimentation.” —Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo


Paige Green

e love flowers, and even though we work with cut (um, dying) flowers, we believe arrangements should have some life to them,” say Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo. Driven by their mutual love of all things botanical, the two best friends founded the San Francisco–based floral design company Studio Choo. You may have seen Studio Choo’s floral artwork in publications like Sunset, Food & Wine, and Veranda, and on the popular decorating blog DesignSponge. Harampolis and Rizzo’s latest collaboration, The Flower Recipe Book, is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to flower arranging that reads, as the title suggests, just like a cookbook. “The recipes

Precise measurements? Forget ‘em. “Recipes” for flower arrangements like this colorful poppy concoction allow for liberal experimentation. 72

S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

The Flower Recipe Book, by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo, Artisan Books, hardcover, $24.95

in this book showcase 43 different flowers, each arranged on its own as well as in combination with other ingredients,” writes the duo, who not only offer the necessary tools to create the projects, but also aim to inspire. “As with any cookbook, use these recipes as a guide,” they suggest. “As you feel more comfortable, start adding your own flair—the information in this book can be used in lots of different ways,” Harampolis and Rizzo understand that most of us are laymen when it comes to botanicals, so the reader will be pleased to see common flower names used throughout. Geraniums, roses, sunflowers, tulips, and lilies are just a few of the “ingredients” in the 100 sophisticated, seasonal arrangements featured. From choosing the right vessel to wiring, skewering, and stabilizing techniques, all of the flower arranging basics are covered. Anyone who has tried floral arranging knows it isn’t as easy as it looks, but this guide truly is for everyone. Beginners need not be intimidated, and there’s no need to fret about finding flowers that aren’t in season. As the authors point out, there really isn’t a wrong way to go about putting together a floral masterpiece: “Whether you want to replicate a recipe, re-create your own color palette, or make a few substitutions, the basic arranging techniques shown will help you design with the flowers you have available. In cooking, a recipe may hinge on having sweet paprika or pearl onions, but with a flower recipe, there’s plenty of room for experimentation without risk of spoiling the whole batch.”

POWERING PROGRESS At El Paso Electric, we’re more than a power company. We’re an integral part of our community. We’re dedicated men and women working around the clock to bring you clean, safe, reliable energy. Our goal is to help you live your life uninterrupted by providing the power it takes to fuel our growing region. Whenever you need us, wherever you are, we’ll be doing our part to help power your day and live life… brightly.

Designed by: The Laster Group Attn: SW Casa MGZ Ad Name: EPE 13-30 SW Casa MGZ Ad.indd Size: 8” x 4.8125” 4C


S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

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.

Go Solar For Only $60.00 a Month*

* On Approved Credit for a Ten Panel System after Incentives


S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

Autumn 2013 Advertisers 84 Lumber...............................................................................25 150 Sunset - Nursery............................................................15 150 Sunset - Event Center...............................................103 A-1 Kitchens by Sierra.......................................................61 American Living...................................................................10 Ardovino’s.........................................................................93 Austin’s Custom Jewelers.................................................93 Bank34.....................................................................................69 Bella Vista................................................................................41 Blooming Paradise...............................................................21 Border Solar............................................................................76 Builders Source.....................................inside front cover C & D Southwest Lumber Corp..................................72 Casa Décor..............................................................................73 Classic New Mexico Homes................................................5 Closet Factory........................................................................77 Collectibles.......................................................................77 Connie Hines Interior Design......................................31 Copenhagen.....................................................................29 Crown Heritage Homes......................................................4 DesignsbyLLPower&Associates...................................50 Decorating Den....................................................................67 Diemer Building & Remodeling....................................60 Edible Arrangements.........................................................98 EF Building Materials.........................................................61 El Paso Cosmetic Surgery Center.................................85 El Paso Electric..............................................................10, 74 El Paso Association of Builders.......................................76 El Paso Varicose Vein Laser Clinic................................85 El Paso Wood Products.....................................................51 Ferguson Supply....................................................................75 Guzman’s Color Your World..........................................10 Habitat for Humanity.........................................................77 Hacienda Carpet & Tile....................................................79 HPSAudio&Video............................................................40 Homecrete Inc.........................................................................1 Johnny’s Septic......................................................................69 Las Cruces Awning Co.......................................................3 Magic Bistro...........................................................................99 McCormick Architecture.................................................13 McGinley Construction....................................................58 Millenium Homes................................................................57 Morrison.............................................................................23 Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio...........................................49 Nash Patio & Garden.........................................back cover Nuovo Cappetto..................................................................99 Opus....................................................................................102 Outdoor Fire Concepts.....................................................18 Paradise Pools........................................................................39 Persian Rug Gallery.............................................................77 Piazza Escondida..................................................................7 Piedras Mundiales................................................................58 Pointe Homes........................................................................27 Rawson Building Supply....................................................74 Renovus..............................................................................72 Sandy Messer & Associates..............................................9 Santana Custom Homes...................................................20 Silver Springs Pools & Spa.................................................19 Sherwood Fine Wood Designs......................................57 Soundquest............................................................................59 Southwestern Home Products.......................................39 Spencer Theater................................84, inside back cover Stenner Custom Pergolas.................................................18 Stonehouse Granite & Marble.......................................49 Stout Hardwood Flooring................................................70 Team Juan Uribe..................................................................6 The Lodge Resort & Spa....................................................89 The Patio..................................................................................18 The State Line........................................................................98 TorresWelding......................................................................67 Toucan Market....................................................................102 Tropicana Homes.................................................................71 Vanities...............................................................................84 Winton/Flair....................................................................11 WestsideLightingGallery.................................................40




In the heart of Sunset Heights, the Burges House (on the right), is home to the El Paso County Historical Society.

the Sunset saga El Paso’s Sunset Heights Historic District gears up for its annual home and landmark tour by Tom Ruggiero


Photographs by Jessica Muncrief

n 1957, upon viewing an elegant El Paso residence, legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright reputedly remarked, “Isn’t that one of mine?” Surprisingly, no. The house, on the corner of Yandell and Hawthorne in the Sunset Heights Historic District, was designed and built by Henry Charles Trost for his own family in 1909. Trost arrived in El Paso in 1903 and spent the next 30 years fashioning a dozen other homes in Sunset Heights, as well as 200 of the city’s most prominent and distinctive buildings. Ostensibly influenced by Wright and Louis Sullivan, Trost championed the design aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts Movement, shunning the assembly-line industrial look of the early 20th century. This indigenous North American style of architecture is unmistakably manifest in Trost’s Sunset Heights home. With expansive overhanging eaves, hipped roofs, and windows grouped in horizontal bands, it stands as a testament to the Prairie Revival style. The current owner, Robert McGregor, has strived to maintain the organic originality of the fivebedroom, 3,700-square-foot historical structure, both inside and out. The interior of the house is surprisingly—at least to modern eyes—dim. But thanks to an abundance of stained glass windows and Tiffany-style lighting, the effect is radiant and secretive, not gloomy. “The wallpaper is original,” McGregor says proudly, noting the hand-painted linen featuring local desert flora designs—patterns Trost deemed essential to maintaining the natural theme of his home. A bit of Trost’s original furniture remains, including a tiger oak dining room set fabricated in Italy and imported to El Paso. Attempting to faithfully augment the originals, McGregor added period reproductions of his own, including Stickley tables and chairs. In Sunset Heights, as in other El Paso historical districts, many homeowners are nearly obsessed with authentically restoring homes to their original condition. “It is always our goal to remodel them exactly,” says Doug Yost, who owns a Trost home originally built for Ernst Kohlberg, founder of the El Paso Electric Railway Company and the El Paso Electric Light Company. Kohlberg also owned the St. Regis Hotel, the 1909 site of the first meeting in history between a president of the United States, William Howard Taft, and a president of Mexico, Porfirio Díaz. Olga, Kohlberg’s wife, was a celebrated philanthropist who founded the first public kindergarten in Texas. The two-story 1910 Mediterranean Revival with imposing Doric columns sits proudly atop a 78

S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

hillock in the historical district. Yost, an expert on historical home renovation, and his wife have devoted “thousands” of hours over the last 10 years to lovingly reinstating the home, he says. Sunset Heights is one of the oldest neighborhoods in El Paso, created by Fisher Satterthwaite, who emigrated from New York to El Paso in 1880 for health reasons. It is rumored he won the deed to the land in a poker game, says Leah Osborne, president of the Sunset Heights Neighborhood Association. At the time, many had considered the rugged hills overlooking the Rio Grande fit only for goat grazing. But Satterthwaite’s prescience was sound, and by 1885 he had built more than 90 houses on the once desolate hilltop. In 1899 the development was renamed Sunset Heights. It was one of the first neighborhoods in El Paso to have indoor plumbing.

The Altman Collection

The Region’s Premiere

Flooring & Tile Showroom

Sunset Heights’ creator is rumored to have won the deed to the land in a poker game. McGregor’s Trost-designed home still boasts many of the original features including wall stenciling and a built-in sideboard.

Ceramic, Porcelain, Stone & Wall Tile

Currently, the district contains dozens of historical homes built between 1900 and 1915, each unique and splendid, including one on Prospect Street where, during the Mexican Revolution, Francisco “Pancho” Villa purportedly hid out for three weeks. Keeping the spirit of the district alive, the Sunset Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association hosts an annual tour each fall of 12 historic homes, apartments, and landmarks. Highlights this year include Sunset Grocery, the Scottish Rite Temple, and local artist Hal Marcus’s home. History and architecture buffs will not want to miss it.

Carpet, Hardwood, Tile & Vinyl Flooring

resources 2013 Sunset Heights Tour of Homes & Landmarks Saturday, October 5, noon–4 PM Hal Marcus Gallery 915-533-9090

Kitchen & Bathroom Glass Tile Selections

Sunset Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association

Yost and his wife have lovingly restored the Kohlberg home to its original glory, both inside and out.

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

Vida Buena

by Tom Ruggiero

the search is on After months of interviews, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra has a new music director. Now Bo Rattay embarks on a search of his own, looking for the perfect house to call home.

Bohuslav “Bo” Rattay

For a man whose intellectual pursuits soar to the shaping of symphonies, Bo Rattay finds equal gratification in renovation and restoration. 80

S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

Courtesy of El Paso Symphony Orchestra


t isn’t precisely that El Paso’s new maestro, Bohuslav “Bo” Rattay, is looking to settle down. It’s more that the schedule of a symphony orchestra conductor—especially one with commitments in dozens of U.S. and European cities annually—is just plain hectic. Even so, Rattay and his new wife, Kellie Anne Rumba, are looking for a new home, firmly determined to settle into a more domestic lifestyle. Rattay, 40, was recently selected as the seventh conductor and music director in the 82-year history of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. Dynamically handsome, with intense dark eyes that are warmly inviting, Rattay’s deep baritone voice is as mellifluous as the bassoon he has played since age 10. Born and raised in the Czech Republic, Rattay is a cultured and articulate man who, when impassioned, generates sparks of kinetic energy. He gained his U.S. citizenship just last year and plans to divide his conducting duties between the El Paso, Midland, and Lake Charles (Louisiana) orchestras. But it is El Paso where he intends to establish roots and purchase a home. “What is home?” he asks rhetorically. “Is it where you store your stuff, or where you grew up, or where your friends and family are, or where your work is?” The answer to that conundrum is justifiably complex, but like many of us, early memories of hearth and home hold influence. Rattay spent much of his first 20 years in the urban metropolis of Prague, a city of 1.3 million that boasts hundreds of concert halls, galleries, cinemas, and music clubs. Yet there were frequent escape jaunts to his grandparents’

Pamela Segura

country house in the quaint town of Svatý Jan pod Skalou (Saint John Under the Rock), a village in central Bohemia. There Rattay discovered the peace and serenity of country life and developed what would become a lifelong affection for the natural world. “I love quietness,” he muses, noting that after the daily barrage of intense musical energy, it’s wonderful at the end of the day to simply enjoy the splendor of the Franklin Mountains as the sun sets. Thus, in their quest for the perfect residence, Rattay and Rumba have spent significant time scrutinizing homes, particularly in Santa Teresa where the land is sprawling and the grandeur of the mountains is spectacular. “The views of the mountains, especially at sunset, create a cleansing effect on the soul,” Rattay says. As to the architectural style of their new home, Rattay asserts that design will be less essential than the quality of the construction and the size. Comparing smaller European homes to American abodes, he much fancies the latter with plenty of open space, but insists his main objective is to find a house that’s “charming and has some kind of character.” One essential on his wish list, however, is a home with opportunities for transformation. As with his choice of professions, Rattay is hands-on when it comes to home design. For a man whose intellectual pursuits soar to the shaping of symphonies by Beethoven and Mahler, Rattay finds equal gratification in renovation and restoration. No incongruity exists between his delicate conductor’s baton and the heft of a sledgehammer. “I love to knock down walls,” he laughs, noting his other home in West Lafayette, Indiana, which he and Rumba are presently in the process of remodeling. “It’s entertaining and challenging, and in the end you can say, ‘I built this with my own two hands.’” Wherever they choose to settle in, Rattay and Rumba look forward to entertaining friends, both old and new, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Most vital, Rattay affirms, is a “huge” kitchen that opens into the living space—essential for maintaining intimate contact with guests. And those

Rattay at the EPSO “Pop Goes the Fort” July 4 concert at Fort Bliss’s Biggs Park.

guests will be lucky indeed. First on the menu: a glass of Zinfandel or Rattay’s signature Lemon Drop Martini (see recipe, page 103). Next, a delightful meal to linger over into the wee hours of the morning. While not classically trained as a chef, Rattay spent “hours and hours” in his youth with his aunt and his mother learning to cook traditional Czech cuisine with its rich sauces, pork, and dumplings. And his extensive travels through Europe have provided an intimate knowledge of the cultural richness and diversity of food. Rattay’s particular favorites include pasta carbonara and seafood, such as salmon or shrimp, grilled indoors or on the patio. “Anything that swims or crawls in the water,” he quips. The maestro and his new bride are holding out for just the right home in El Paso, but they are undeniably excited about what the future holds both professionally and personally. “Your home is a place where you come and relax,” Rattay says. “Life is not just about work, and people should realize that.”

See Bo Rattay in action at one of six classical music concerts EPSO has scheduled in the next year. Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 Guest: Vadym Kholodenko September 20–21, 2013 Plaza Theatre, 7:30 pm American Modern, Art & Music October 18–19, 2013 Plaza Theatre, 7:30 pm La Danza Clasica November 22–23, 2013 Plaza Theatre, 7:30 pm

El Paso Pro-Musica Collaboration January 24–25, 2014 Plaza Theatre, 7:30 pm Carmina Burana February 21–23, 2014 Plaza Theatre, 7:30 pm Raise the Roof April 25–26, 2014 Plaza Theatre, 7:30 pm

El Paso Symphony Orchestra 915-532-3776





Direct from Budapest, this company of 48 dancers performs with a live orchestra, taking the audience on a joyful journey through Hungary’s colorful past and present. Complimentary preperformance Bratwurst & Beer party at 6 PM included with your event ticket.


You know him as the front man for the iconic rock band Poison of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” fame. See Bret Michaels keep the band’s legacy alive on his solo tour as he rocks the stage at Inn of the Mountain Gods.





It doesn’t get better than free live jazz music and wine. Eight New Mexico wineries will be providing refreshments and tastings at the Mesilla Mercado and the historic Mesilla Plaza, with horse-drawn wagons offering free transportation between both locations.

The UTEP Department of Theatre and Dance puts on a contemporary version of the story made famous by the classic Hawthorne novel. See Hester Prynne, Roger Chillingworth, and Arthur Dimmesdale come to life in a modern adaptation directed by Chuck Gorden.


Back by popular demand, the 10-part male a capella group with a massive fan base returns to the Plaza Theatre to kick off the 10th anniversary of the Broadway in El Paso series. Their latest CD, Under the Influence, features collaborations with big names like Jason Mraz, Phil Collins, and Dolly Parton. 82

S U C A S A A utumn 2013


See a bilingual version of Shakespeare’s tragic love story presented by Shakespeare on the Rocks theater troupe. The play is primarily in the traditional English with the Capulets speaking classic Spanish among themselves.


The 19th annual El Paso Chopin Music Festival presents a complete series of piano concerts at the Chamizal Memorial. The festival’s founder and artistic director, Dr. Lucy Scarbrough, closes out the event with a live performance. Arrive early; concerts are almost always standing room only.





Their hit singles “Crazy Girl” and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” have been burning up the airwaves. Now come see why the Academy of Country Music nominated EYB for 2012’s Top New Vocal Group of the Year award.

Best known for their acclaimed performances in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Kristien and Hutton will perform the most memorable songs from their hit shows as well as popular Broadway standards.

getting to know Eli Young Band by Jessica Muncrief

Eli Young Band, one of the hottest acts in country music, just spent the summer opening up for Kenny Chesney on his No Shoes Nation tour. We caught up with bassist Jon Jones in between gigs.


Robert Mirabal, a Grammy award-winning Native American flutist and composer, resides in Northern New Mexico where he lives a traditional life, keeping the customs of the Taos Pueblo people alive. He shares his soulful music around the world and will perform at the Rio Grande Theatre accompanied by The Jemez Pueblo Dancers.

Any memorable moments touring with Kenny Chesney? Playing in pick-up basketball games that Kenny puts together. This has been going on for 10 years, so it’s a pretty big grudge match, which is awesome. And Kenny is competitive; he’s a sports fanatic. It’s not like when you play golf with your boss and you kind of feel like you have to let him win. You play to win. What are your plans now that the tour is over? We’re going to go back to headlining our own shows again, which is something we’re pretty excited about. It will be refreshing to get back to hour-and-ahalf sets again and get back in touch with some of the songs we like that we haven’t had the chance to play lately. And personally? How do you enjoy spending your downtime? I used to play golf, but my wife and I just had a new baby, so spending time with my son and being a dad is my new favorite hobby.


Jim Curry’s voice was featured in the CBS TV movie biopic Take Me Home. Hear him perform the folk music legend’s platinum hits including “Rocky Mountain High,” “Thank God I’m A Country Boy,” and “Annie’s Song.”

Describe each of the band members, yourself included. Mike (Eli) is a strong leader and just a great team member. James (Young) is the rocker; he has a ton of stage energy and is just all over the place. I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum, so that’s my new frustration in life—living up to James on stage. Chris (Thompson) is known for making crazy faces. He’s the drummer; he

doesn’t get to move anything except his hands, so his energy comes out in his facial expressions. And me, I’d say I’m the peacemaker and the side man. I love being the bass player. I don’t necessarily like being in the spotlight, so I’m happy with my role. How did you celebrate winning the ACM Award for Song of the year? Celebrating is not an issue this band has ever had. We’re celebrating every night, whether we have a reason to or not. It was in Vegas, so a lot of stuff to get into and a lot of friends there. We didn’t do anything extra special, but it was great to finally feel like we were part of the party instead of just visitors there for a drink. Is there anyone you’ve been starstruck to meet? We were at a party in Nashville and Huey Lewis was there. For me growing up, his was one of the first rock records that I ever loved. He smoked a cigar with us, just BS’d for an hour, and gave us some advice on our career. It was surreal. Have you ever worked with any of the up-and-coming country acts from El Paso or Las Cruces? We’ve played with Bri Bagwell quite a few times in College Station. She’s always great. In the Texas scene, it’s not completely a boys’ program, but it isn’t quite as easy for female artists. So any female that can get up and grind it out we just have so much respect for. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


continued from page 29

Sidney Williamson with his woodworking machine.

saw what was possible. With his computer, Williamson can create a 3-D picture, and he often makes small samples—but even those don’t compare to seeing the final piece in person. “Seeing it in real life, something you can feel and touch—pictures don’t quite do it justice,” he says. Playing to his strengths, Williamson focuses only on the cutting and carving, leaving the choice of wood to his customers and the installation to the contractors. This allows him to keep prices much lower than people expect. “At the Home and Garden show people walk by and say, ‘Oh, I love your stuff, but I don’t even want to talk about price because I know I can’t afford it.’ Almost everyone I talk to, especially husbands and wives, will look at each other and say, ‘That’s all?’” The cost comes primarily from the time it takes Williamson to carve the wood, and columns run from just a couple hundred dollars, depending on the intricacies involved. The ultimate value to a home, of course, is worth much more, and as Williamson points out, the effect is timeless: “When you come into a home and see a lot of detailed wood, you say, ‘Wow!’ That’s what it does for a house: It gives it the wow factor forever.”

Spirals By Design 575-496-5831 84

S U C A S A A utumn 2013



a guestthe of Navajo


Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly


Text and photographs by Bud Russo and Cheryl Fallstead

n the Navajo reservation just outside Chinle, Arizona, the tour jeep pauses at the mouth of Canyon de Chelly. Spread out below is an unexpected view: imposing red rock formations, lofty cottonwoods and willows, and quilted fields of crops, orchards, and pastures. As guests of the Navajo people, visitors can explore a place with a rich, spiritual human history spanning 5,000 years. With its 700-foot-tall sandstone walls, the canyon is nearly invisible from the vast tableland of the Defiance Plateau. The Chinle Wash carved the canyon, creating homes over the centuries for Paleo-Indians, Ancestral Puebloans, Hopi, and Navajo. The Puebloans built stone villages under sheltered overhangs, the remains of which are here today. The Hopi lived and farmed on the canyon floor, but all that remains of their time are petroglyphs chipped into the walls. The Navajo occupied the canyon 600 years ago, and it’s still their land today. Canyon de Chelly (pronounced “d’shay”) is about 45 miles long. Ten miles from the canyon entrance, Canyon del Muerto splits off, forming a complex including the 84,000-acre


S U C A S A A utumn 2013

Canyon de Chelly National Monument. While the National Park Service manages visitation and protects the ruins, the canyon is part of the Navajo Nation. Visitors can drive the rim roads to look into the canyon, but, with the exception of White House Ruin, you need a Navajo guide to enter Canyon de Chelly itself. That’s not a suggestion; it’s a requirement. There are about a dozen certified, Navajoowned companies that lead tours into the canyon by jeep and on horseback. You’ll also find hiking tours and companies that arrange for camping in the canyon.

About 300 Navajo men, women, and children hid from the U.S. Cavalry atop Fortress Rock (above) to keep from being forced on The Long Walk in 1864.

Above: The granddaughter of Navajo weaver Katherine Paymella works on her grandmother’s rug. Right: Free-ranging livestock wanders the canyon floor in search of a meal.

One highlight of the trip is viewing the various Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, although none can be explored, both for your safety and for their preservation. Each ruin has an interesting story, such as the antelope pictograms near Antelope House Ruins painted by Navajo Dibe Yazhi (Little Sheep) in the 1830s. The only ruin at ground level is White House. This multistory village was named for its top layers of white stone. It’s also the only ruin you can visit on foot without a permit or guide, by hiking a trail that descends 500 feet over a mile and a half from the mesa top along the South Rim overlook. The story of the people who have lived here is found in rock art: pictograms (art painted on rock) and petroglyphs (images chipped into the rock’s desert varnish). Some images are symbols relating to ceremonies and rituals, calling on deities for rain, bountiful harvests, and fertility. Others indicate whether a place was safe to enter or if it should be avoided. History is told in the rock art: the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, hunting deer on horseback, and the U.S. Cavalry marching the people to Bosque Redondo. The narrative about the cavalry efforts to round up the Navajo is most poignantly expressed at Fortress Rock, a huge monolith atop which 300 men, women, and children hid for months, hoping to wait out the government forces. One story tells of the men forming a human chain to dip water from a stream on the canyon floor near the sleeping soldiers, hundreds of feet below, to bring to the thirsty families above.



The sweeping canyon wall sheltered people at its base. It’s cleverly named Sleeping Duck Rock because pieces fallen from the face look like a duck taking a nap.

History is told in the rock art: the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, hunting deer on horseback, and the U.S. Cavalry marching the people to Bosque Redondo.

Although the canyon is Navajo land, only a few families still choose to live here. For their ancestors, life at Canyon de Chelly was migratory due to the constant need for fresh pasture. In the winter, the Navajo lived on the canyon rim, then traversed steep trails along the walls in spring to return to the canyon floor to plant crops and provide grazing for the sheep. A few hogans and shade arbors provide sufficient protection from wind and rain, but there is no electricity or indoor plumbing. Life here is hard, but the land is productive. The water table beneath the sandy wash is high enough to support agriculture. Farmers grow traditional corn, beans, and squash, as well as tomatoes, melons, and grapes. They also raise livestock and tend orchards of apricots, cherries, peaches, and apples. Your tour may include a stop at a summer home where a Navajo woman demonstrates carding wool from Churro sheep, spinning it into yarn, and weaving a traditional rug. A visit to Canyon de Chelly offers an understanding of what life was like for the generations of people who lived here. Perhaps you’ll also feel the spiritual connection to this place that is so important to the Navajo. You, too, are part of its rich history, and you’ll leave with memories that will stay with you forever.

The dramatic 800-foot-tall spire of Spider Rock is rich in Navajo legend.

White House Ruin can be seen close-up without a tour guide. A hiking trail descends 500 feet from the canyon rim, allowing visitors to view it. Tour options for exploring Canyon de Chelly also include jeeps and horses (right).


S U C A S A A utumn 2013

Staying In and Getting Around Canyon de Chelly Canyon de Chelly National Monument Visitors Center Three miles from Route 191 on BIA Route 7, Chinle, AZ Hours: 8 AM–5 PM daily 928-674-5500

Tseyi Diné Heritage Area— Cottonwood Campground Navajo Parks & Recreation Half mile south of the Canyon de Chelly Visitors Center on BIA Route 7, Chinle, AZ, 928-674-2106 canyondechelly_camp.htm

Canyon de Chelly Beauty Way Jeep Tours Leander and Donvan Staley Chinle, Arizona 928-674-3772

Best Western Canyon de Chelly Inn 100 Main Street, Chinle, AZ 928-674-5874,

Spider Rock Campground 10 miles past the Canyon de Chelly Visitors Center on BIA Route 7 928-674-8261

Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly BIA Route 7, Chinle, AZ 1-888-HOLIDAY (1-888-465-4329) Sacred Canyon Lodge Highway 191, Chinle, AZ 800-679-2473,




by Benjamin Roussey Photographs by Kelly McGinley and Alfredo Miranda


wild side

Exploring Puntarenas, Costa Rica


lessed with political and economic stability that few other Latin American countries can claim, Costa Rica has earned the nickname “The Switzerland of Central America.” But this tiny country, tucked between Nicaragua and Panama, is perhaps best known for its beautiful beaches, exotic rainforests, and some of the best opportunities for wildlife spotting in the world. What Costa Rica lacks in size, it makes up for in a diversity of landscapes. Dramatic mountain vistas give way to wide sweeping plains and valleys. Dense tropical jungles open into vast expanses of turquoise seas. The quaint coastal town of Puntarenas, its town square a lively and colorful mélange of shops and eateries, is a great base from which to explore it all. Large mountains covered in lush vegetation loom in the distance. To the west lies the Pacific Ocean, and to the east, the Caribbean Sea; both provide ample recreational opportunities for sun and surf lovers. There is, however, another intriguing side of Puntarenas: its wild side, revealed just a short venture out of the hustle and bustle. Costa Rica covers only about .03 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet it is home to an astounding 5 percent of the planet’s flora and fauna species, many of which thrive in the rainforests near Puntarenas.


S U C A S A A utumn 2013

Serene beaches (above) and colorful elements of local culture (below) are found in abundance in and around Puntarenas.

Carara National Park

Carara National Park, just 50 kilometers outside of town, is one such bastion of all things wild. The Tarcoles River forms a boundary on the northern side of the park and is home to many crocodiles, which explains the moniker—“carara” means crocodile in a local tribal dialect. The park is also home to white-faced capuchin monkeys, parrots, kingfishers, long-tailed manakins, turquoise-browed motmots, herons, armadillos, and aracari toucans. Every day, hundreds of scarlet macaws fly from their habitats in the depths of the jungle to the mangrove forests on the edge of the Tarcoles River, leaving behind dazzling, colorful streaks in the sky. The best times to visit the park are during the early morning or at dusk because spotting wildlife, especially the scarlet macaws, is optimal at these hours. Pack your binoculars.

Peñas Blancas National Park

AdventureSmith Explorations

Peñas Blancas National Park, located a little more than 40 kilometers away from Puntarenas and spread over elevations ranging from 2,000 to 4,600 feet, is a hiker’s delight. The flora and fauna vary significantly across the altitudes. Overnight camping is available for the self-sufficient, just be sure to stock up on supplies in the nearby town of Peñas Blancas. Camping offers the opportunity to explore the sprawling park to your heart’s content. Chalky white deposits of diatomaceous earth (a type of sedimentary rock) on the ground give the park its name—Peñas Blancas translates to “white cliffs.” As you soak in the tranquility of the place, you’ll have a whale of a time trying to spot and identify the various species of animals, birds, plants, and flowers in the park. Some you may need to see with binoculars; some may simply lie strewn across your path. Right: Crocodiles, macaws, monkeys, and a vast array of other wildlife live amid the dense vegetation in the area’s many national parks (above).



Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

For wildlife enthusiasts hoping to really sample the biodiversity in the region, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is not to be missed. The reserve is home to more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 1,200 species of reptiles and amphibians, tens of thousands of insects, 5,000 species of moths, and 2,500 species of plants, among which are more than 400 species of orchids. The astounding range of life makes this wildlife reserve one of the most unique refuges of its kind in the world. Although there are many trails throughout the reserve, a canopy tour (aka zip-lining) is one of the best ways to discover the bounties of the region. There are also many suspension bridges inside the reserve, offering a bird’s-eye view of the vast canyons below. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is located 82 kilometers from Puntarenas, but it’s not necessary to waste energy traveling to and fro in one day. The nearby town of Santa Elena is dotted with hotels, so get a good night’s rest and plan to spend at least an entire day exploring this vast and eclectic wildlife reserve. 92

S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

Zip-lining (top left) high above the trees is the best and most adventurous way to view the rain forests and awe-inspiring waterfalls (top right). Other treasures waiting to be discovered include thousands of species of insects, moths, and flowers (above).

What Costa Rica lacks in size, it makes up for in a diversity of landscapes.

Two international airports serve Puntarenas: Juan Santamaría International Airport (about 84 kilometers away) and Tobías Bolaños International Airport (98 kilometers). Talk to your travel agent about booking a trip to Puntarenas, the gateway to Costa Rica’s famed rainforests, amazing biodiversity, and wondrous and exotic culture.

resources Costa Rica Tourism Board AdventureSmith Explorations 1-877-620-2875

ADC-SuCasa-Spring2013-ThirdPg.indd 1

93 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM 10/23/2012 1:09:07 PM

Su Cocina

by Linda Skolnick Photographs by Jesse Ramirez

sweet indulgences Delightful dessert recipes for the holidays


oliday gatherings are all about the food: baked ham, oven roasted turkey, prime rib—mainstays often accompanied by other traditional favorites like cornbread stuffing, potatoes, and green bean casserole. Your guests expect these traditions, and probably even request them. But with the dessert menu, the home chef has a little more room to play around in the kitchen. Sure you’ll want the classics—pecan or pumpkin pie, anyone?—but a full spread of treats is a fun surprise after the meal. Even better: As the host, you get to continue munching on these goodies for days.

With the holiday dessert menu, the home chef has a little more room to play around in the kitchen. Cookies, cakes, breads, and chocolate-covered delights—we’ve prepared a full dessert buffet for you. While many of the recipes are from scratch, some incorporate shortcuts. Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, and Betty Crocker have been friends of the home chef for nearly a century, so there’s no shame in saving a little time and energy with the help of a boxed mix. And not everything has to be homemade, Clara Khoury at Edible Arrangements in El Paso reminds us. Their Sweet Elegance arrangement features a variety of coated strawberries—a double bonus because the centerpiece is both a beautiful and edible part of the dessert table. After-dinner holiday treats go well beyond pumpkin pie. Add unexpected surprises to your dessert table like baked apples, cheesecake, date-filled wontons, or cranberry apricot bread.


S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

Date-filled Wontons Makes 40 wontons 1 1/2 cups pitted dates, chopped fine 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup orange juice 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine 2 tablespoons orange juice 40 prepared wonton wrappers 2 cups vegetable oil Powdered sugar, sifted In a small saucepan, combine dates, granulated sugar, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove date mixture from heat; stir in the chopped walnuts and orange juice. Let cool. On a clean surface, place a wonton wrapper with a corner pointed toward you. Place one teaspoon of the date mixture in the center of the wonton and spread around the center. Fold the bottom point up and over the filling. Tuck the upper point over the filling and bottom point. Wet the inside of the wonton edges with water and roll into a log. Repeat until all skins are rolled. Heat the vegetable oil to frying temperature (365 degrees), and fry the wontons a few at a time until golden. Drain on a paper towel and dust with powdered sugar.

Black Forest Bars Makes 24 bars 1 box devil’s food cake mix 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 1 large egg 2 tablespoons banana, mashed 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 1 1/4 cups sliced almonds 16 oz jar maraschino cherries, stems removed 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a 13 x 19" cookie sheet with nonstick aluminum foil, making sure to cover the edges of the pan. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, butter, egg, banana, and almond extract with an electric mixer at medium speed. Stir in 3/4 cup of the sliced almonds. Press mixture into the foil-covered cookie sheet pan and top evenly with cherries. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Elevate baking pan on wire rack and allow to cool. Place the chocolate chips in a resealable plastic bag and microwave, kneading the bag periodically until the chocolate chips are melted. Make a small cut in the bottom corner of the bag, and drizzle chocolate over the cherries. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of sliced almonds over the top. Remove from foil, cut into bars, and serve.



Su Cocina

Strawberry Refrigerator Cake Serves 12 1 box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Strawberry Supreme cake mix Two 10 oz packages frozen strawberries, sliced and sweetened 1 package vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix 1 cup milk 2 cups whipped topping mix 24 fresh strawberries, sliced Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 x 9" pan. Follow the cake mix directions to bake and cool the cake. PurĂŠe the sliced, frozen strawberries in a blender and adjust sweetness if needed. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake about 1 inch apart. Spoon the strawberry purĂŠe into the holes. Prepare the pudding mix by combining with 1 cup of milk. Fold the whipped topping into the pudding mix, then spread the mixture evenly over the top of the cake. Garnish the top of the cake with sliced strawberries defining the 12 servings. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set the cake before cutting.

Sugar Crusted Maple Cake Serves 12 1 box Pillsbury Classic Yellow cake mix 1 cup water 1/3 cup vegetable oil 3 eggs 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup maple syrup Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a large bowl, combine the Pillsbury cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and eggs. Blend in a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into the bundt pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and maple syrup until the sugar is melted and the mixture boils. Pour glaze around the edges of the hot cake in the bundt pan, and let stand for 15 minutes. Turn the cake over onto a serving platter. Place whipped topping in the center hole of the cake and serve warm or chilled. 96

S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

Cranberry Apricot Bread Serves 12 1 box Pillsbury Cranberry Orange Muffin mix (cranberries included) 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped 1 cup water 1 large egg Small can apricot halves Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5" loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except canned apricots and pour into loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from loaf pan and cool upright on a wire rack. Slice when ready to serve, and garnish with slices of canned apricots.

Centerpieces from Edible Arrangements include delectable treats like strawberries dipped in white and dark chocolate. Every last bite, including the fruit flower on top, is edible.



Desserts are best served with a sweet, sparkling wine like Asti Spumante. For something fancier, serve Schramsberg CrĂŠmant, one of the best sweet champagnes available. Log on to for more holiday recipes including Kahlua Date Bread, Orange Mallow Frost, Mandarin Orange Cheesecake, and Baked Apples.

resources Edible Arrangements 915-584-5205 Toucan Market 575-521-3003 98

S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

Jessica Muncrief

bountiful harvest by Jessica Muncrief


ating healthy isn’t always easy—or cheap, for that matter. Fortunately, Bountiful Baskets Co-op is working to make fresh produce a bit more accessible, and healthy eaters across the country are responding. Founded in 2006 by Sally Stevens and Tanya Jolly, the Web-based co-op has expanded to hundreds of cities in 22 states—El Paso, Las Cruces, Deming, Silver City, T or C, and Alamogordo among them. The process is simple: Log onto between noon on Monday and 10:00 PM on Tuesday. Reserve your baskets, then pick them up at the designated time and place on Saturday. Standard baskets are $15— which generally equals at least $50 of assorted fresh produce. Contents vary from week to week, but expect a little bit of everything from grapes, bananas, and blueberries to broccoli, kale, and tomatoes. Organic baskets are a bit extra, as are special add-ons like the Plummy Paradise Sampler Pack.

Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner Sunday Brunch 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Full Bar Service Happy Hour Daily Entertainment Fri. - Sat. Nights Private Dining

2711 N. Stanton El Paso, Texas 915-533-0700



brew basics

Su Cocina

Turn your morning cup of coffee from good to great by R. Monroe

Photographs by Bill Faulkner

With more than eight in ten Americans admitting to a coffee habit, it’s safe to say America is hooked on java. But that doesn’t mean your daily brew is as good as it could be. The journey from the bean to the cup is a complex one, and the particular methods of growing, harvesting, processing, roasting, and brewing all determine whether your morning cup is richly flavorful or disappointing dishwater. Understanding a little about the coffee-making process is the best way to ensure maximum deliciousness. Bernie Digman, owner of Las Cruces’ Milagro Coffee y Espresso and a nationally respected coffee connoisseur, has been providing coffee and freshlyroasted beans to Las Cruceans for the past 15 years, a task not without its challenges. “Selling hot coffee in the desert ain’t the easiest thing to do,” he admits. Coffee trees grow in tropical and subtropical climates, and each region’s particular terrain and weather patterns support distinct varietals. Much like wine grapes, coffee beans take their cues from different climates and varietals, which give birth to unique flavors. “Dark roast coffees, like Indonesian Sumatra, have more aromatic surface oils,” says Digman. “Many people think dark roast coffee is stronger and has more caffeine, but that’s often not the case. The oils linger on your taste receptors, so the coffee has a longer tail, comparable to a zinfandel. Light coffee is more like a sparkling wine: It finishes quickly.” While most coffee customers don’t have much control over when and where their beans were planted and harvested, they can certainly make an effort to buy coffee that was recently roasted. That’s something that will make a big difference tastewise. “Coffee tastes better fresh,” says Digman. “You wouldn’t go out and buy a month’s worth of French bread at once; you shouldn’t do it for coffee, either. That’s the advantage of having a local small roaster [like Milagro].” Once you’ve got the perfect beans picked out, it’s time to consider your brewing apparatus. Home brewers in search of a more perfect cup often rush out to buy pricey Italian espresso machines or complicated pneumatic devices, but those aren’t necessarily the smartest investments for the budding coffee connoisseur. A cup of coffee is 98 percent water, which means that if you’re pouring so-so tap water into 100

S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

“Dark roast coffees, like Indonesian Sumatra, have more aromatic surface oils. Light coffee is more like a sparkling wine: It finishes quickly.”—Bernie Digman

your fancy coffee machine, you’re really just wasting your time. The water used for brewing should have fewer than 150 parts per million of total dissolved solids. If your tap water doesn’t fit the bill, Digman suggests using bottled water. Ideally, the water should be heated to 197 degrees Fahrenheit, just below boiling. The second upgrade to consider is how you process the coffee beans. It’s commonly believed that it’s better to buy a bag of whole roasted beans and grind them right before brewing, but Digman disagrees. Low-end grinders, he says, often result in an inconsistent particle size or may even overheat the beans. If you don’t have a burr grinder (home-use machines run from about $50 up to $250), Digman recommends getting the coffee ground at a shop with a serious grinder. Most coffee specialty stores should be able to do this. With good water, good beans, and a good grinder, a simple French press should do the trick. But don’t let all the scientific specifications keep you from enjoying what should be one of life’s simple daily pleasures. “There’s not a lot in this crazy world that’s pleasurable, comfortable, and consistent,” Digman says. In other words, coffee need not be complicated to be satisfying. On a recent road trip, Digman and his wife stopped at a diner in the small town of Las Vegas, New Mexico—not the kind of place you’d expect a coffee obsessive to find the kind of brew that would suit his discerning taste buds. (On the road, Digman admits, “My expectations are continuously dashed.”) But as he took those first few sips of diner coffee, Digman was surprised to find that it was quite good. “We roast it ourselves,” the waitress told him. Digman asked to see their roaster, expecting to find a large machine like the one Milagro uses tucked in the back of the kitchen. Instead, she directed him to the diner’s back parking lot, where a man was roasting coffee beans in a skillet over an open fire. No fancy equipment needed.

Milagro Coffee y Espresso 1733 E. University, Las Cruces 575-532-1042,

A good cup of coffee starts with the basics: fresh roasted beans (above) and the right tools (left). If you aren’t looking to invest in pricey equipment, visit a local specialty coffee shop; they will usually roast and grind beans for their customers. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


the best little coffee houses in the Borderland Looking for a little ambience with your cuppa joe? Here are our picks for the best specialty coffee shops in and around Las Cruces and El Paso. The Bean 2011 Avenida de Mesilla, Mesilla Fresh roasted coffees and tasty baked goods right in the heart of Mesilla. This is a popular spot for bicyclists on weekend mornings, so get there early if you want to grab a table. Full breakfast and lunch menu. Spirit Winds Coffee Bar 2260 S. Locust, Las Cruces 575-521-1222 Great coffee, specialty teas, and snacks in a funky atmosphere with super-friendly staff. Take some time to browse through the fun gift store. It’s packed with unique art, trinkets, jewelry, greeting cards, and the like.

Sunday Brunch Buffet Featuring Endless Mimosas and Live Entertainment Sunday Brunch 10:30AM to 2:00PM Thurs. 5-9PM Fri. & Sat. 5-10PM 7128 N. Mesa St./El Paso, TX 915-585-2221


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 A u t umn 2013

Kinley’s House 2231 N. Mesa, El Paso Kinley’s offers a fantastic selection of specialty coffees and teas in a great atmosphere. The eclectic menu includes smoothies, sandwiches, and Asian noodle bowls. Fun feature: You can order by text and have your order waiting when you arrive. 2Ten Coffee Roasters 643 N. Resler, El Paso They are passionate about coffee at 2Ten, taking extra care to do it just right. The shop on Resler is drive-thru only. When you’re picking up a bag of beans, grab an espresso or smoothie; they specialize in both. The Percolator 217 N. Stanton, El Paso 915-351-4377 This is where the artsy crowd gathers for conversation, coffee, and even craft beer. The Percolator is well known for supporting all forms of art and hosting live music, poetry readings, and open mike nights. Displayed art changes monthly.

Su Cocina

by Jessica Muncrief

classic cocktails …with a twist Cocktails are back. Instead of serving up the basic martini or margarita, intrigue guests with a memorable mixture of unexpected ingredients in a signature drink. From the Borderland to London Town, here are our picks for the best cocktail mixes to shake up this season.

the conductor’s concoction

El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s new musical director, Bo Rattay, loves relaxing with a good drink, most often his signature lemon drop martini. He starts by making his own simple syrup (a staple for many cocktail mixes) and adds extra vodka in lieu of the traditional triple sec. “It’s pretty simple, but very yummy, and very dangerous,” he says.

Bo’s Lemon Drop Martini Serves 1

Bring water to a boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Fill shaker with ice. Add vodka, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake and strain into sugar-rimmed glass. Garnish with slice of lemon.

Southwestern spirits

Courtesy of SKYY

1 cup water • 1 1/2 cups sugar • Ice • 2 oz premium vodka, such as SKYY • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice • 3/4 oz simple syrup

We love our tequila in these parts, and nothing gets the party started like a margarita. While the traditional lime version is great, it’s also fun to play around with flavors and garnishes. It all starts with a good-tasting tequila. El Paso businessman Richard C. Poe II was determined to create just that when he founded Dos Lunas tequila in 2006. The brand is now internationally recognized for offering award-winning, additive-free tequilas made from 100 percent blue agave.

Courtesy of Dos Lunas

Dos Lunas Prickly Pear Margarita Serves 1 2 oz Dos Lunas Silver Reposado • 4 oz prickly pear mix Ice • Juice of 1 fresh lime Combine all ingredients in shaker. Shake well and serve in margarita glass. Garnish with slice of lime.

European flavor

In between shifts at Milk and Honey, one of the hottest bars in London, French mixologist Ludovic Miazga serves as global ambassador for premium vodka brand Grey Goose. Miazga created a collection of cocktails that showcases the best of the season’s natural flavors and ingredients. The French Negroni’s spicy finish makes it perfect for a cool autumn night.

2 parts Grey Goose L’Orange • 1 1/2 parts Noilly Prat Rouge vermouth • 1 part French bitters • Ice • Orange peel Build in a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir and garnish with orange peel.

Courtesy of Grey Goose

French Negroni Serves 1



Dream On

carved to perfection “What a fun project this was,” says interior designer Connie Hines of this Upper Valley home’s elegant kitchen. “It was an open, empty space when we started, and I was allowed to take the homeowners’ wish list and create a kitchen that would accommodate their needs and present as a blend of classic architectural elements.” Convenience and function were at the top of the list; Hines delivered with a full refrigerator, a full freezer, two dishwashers, and a double oven with warming drawers. Addressing the request for an aesthetically pleasing space, Hines, who also owns Renaissance Woodworks, embellished the custom cabinetry with distinctive carvings of acanthus foliage. The extensive woodwork carries right up to a vaulted ceiling adorned with four iron and crystal chandeliers. High, arched windows bathe the entire room in warm light, fulfilling Hines’s ultimate goal of creating a space that represents both comfort and beauty.

Rudy Torres

Connie Hines Interior Design, 575-523-1809,


S U C A S A A u t umn 2013

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Autumn 2013 Digital Edition  

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Autumn 2013 Digital Edition

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Autumn 2013 Digital Edition  

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Autumn 2013 Digital Edition