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El Paso & Southern New Mexico

fall-inspired ÂŽ

’ decor

inspiration ideas resources

ornamental iron

retro chic

embracing the eclectic in West El Paso

healthy skin

from the inside out

storied living

in historic Manhattan Heights

Builder: Tierra Concepts Inc. Photo compliments of Wendy McEahern Photography

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El Paso & Southern New Mexico


46 SOUTHWESTERN HOMES 20 storied living

Innovative design and creative repurposing bring meaning to an El Paso fourplex.

32 embracing eclectic

On the cover: Fun surprises are found in the kitchen and throughout this intriguing West El Paso home. Read all about it on page 32. Cover photograph by Jesse Ramirez.

An El Paso home is a happy marriage of diverse design ideas.

46 a winning combination

Rustic design, amazing views, and exquisite landscaping, all in one Las Cruces home.

in every issue

4 Inside Su Casa

6 Life+Style Southwest

A backyard makeover uncovers stunning views; ornamental iron; and Steve Thomas explains why he always “seeks professional help” (in his home remodel projects!).

18 Design Studio

Moll Anderson turns her favorite vacation memories into ideas for her home; a roundup of fall décor finds; and El Paso artist Hal Marcus keeps the love local.

60 Vida Buena

Aspen and Breckenridge, Colorado, are great winter getaways; plus advice for keeping your skin healthy—from the inside out.

62 Live Performance Calendar

The season’s hottest events, live music, and shows.

64 Su Libro

A beautiful new book highlight’s Havana, Cuba’s, modernist architecture.

Chef and baker Jonathan Bowden creates sweet new traditions with a local family; James Selby explains the do’s and don’ts of wine tasting.

66 Su Cocina


Nohemy Gonzalez

Bill Faulkner

inspiration ideas resources

community pride


Bruce Adams

Publisher “Creating inspiring built environments that exceed expectation.” 550 S. MESA HILLS DRIVE STE. D2 EL PASO, TEXAS 79912 P. 915.533.2288 F. 915.533.2280


often hear of cities whose residents crave an identity. They want an identifying symbol, structure, way of life, or style that works to define their area. In a country that’s homogeneous, with many cities easily mistaken for one another, it’s gratifying to know that the El Paso and Las Cruces region has a look and a quality all its own. While history and historical buildings help define a town’s identity, El Paso, for example, never really needed the old smelt towers. This area is rich with visual reminders of exactly where we are and why it’s special. Many cities in the West suffer from being too new, lacking architecture that dates to the 1800s. Neither El Paso nor Las Cruces is challenged this way; our local architecture often connects directly to the past and helps us appreciate the continuum of life and the history that preceded us. It makes for a good starting point as we build new houses and other structures. We can borrow from the past while incorporating new technologies and contemporary sensibilities. The result is a community that feels and looks cohesive and timeless, without looking “old.” I’ll be very curious how the new building surge in downtown El Paso encompasses our history and our future. Fall is often the time of year when homeowners re-evaluate their needs, wants, and dreamy wishes as they apply to their homes. As those thoughts turn into design and construction, it’s appropriate to consider how our plans respect the history and culture of the area. Forged iron, for example, has many advantages in the home. Not only does it speak to our roots, but it’s attractive, flexible, and has many practical uses. An intricate iron design can add both beauty and security to a home, and still be contemporary and new. You’ll be inspired by forged iron beautifully executed in one of our featured homes. Preserving and repurposing old and found items factors into another story in this issue. Like ornamental iron, upcycling also accomplishes the goal of respecting our traditions while still being practical to today’s needs here in the 21st century. It fits perfectly with the trend of residents wanting to be close to the geographic as well as the cultural center of their community. And as this infill home cleverly demonstrates, both needs can be met. It’s my hope that this issue will inspire you to think of your home, regardless of its style and history, as it relates to our community. As you plan your next home project, check out Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico. We’re here to help you make your life and your home as unique, beautiful, and colorful as this community we love. 

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 Danielle Urbina Executive Editor Amy Gross Editorial Assistant Carolyn Patten Contributors Moll Anderson, Tiffany Etterling Cassie McClure, Jessica Muncrief Stephanie Rodriguez, Donna Schilllinger James Selby, Steve Thomas Lead Graphic Designer Sybil Watson Designer & Media Specialist Michelle Odom Contributing Designer Whitney Stewart Photography Bill Faulkner, Nohemy Gonzalez Jesse Ramirez

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

Please direct editorial queries to For subscriptions, call 818-286-3164

El Paso Office 550 South Mesa Hills Drive, Suite D-1 El Paso, TX 79912 915-581-2300 Santa Fe Office Pacheco Park, 1512 Pacheco St, Ste D-105 Santa Fe, NM 87505 505-983-1444 Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Volume 03, Number 4, Autumn 2015. Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico is published quarterly in December, March, June, and September by Bella Media, LLC at Pacheco Park, 1512 Pacheco St, Ste D-105, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA, Phone (505) 983-1444. ŠCopyright 2015 by Bella Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. Basic annual subscription rate is $9.95, Canada & Mexico is $23.95, other international countries is $27.95. U.S. singlecopy price is $5.95; back issues are $6.95 each. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico, P.O. Box 15305, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5305. Subscription Customer Service: Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico, P.O. Box 15305, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5305, Phone (818) 286-3164, Fax (800) 869-0040,

Life+Style Southwest

by Jessica Muncrief

photographs by Bill Faulkner

view from the top

the discovery of a hidden view sets the tone for a full backyard makeover


chool counselor Andi Ponsford and her husband Rick, a dentist, built their hilltop El Paso home 15 years ago. With their kids now grown and having babies of their own, the time was right for converting their basic backyard into an ideal space for family fun and relaxation. “It was my husband’s idea to have something exciting for our kids to return to,” Andi explains. “We want it to be a mini-vacation when they come to town.” Mardi Crupper of Four Seasons Construction put them in touch with Joe Beechler, owner of Paradise Pools, who in turn called in landscape designer Mark Nash of Nash Patio & Garden, and together they transformed the Ponsfords’ lackluster yard into an enviable oasis from the desert heat. They even managed to uncover a hidden gem of a view in the process. “We always knew if we walked over to that back corner we could see the mountains, but it wasn’t until Joe and Mark cleared out that space and took down the wrought iron railing that we realized how perfect our view is,” Andi says. With the stellar view unveiled, an infinity pool was a must. Beechler presented several ideas, including some free-form options, but clean, contemporary design won out. The straight lines don’t distract from the view, while the ample space allows for lap swimming and plenty of custom features.


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Above: Joe Beechler of Paradise Pools designed the impressive pergola. Its cedar and fir construction makes it insect-resistant and durable. Above, top: Complete with a pool, a spa tub, and a wet patio, the backyard is a decadent escape overlooking the Franklin Mountains and West El Paso Valley.

“It was my husband’s idea to have something exciting for our kids to return to. We want it to be a mini-vacation when they come to town.”—Andi Ponsford

There’s room for everyone in this backyard. A sunny central space features multiple seating areas that allow for relaxed poolside lounging.

and doesn’t burn little feet. A custom-made cedar and fir pergola drops the temperature down by about 20 degrees. “The previous patio didn’t line up with the views,” Nash explains. “We wanted to set up the space in scenes. Under the pergola, you have an outdoor kitchen and dining area. On the other side, it’s more like a living room. The built-in bench overlooks the pool and matches the contemporary look the family wanted. Of course, everything faces the vanishing edge and that fantastic view.” Tying it all together with greenery, Nash forwent traditional, curved gardens and repeated the shape of the pool with narrow linear hedging. Andi’s one request, a magnolia tree, fit in perfectly. “Magnolias don’t get too wide, so we were able to fit this one into the narrow space and provide some privacy from the neighbors,” Nash says. Over the summer, the Ponsfords broke in the new pool and patio, which not only met their expectations, but exceeded them. “Joe and Mark had such a great sense of what could be done with the space,” Andi notes. “Entertaining is just so easy now. Whether it’s with the kids or with friends or just the two of us, we’re using it more than we ever imagined.”

On Andi’s wish list was an oversized spa tub, big enough to fit herself and Rick, plus all four of their kids and their spouses. Beechler delivered with a tub that seats 10, elevating it to allow for the soothing sounds of water flowing into the pool below. When it’s just the two of them, Andi and Rick enjoy alfresco dinners with the running water as background music. With the Ponsfords’ grandchildren in mind, Beechler suggested a wet patio—a lounge area with patio furniture submerged in just a few inches of water. “It’s a great little baby pool,” Andi confirms. “The little ones can sit in there with their toys, and even when the kids aren’t here, we sit on the chairs with our feet in the water. We don’t even have to change into bathing suits.” The floating table, one of Paradise Pools’ most popular options, adorns another corner. “Not only does it look neat, it’s also functional,” Beechler points out. “It’s a great place to bring a drink and converse while keeping an eye on the children. Some people even play cards on them.” Keeping the surrounding area just as family-friendly, the patio was inlaid with 1,700 square feet of cantera stone decking that stays cool to the touch With help from interior designer Anne Steele, Andi outfitted stone benches with richly colored cushions and bright, turquoise throw pillows for a cozier feel.

resources Elevated planters filled with flowers and green foliage add depth to the linear design of the pool. Water from the spa tub flows effortlessly toward a vanishing edge that faces the scenic view.

Anne Steele Custom Interiors

Nash Patio & Garden

Four Seasons Construction



beautiful brush strokes sculptural Calligraphy lighting by Donna Schillinger


alligraphy is a centuries-old, sculptural art form, both elegant and functional. Reminiscent of the curvilinear lines left behind by a careful brush stroke, the new Calligraphy collection by Corbett Lighting evokes swirling cursive script flowing across a piece of parchment paper. Corbett Lighting President Steve Nadell explains, “In Calligraphy, we created a soft, striking shape and added some contrast by finishing its form in hand-applied silver leaf with polished stainless steel accents.” Two LEDs illuminate the fixture from the top and bottom and create subtle shadows on the walls—almost like artwork that’s been thoughtfully placed. “It has an airy and ethereal quality to it, and it makes any space look lighter,” says Showroom Lighting Specialist Deborah Terrazas of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, which offers the Calligraphy line. “It would work well with a high ceiling or a low ceiling.”

Courtesy of Corbett Lighting

“We believe in a design-first approach: We sketch what we set out to create, and we find the best way to construct it,” says Steve Nadell of Calligraphy’s two-light pendant (below).

Life+Style Southwest

by Steve Thomas

Design it yourself? Not me. “Seek professional help” applies to homebuilding, too

Steve Thomas


n one of my early projects some 35 years ago my wife suggested we work with an old family friend who was a very successful and well-known New York designer. Fully convinced of my own capacity in that regard I proudly presented the designer, the late Marilyn Ruben, with my renovation plan, expecting praise and her blessing. Instead Marilyn said, very patiently, “Well, that’s a good start.” She then laid a piece of tracing paper over my design, and with swift, sure strokes of her pencil completely reconfigured my plan, spun the drawing around, and said, “Perhaps something like this.” Speechless, I started to get really defensive when I realized that her design was really great, and mine was, well, the work of an amateur. That’s when I learned the value of a really good design professional. I am very active—some architects and designers I’ve worked with (along with my wife) would complain way too active—in the design process, but I’ve come to understand that for a project to be successful you need a vigorous and independent voice for


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I’ve come to understand that for a project to be successful you need a vigorous and independent voice for design. Stephen would argue for design elements from the architectural point of view, and I would argue from the practical standpoints of cost and “buildability.” Sometimes he prevailed, sometimes I did, but most times a synthesis emerged that was probably the best design solution of all. Stephen would often stop by the job site on his way to or from his studio, check out the progress, and sketch revisions on the back of a 2x4. Then, I’d build it. The process was more like sculpture than architecture, and we had a blast. If you’re looking for a good designer or architect, here are some pointers. First and foremost, seek recommendations from friends. Go look at any prospect’s work. Interview them. Then ask yourself if their practice fits your job. An architect who principally does 8,000-square-foot adobe homes might not be the right fit for your 1,500-square-foot contemporary. Does their design work reflect your style? Did the prospective design professional listen to you—and to your

significant other? Ask them straight out how they charge: Will they fix-price the job, and what can you do to reduce their scope of work and therefore their fee? Ask them for recommendations, and take the time to go talk to those folks. This seems like a lot of work, but remember, it takes the same bricks and mortar to build a bad design as it does a good one. There are three buckets of cost in any project: workmanship, materials, and features. Design is the element that weaves them all together. You don’t want to compromise on workmanship, because poor build quality will come back to haunt you year after year. However, you can trim costs by eliminating features and by trading materials—polished concrete for costly Italian marble flooring, for example. There are dozens of trade-offs like this throughout a project. Where a design professional really earns his or her keep is to help you make these trade-offs so you can stay on budget and still achieve a great design.

Above: Steve Thomas and architectural designer Stephen Samuelson collaborating on Thomas’s Santa Fe remodel. Their ongoing war cry “You design it, I’ll build it!” created a synergy and shared creativity between them that produced an efficient, elegant home design.

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

Douglas Merriam

design. Probably the best illustration of this process was the project I did that was featured in this magazine several years ago (Su Casa, Winter 2013, “This Old Adobe”). The house, a small, Eastside Santa Fe adobe, required renovation from the ground up and redesign from the inside out. Santa Fe–based architectural designer Stephen Samuelson took on the challenge in a magnanimous gesture of friendship.

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Life + Style Southwest

by Tiffany Etterling

old-world wrought iron makes a stylish statement inside and outside the home

decorative appeal has gained popularity in residential construction, so has the demand for their business. “It’s enabled us to show what true craftsmen can do with metal,” says Torres. What’s the biggest misconception about wrought iron? “It doesn’t have to look like prison bars!” says Torres. She and other wrought iron artisans have worked hard to dispel that myth by turning iron forging into a form of art that’s finding its way into the design of railings, balconies, fireplace screen doors, chandeliers, decorative pieces, and more. “Working iron is truly an art at all levels,” says Zuniga, who notes that whether you’re talking about building skyscrapers or crafting iron doors, working with iron requires extreme detail and precision. The term “wrought iron” evokes images of hammer and heat, and that’s the basic process. “It’s trying to form the iron into unique shapes using heat, strength, and a hammer,” explains Bocardo. “Then you use these pieces on a structure to create a door, a gate, a chair, a staircase, or anything that’s both functional and decorative.” But it’s not entirely element-proof. “At the end of the day, iron is, well, iron. It is corrosive,” warns Zuniga. While ornamental wrought iron can be used in nearly any piece of furniture or feature of a home, use caution when it comes to water. To avoid rusting or corrosion, don’t place iron pieces near sprinklers or other water features. Like anything else, home trends change from year to year, but the sculptural curves and scroll patterns of ornamental iron are timeless designs that accessorize both interiors and exteriors. “Like my favorite designer always says, ‘Wrought iron is like jewelry on the home,’” says Bocardo.



S U C A S A A utumn 2015

Courtesy of The Iron Snail


or over a thousand years, iron has symbolized strength, security, and status. For today’s homeowner, it’s that and so much more. Ornamental wrought iron adds class and beauty to any style of custom home. Wrought iron serves three main purposes in home design, says Ricardo Bocardo, owner of Atrium Wrought Iron in El Paso: “It offers functionality and security, and adds that elegant touch to the house.” Example: A two-story home is required by code to have a handrail. Incorporate some scrolls and a design into that railing, and wrought iron turns a code requirement into a built-in work of art. One of the most popular uses of wrought iron is in the construction of custom-made front doors. “Doors with scrolls of forged, solid iron are picking up in popularity,” says David Zuniga of The Iron Snail in El Paso. “It’s very low-maintenance, high security, and it leaves a beautiful impression. The detail of iron gives a home a touch of elegance.” Cindy and Sammy Torres, owners of Torres Welding in Las Cruces, have 32 years of experience working with iron. As the metal’s

Though the metal is strong and sturdy, delicate designs sculpted into doorways and gates (here) and staircases (right) exude elegance.

“Forged iron is very low maintenance, high security, and it leaves a beautiful impression.” —David Zuniga

Courtesy of Atrium Wrought Iron

Courtesy of Torres Welding, Inc.

ancient metal, modern allure

Its strength makes wrought iron a go-to material for security gates. This gate (below) keeps the home safe from intruders even as it delivers beauty and elegance.

resources Atrium Wrought Iron Elite Wrought Iron The Iron Snail Inc. Torres Welding, Inc.

The winding design of this grand staircase is enhanced with intricate scrolls worked into the railing.

by Moll Anderson

Enchanted Spaces

inspiration destination create spaces inspired by your favorite travel locations


ur summer vacations may be behind us, but now we can take some time to reflect on the memories of those fun summer getaways. Whenever I have a fabulous and memorable vacation, I spend time reflecting on the spaces that inspired me and take away more than just photos and memories from the trip. In my mind, I tuck away the simple details that brought me the most joy in order to create a destination in my home that I can enjoy every day, all year long.

Michael Gomez Photography

Imagine a destination—either a place you have actually traveled to or a location that inspires you—and bring the elements of this magical place to your home.

Moll Anderson Life stylist and philanthropist Moll Anderson is an Emmy Award–winning television personality and the bestselling author of four books, including The Seductive Home.

to actually get to some of the more exotic locales like Morocco. But I never let that hold me back and keep me from traveling to a faraway place right in my own backyard. Imagine a destination—either a place you have actually traveled to or a location that inspires you—and bring the elements of this magical place to your home. I was inspired by the magic of Morocco in reimagining my outdoor living areas. I found beautiful carved doors (see above) in Los Angeles in a warehouse and made them the focal point of my outdoor space. I used the doors to create a courtyard effect, and just like that, the transformation began to sweep me off my feet. Soon I was adding decadent details in the fabrics, walls, accessories, and textures, which all provided the finishing touches to my Moroccan theme. You can easily do the same. Don’t worry about being perfectly on track as if a historian were keeping score. All that matters is that you are creating your dream destination—in your own home. Right: “Luminaries placed around the courtyard give the look of having been dug up during an excavation,” says Moll.

Don’t worry about being perfectly on track as if a historian were keeping score.

Beall + Thomas Photography

Jeff Katz Photography

First thing to do is think back to the hotels or resorts you visited. What made these locations really special and unique? Maybe it was the room you stayed in, the overall feel of the hotel, the views, the gardens, or the beaches. All you need to do is look for those elements from your destination and mirror them in your home. Having a crazy busy schedule, I don’t always get to travel everywhere my heart desires. To be honest, I simply cannot be away from work long enough

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Life + Style Southwest

fall flair ’tis the season for warm tones and nature-inspired décor The vibrant colors and rustic textures of autumn, always so beautiful outdoors, can bring a similar feel to your home. This is the season to “rake” in natural elements from the outdoors and infuse your home with interesting textures, materials, and hues. Let nature inspire you through eyecatching accent pieces, and build around them with simpler, more neutral décor for a refined seasonal look. Here are some of our favorite, fresh finds for fall.

Rake Coat Rack This household necessity just got a little more creative. Once the temperatures start to drop, hang your cool weather gear on this seasonally appropriate coat rack fashioned to look just like a very familiar tool for the outdoors. Take your pick from solid ash or stainless steel finishes. $399, Copenhagen,


by Danielle Urbina

Silk Stacked Geo Pillow Cover If you want to change up your décor without taking a major plunge, accent pillows and pillow covers are a great way to go. Add color to sofas, love seats, and beds with fun patterns like this burnt orange, retroinspired print. Pair it with solid pillows and throw blankets and you’ve got a space that shouts, “Fall is here!” $32, West Elm,

Olive Wood Basket Bring a little bit of the outdoors right into your kitchen. This distinctively shaped basket is made from richly grained olive wood and accented with a smooth, subtle finish. Brighten it up with fresh, seasonal fruit for a colorful kitchen countertop display, or fill it with fall foliage for a fabulous Thanksgiving centerpiece. $169, West Elm,

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

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Design Studio

by Cassie McClure

portrait of a legacy

artist Hal Marcus takes inspiration from a lifelong love affair with El Paso

“As you get wiser and older, you realize that you really do have an impact, and really do inspire, and you really can change the world.” —Hal Marcus

Bella, mixed media on canvas, 48"

Above: Sunset Heights, oil on canvas, 48 x 36" Avenida Juarez, oil on canvas, 72 x 48" Night Riders II, mixed media on canvas, 48 x 36" Below: The Green Cellist, mixed media on canvas, 67 x 55"


S U C A S A A utumn 2015


ith a colorful and fierce love for humanity, Hal Marcus daily opens his world to others. Marcus, who has been living and breathing art since he was 15, draws inspiration from the entire El Paso community—its people, the landscape, and its unique location on the border of Mexico. “We see things from two different sides,” he says. “It’s important to see things from different perspectives.” In 1988, Marcus created his famous El Mercado Juarez, a life-size painting of a Mexican market, which took him eight years to complete. Since then, art lovers have found his colorful work all over El Paso, in places like the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Chamizal National Memorial, and in El Paso’s city and county buildings. In early September, the locally and internationally renowned artist unveiled his artistic works for the first time at the El Paso Museum of Art in an exhibit that demonstrates the progression of his work over his career. Hal Marcus/Lyric Modern, a collection that spans over 40 years, runs through January 24, 2016. Marcus’s show coincides with the presentation of Marc Chagall’s The Green Violinist, on loan from the Guggenheim Museum. Marcus names Chagall, along with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, as influences and inspirations.

Jonathan Weingers

“My dreams bind my soul to the Mesilla Valley and Organ Mountains. Now my dreams and soul can merge into a portrait of the perfect dwelling.” -- Dr. Benjamin Diven

Above: Hal Marcus in his vibrant home studio near Downtown El Paso.

Eyeing his own legacy, Marcus looks to give back and be a source of inspiration for the El Paso artist community. Since 1996 he has showcased new and upcoming artists at his gallery on Oregon Street, just outside the heart of Downtown El Paso. He taught at the El Paso Museum of Art in the 1970s and at his own gallery in the 1990s, later serving on the EPMA Advisory Board and forming the Early El Paso Art Collectors Organization in 2008. However, it’s not just the artist community that helps Marcus stay in focus; it’s being a man of El Paso who remains connected to the people. “I feel a sense of place, of connection,” he says of his city. “I’ve been walking these streets my whole life.” During a recent open house at his gallery, Marcus opened his private studio as well— attached to the home he’s been living in since the 1970s, right across the street from the gallery. Marcus warmly engaged every visitor, with one woman excitedly bringing her two children to meet the man on whose street they live—Hal Marcus Place, right off Van Gogh Drive. “As you get wiser and older, you realize that you really do have an impact, and really do inspire, and you really can change the world,” Marcus muses. “It’s not so much about me, but about how the world is changing for the better. What we do is contagious. What we do will change people, one person at a time.”

resources Hal Marcus Gallery

luna sol media design

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storied living innovative design and creative repurposing bring life and meaning to an El Paso fourplex


S U C A S A A utumn 2015

by Jessica Muncrief photographs by Nohemy Gonzalez


dgar Lopez, a principal and partner at In Situ Architecture, and designer Wayne Hilton are both motivated by art, found objects, and repurposed materials. The central El Paso home Lopez designed is a creativity-driven meld of modern design, their individual artistic expressions, and finds rescued from sidewalks, construction sites, thrift shops, and garage sales. From the architectural design, to the coffee table, to the unconventional swimming pool, everything in this home has a story behind it. For years, Lopez had been eyeing an undeveloped lot tucked up against the mountains in the center of the trendy Five Points district and the historic Manhattan Heights and Newman Park neighborhoods. When it finally hit the market, he immediately jumped on it. “We love the area; it’s not a homogenous neighborhood,” says the architect. “There are some big, beautiful houses and some small houses, and that’s what makes it so interesting.”

“Casa Wheeling” is one modern home that isn’t afraid of a little color, with red doors, gates, and metal seating, and rust-red railings spanning the bridge that rises above the ground-level grotto. Right: Architect Edgar Lopez made sure every tenant had a spectacular view of the city by adding eight terraces that overlook the El Paso skyline.



All of the home’s countertops and surfaces in the house are pieces left over from previous jobs. Carefully placed metallics add to the kitchen’s refined, contemporary feel.

In the master bedroom, modular carpet tiles passed down from commercial carpet companies look retro—and custom.


S U C A S A A utumn 2015

The rocky, hillside plot had lain dormant for decades, waiting for the right architectural vision to recognize its potential. Lopez’s conceptualization of a contemporary-styled, four-unit complex worked within the natural slope of the land. Instead of building the plot up to street level, he proposed a bridge, which would span from the sidewalk to the middle level of a three-story structure. His novel design became the first recipient of the Infill Development Grant, an economic improvement initiative sponsored by the City of El Paso. The main house consists of a multilevel, 2,500-square-foot unit. The other half of the complex is divided into three separate apartments. Layout was influenced by the sweeping city panoramas, the ideal year-round weather (the property boasts eight terraces), and an innate desire for a sense of community. “Somewhere along the way we lost that front porch culture where neighbors interact with each other,” Lopez notes. “What I tried to do is create those mixed spaces where you can meander in and out so it is more like a community. But what I really love about the design is that it’s also independent. Everybody still has privacy. You can’t tell if someone is home or not.” The shaded north side of the property was transformed into a communal “grotto” where all residents can relax amid sculptural wine bottle “trees” on a patio of bricks reclaimed from the Henry Trost–designed Muir Building. “I suffered when they demolished it,” Lopez recalls, “so I rescued whatever I could to incorporate a piece of our city’s history.”

“I love art. I don’t care if it costs a few cents or a lot of money,” says Lopez of a rusted metal sculpture (left) in the backyard. Far left: City lights views from the dining room during the time of day the owners call “the magic hour.”

From the architectural design, to the coffee table, to the unconventional swimming pool, everything in this home has a story behind it.

The cozy media room features eco-friendly bamboo floors, acoustic paneling foam boards on the walls, and an entertainment center crafted from a childhood desk. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Inside, the homeowners have outfitted their unit almost entirely with other rescued, repurposed, and reclaimed elements, and the contemporary eclectic vibe is immediately apparent upon stepping through the door into the social hub of the space: a joint kitchen and dining area that opens onto a terrace with unparalleled views of the city. To the left, Lopez’s drafting table from his college days has found new purpose as a dining table. A vintage legal cabinet was dismantled, turned on its side, and attached to the wall to serve as a credenza bar. To the right, barn-style doors liberated from the Plaza Theatre remodel lead into an entertainment room; acoustics come courtesy of fabric-covered foam panels unearthed from a construction site dumpster. Walls in the adjacent powder room flaunt hands amputated from garage sale mannequins. “It hurts me to throw something out when I know I can find a second life for it,” says Lopez. In the sunken living room, the bamboo floors are topped with a rug fashioned from industrial carpet samples. Glass doors open onto a second terrace with a

24 A collection of vintage cameras (above) and minature chairs (right) are displayed in lighted curio cabinets. Above, top: Mirrors and mannequin hands adorn a powder room wall for a three-dimensional experience.

“These objects may not have too much market value, but they have value for us. Each has a memory of a time or an event attached. That meaning is what makes a home special.” —Edgar Lopez

staircase leading up to a third-floor studio. The homeowners’ artistic sensibilities come to life in the form of, among other creations, a coffee table that sways gently on springs, a wall hanging shaped from debris from a close friend’s car accident, and a functional bar stool constructed entirely of cardboard. “For me, art makes a home,” Lopez explains. One of the largest scale creations can be found in the backyard. In the midst of designing a more traditional swimming pool, inspiration struck when the architect spied an industrial-sized, rollout trash bin filled Below: A credenza bar in the dining room features a diverse assortment of art, thrift finds, and photography.

with construction rubble. “I thought, ‘That’s the pool I need,’ so I ordered one online,” he recounts. He found a pool designer willing to step up to the challenge, and they transformed the bin into an aboveground, salt-water pool complete with heater, filters, and decking. Rusted, raw steel panels deliver privacy in the outdoor space. The owners say they may hire a graffiti artist to decorate the walls with “cholo letters or something very urban.” “You don’t need a big budget to have something beautiful and comfortable to live in,” Lopez notes. “In SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Transform your home and community! By shopping, donating and volunteering at Habitat ReStore, you become part of a movement dedicated to ensuring everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat ReStore’s ever-changing merchandise and one-of-a-kind finds give you the opportunity to be creative. Visit Habitat ReStore! 26 26

S U C A S A A utumn 2015 S U C A S A A utumn 2015

Layout was influenced by the sweeping city panoramas, the ideal year-round weather, and an innate desire for a sense of community.



each space of this house, you’ll find a little piece—art we made, something from a trip, something we were given as a present. These objects may not have too much market value, but they have value for us. Each has a memory of a time or an event attached. That meaning is what makes a home special.”


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Above, top: A cozy living area is one of the best places in the home to enjoy the El Paso city lights views. Above, bottom: Lopez’s love of architectural design is reflected in miniature chairs he created. Several have been built in full-scale.

Family and friends love spending time either on the party-ready balcony (above) or cooling off in the salt water pool (above, top).


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resources Architect In Situ Architecture SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


embracing eclectic

an El Paso home is a happy marriage of diverse design ideas


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by Jessica Muncrief


photographs by Jesse Ramirez

s the owner of Pointe Homes, builder Carlos Villalobos will oversee the design of almost 100 custom and semicustom homes this year. And the El Paso marketplace is changing, Carlos says. “You always have to experiment a little bit and change it up day to day because it’s very much about what the customer wants—what style the customer likes. The baby-boomers and gen-Xers still seem to like more of a rustic feel with richer colors, but we’re also seeing a shift to the millennials, who are now starting to build their homes, and they prefer a more contemporary style.” When he started to create a home for his own family, Carlos had just one customer to cater to: his wife Sanaan. A principal engineer with Arcadis, ultraorganized Sanaan has an eye for detail and a heart for midcentury American design. Her desires, at times, didn’t seem to fit with her husband’s plans for Spanish and Moroccan influences, but, as Carlos notes, right now design is in a transitional phase, and their finished product is eclectically modern. It’s a touch exotic, a bit retro, and completely their own. “I was very much about the exterior,” Carlos remembers. “I’m always concerned with curb appeal, while Sanaan is more into the interiors. The basic idea was to build a house that you would see in California in the 1950s or ’60s.” The vision came to life with a Spanish Revival façade with a clay tile roof, smooth white stucco, and trimmed with California touches like cornflower blue window and door frames. “Interior-wise, we definitely have some Spanish touches, as well as a little Moroccan flair—for example the entry door and the arch in the nicho,” says Carlos. “But Sanaan always had a more ‘retro-fied’ style in mind—retro, but still modernized.” Since Sanaan enjoys cooking, the midcentury-inspired kitchen was outfitted with white, Shaker-style cabinets offset by a geometric, mint green backsplash.

Above: “This house was really four years in the making,” says homeowner and builder Carlos Villalobos. The exterior, clad in smooth white stucco, features a Spanish-Moroccan style that suits the tastes of both Carlos and his wife Sanaan. Right: Sanaan injected color throughout the home, starting with a blue and fuchsia entryway bench. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Above: Clean and sleek, the kitchen has it all, from gleaming marble floors to an expanse of bright, Shaker-style cabinetry accented with color-changing lights. Elevated cabinets are easily accessed with a rolling ladder on built-in rails.


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Little touches like glass knobs and statement lighting fixtures finalize the vintage feel. Of course, this kitchen also boasts plenty of 21st-century conveniences such as double stoves, double dishwashers, and funky undercabinet lighting that changes color at the push of a button. “It gives the space a completely different vibe,” Sanaan notes, “and we can change the color depending on the type of party we’re hosting.” In lieu of a breakfast nook, informal meals are served at the marble-topped island bar, but the rustic wooden table in the adjacent dining/living space seats 14. Incorporating some Midwestern touches, the couple went for clean lines, as in the built-in shelving, the oversized baseboards, and the extra-long oak flooring tiles. Sanaan found herself mesmerized by the iridescent Antolini granite slab fireplace surround that gives the room a modern touch. In the foyer, Crema Marfil marble tiles continue up the stairs to an office loft that leads into a large bonus space that the Villalobos family has transformed into an expansive home gym and a play room for their one-year-old son. A nursery, a guest room, and the master suite make up the other half of the second level. Large windows throughout the home look out over two Mediterranean-style outdoor spaces. To the front, a brick patio shaded with a pergola offers an ideal spot for a glass of wine after a long day at work. The backyard provides the swimming pool and vegetable garden that Sanaan desired, while also meeting Carlos’s inclination for stellar workmanship. Instead of an additional 15 feet of flat land, the couple opted for a multitiered design that ended up being something of an engineering marvel. “Since it’s a mountain lot, all these rock walls in the back and on the side are retaining walls. We didn’t know whether to start from the bottom or the top. We had many meetings with the engineer. It was quite a project to design structurally,” Carlos remembers. And since both Carlos and Sanaan value attention to detail, just one masonry craftsman, Carlos’s “secret weapon,” completed the entire job. “I didn’t want six guys working on it and getting six different styles of masonry,” Carlos explains. “It was an impressive feat for him.”

“Interior-wise, we definitely have some Spanish touches, as well as a little Moroccan flair . . . but Sanaan always had a more ‘retro-fied’ style in mind—retro, but still modernized.”—Carlos Villalobos

Carlos and Sanaan Villalobos with their son Landric in their West El Paso home. Right, top: A tiled niche showcases architectural detail and décor in a hallway, while the foyer (right, bottom) sets the theme for the rest of the home with colorful decorative pieces and eye-catching lighting.

A groin vault ceiling, adorned with an impressive chandelier, creates a strong visual focus that highlights the dining room and separates the area from the great room.


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The great room’s open floor plan allows every member of the family to be together, even while doing different things.



Jewel-toned light fixtures hang from the coffered ceiling, keeping with the colorful, eclectic vibe of the home.

Incorporating some Midwestern touches, the couple went for clean lines, as in the built-in shelving, the oversized baseboards, and the extra-long oak flooring tiles. Sanaan single-handedly brought together the furniture, textiles, and décor in and around the home. As the decorator for most of Pointe Home’s models, she’s had some experience pulling design ideas together, but it was her day-to-day job experience that made the process seamless. “Carlos thinks I’m a little insane, but I plan everything by room on Excel spreadsheets. When we moved in, everything was in labeled boxes. We just went from room to room, unboxing, and everything was decorated and fully furnished all at once,” she says. “I guess that’s the engineer in me coming out.” The builder in Carlos says that designing a home is all about listening to the customer and shaping it to meet their vision. Acting as both a smart husband and an effective builder, he successfully comingled his own touches with his wife’s distinct design sensibilities, learning in the process that a happy wife equals a happy life and a blissful home.


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“My expert advice? Rely on an expert.”

AMY MATTHEWS TV Host and Licensed General Contractor

TV host and Licensed General Contractor Amy Matthews has built and remodeled lots of homes over the years. As an expert, she knows better than anyone the value of working with professionals – like the ones at Ferguson. Our product experts will help you find the perfect products from the finest bath, kitchen and lighting brands in the world, so you can take pride in your home – on every level. Set up your consultation with Ferguson today, and let us show you the possibilities for your next project. Visit and schedule your appointment today.

©2015 Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.


El Paso 820 Sunland Park Dr (915) 231-5836

The couple’s master closet is nothing short of a fantasy, complete with wall-to-wall shelving for everything from shoes to jewelry.

Above: Marble floors and a glass-tiled accent wall enhance the master bath’s white palette. In contrast, the master bedroom (left) embraces vivid blues and purples for a space that’s both cozy and on-trend. 40

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Remodeling or buying? Choose the names that you trust for quality. All the elements of a gracious, lowmaintenance lifestyle are at your Featherlite/ Acme Brick showroom: • natural and manmade stone • thin brick from leading manufacturers • outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and other accessories Below: A warming fireplace and comfy sectional in the covered patio allow the family to enjoy their backyard all year long.

• clay and concrete paving brick Ready to transform your home? You can rely on the expertise of Acme Brick. See us soon.

325 Americas Ave. • El Paso, TX 79907 • (915) 859-9171 • 1020 E. Kansas • Las Cruces, NM 88001 • (505) 524-3633 •

resources Builder Pointe Homes Architect CGN Designs Appliances, Fixtures, and Lighting Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery Audio Video Prewire of El Paso Cabinetry A-1 Kitchens by Sierra Countertops COMAF Entry Door El Paso Wood Products Kitchen and Bath Tile Emser Tile Ironwork Elite Wrought Iron Landscaping and Pool Blooming Paradise Pergola C & D Southwest Lumber Corp. 575-526-2131

Above: Multitiered walls offer plenty of space for gardening, and also open up the backyard to beautiful mountain views.


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a winning


rustic design, breathtaking views, and desert-inspired landscaping, all in one Las Cruces home


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by Danielle Urbina photographs by Bill Faulkner


anny and Sharon Wasser didn’t have to look far to find the perfect spot for their new home; it was a place Danny had seen and loved as a college student years ago. Nestled at the base of the Organ Mountains, the home encompasses two things: Sharon’s building and design skills and Danny’s lifelong love of horticulture. The result is a family residence where outdoor living is just as important as everything inside. Danny’s appreciation of horticulture and the outdoors began at a young age when he started mowing lawns in his native Wisconsin. “Since we lived on a lot of property, my mom always had me mow the grass, so it was just kind of a natural thing when I was a kid,” he says. “My parents had me go work on my grandma’s house, and then my grandma knew somebody, and on and on, so I started a little business.” When the family moved to Las Cruces during Danny’s teenage years, he took on the same role, mowing lawns for his father and grandmother, and for real estate properties that belonged to his uncle. “All of a sudden, I’ve got 40 or 50 lawns I’m taking care of as a 16-year-old kid, not ever thinking

Left: The Wassers’ home emerges from a landscape that combines organic elements with manmade materials like metal cactus sculptures. Here, staggered planters add color to one corner of the entryway.



The main living space includes open-plan living and a formal dining room with large, exposed wooden beams that give the room its rustic Southwestern style. For texture, Sharon included a wooden mantel above the fireplace flanked by intricately carved corbels. Natural light streams in through large windows and glass doors, and the beauty of the outdoors peeks straight into their home. “The main thing that catches people’s eye is walking through the front door and the mountains are right there,” says Danny. “That’s what this is all about; that’s what it means to live out here.” From the living area, a hallway leads to the kitchen, where it’s clear the Wassers spend most of their time. “Our favorite part of the house is our kitchen and hearth area,” says Sharon. “We designed the house so that this would be our central hub.” The couple wanted a large, eat-in kitchen complete with a spacious, granite-topped island so their two children could plug in, do homework, and work on projects in a comfortable environment. For Sharon, a butler’s pantry, double ovens and a huge Viking refrigerator—in cardinal red—and plenty of pantry space provide everything she needs to serve up home-cooked meals for the

Kitchen cabinets by South Main Woodworks feature a rustic finish to coordinate with the backsplash and textured range hood.

this was going to be my vocation in life,” he laughs. After starting college as a chemical engineering major, Danny grew tired of the math involved, so his mother offered up a suggestion: Do something with grass. So he did. In 1990, he began working with Randy Farmer of The Greenhouse in Las Cruces and learned everything he could about the business. “It started with a job that I really wanted to do, and between Randy and I, we grew the business,” he says. “He mentored me with the intention of selling the business to me someday and taught me all the other things associated with owning a business.” Ten years later, Danny purchased the maintenance division of The Greenhouse, and it became what is now Wasser and Wasser Inc., his own residential and commercial landscaping company. And when it came time to build a new home for his family, Danny wanted a place with plenty of room to let his imagination run wild for the outdoors. Luckily, as the owner of Organ Vista Builders, his wife Sharon was a seasoned pro ready to design a home that would feature her husband’s work, take advantage of the—you guessed it—Organ Mountain views, and most importantly, provide a comfortable place for their family. 48

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Underneath the range, drawers offer additional storage space for cooking pots and utensils.

Left: A must-have for Sharon, cheery red Viking appliances call attention to the family’s favorite room in the house. This timeless hue works as an accent color in the kitchen, offset by neutral tones in the cabinetry and granite.

Details like wrought iron cross bars over these windows give the home even more Southwestern flair.

A nicho in the open space between the living area and kitchen is used to showcase dÊcor and display the family’s china collection.

“We love the Organ Mountains and the views,” says Sharon. With both in mind, she built the home so that every main living area embraces the spectacular scene through expansive windows.

family. She also took into consideration a more private area for her family and included a TV room adjacent to the kitchen filled with cozy seating where everyone can lounge together on movie nights. Outdoors, Danny was free to put his ideas to work. Inspired by both the green of the Midwest and the gorgeous desert surroundings of Las Cruces, he created different landscaped areas that meshed the two together. As a result, the home has a few distinct outdoor spaces (the backyard, a side porch, and a front entryway), each with their own personality and function. “We designed the backyard for entertaining,” says Sharon. “We wanted people to come out and make themselves at home.” The backyard includes a living area shaded by a handcrafted wooden pergola and a lush, green lawn that children always gravitate toward during family gatherings. Of course, this is also a place for ultimate relaxation. With a panoramic view of the Organs in the distance and trickling water features incorporated into the landscape, it’s easy to see why the Wassers spend so much time outdoors. “What I love is that we have several outdoor areas that we can enjoy,” says Sharon. “Our 50

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Vibrant, orange trumpet flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the yard.

The home’s traditional butler’s pantry shares the style, design, and color palette of the kitchen, creating an effortless flow between the two spaces. Above, left: A hammered copper pantry sink.

Nestled at the base of the Organ Mountains, the home encompasses two things: Sharon’s building and design skills and Danny’s lifelong love of horticulture.

An oversized wooden hutch tucked into the kitchen features contrasting tones of rich brown. A centered window pulls the stunning view of the Organs right into the room.

Flowering shrubs and ocotillo cactus add brightness and dimension to Danny’s landscape design.


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“Our back patio faces the Organs, and our side patio faces the horizon, so you can either watch the sunset on the horizon or watch it against the mountains.” —Sharon Wasser back patio faces the Organs, and our side patio faces the horizon, so you can either watch the sunset on the horizon or watch it against the mountains.” And whether any member of the family is looking for sun or shade, well, there’s a place for both at all times. “If you want to be outside all the time you can kind of maneuver your way around the house based on the direction of the sun,” says Danny. It’s impossible to overlook the stunning views that surround the Wasser home, but there’s also something to be said about the teamwork between husband and wife that made it all happen. By harmoniously coupling their skills in horticulture and home design, they’ve created spaces that are stunning, both inside and out.

Though the concept for the landscape evolved over time, Danny’s focus was to make sure the yard would have color year-round and also be easy on the environment with low water usage.

resources Builder Organ Vista Builders, LLC Family Room Cabinetry Sher-Wood Fine Wood Designs Kitchen Cabinetry South Main Woodworks Landscaping Wasser & Wasser Inc.



Above: The backyard’s outdoor living area serves as an extension of the home, with the same attention to detail in dÊcor and intricate wooden elements such as the handcrafted pergola with twisted posts. 56

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Above, center: An expansive lawn with the Organ Mountains as a backdrop is the perfect place for parties. The Wassers recently hosted their daughter’s wedding here, among the gorgeous scenery.

Autumn 2015 Advertisers 150 Sunset - Nursery............................back cover A-1 Kitchens by Sierra............................................5 Acme Brick...............................................................41 Americh, Inc.............................................................45 Atrium Wrought Iron..........................................50 Austins Fine Jewelry...............................................11 Bank 34........................................................................31 Bella Vista Custom Homes................................13 Belle Sucre................................................................68 Builders Source Appliance Gallery....................1 C & D Southwest Lumber Corp....................27 Casa Decor................................................................27 Classic Granite & Marble..................................30 Classic New Mexico Homes.............................15 Closet Factory..........................................................59 Connie Hines Interior Design.........................17 COMAF....................................................................38 Copenhagen............................................................40 Crown Heritage Homes..................................58 Decorating Den......................................................25 Design & Construction by Debbie Salome.....58 Designs by L.L. Power & Assoc.......................29 Diemer Building & Remodeling.....................61 Edible Arrangements............................................68 El Paso Home & Garden Show........................72 Engel Coatings Inc..................................................51 Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.....39 Festival of Homes..................................................42 Habitat for Humanity..........................................26 Johnny’s Septic........................................................30 Las Cruces Awning Co..........................................4 McCormick Architecture.....................................4 McGinley Construction......................................25 Milliken Construction.........................................54 MountainView Regional Medical.................65 Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio...............................9 Palm Court Center..................................................1 Pella Windows..........................inside front cover Plaster Queen..........................................................45 Pointe Homes...........................................................53 Ponderosa Furniture..............inside back cover Quiñones Design/Build................................19, 52 Rawson Building Supply.....................................26 ReMax Classic Realty...........................................52 Ross Landers Interiors........................................59 Security National Mortgage........................43, 59 Sher-Wood Fine Wood Designs.....................55 Southwest Greens of NM.................................56 Southwestern Home Products..........................55 Spencer Theater..............................................63, 70 Star Beverages / WB Liquors...............................71 Stonehouse Granite & Marble.........................28 Stone Masters..........................................................56 Stout Hardwood Floor Co.................................37 Sue & Jennifer Woo................................................8 The Hospitals of Providence................................3 The Iron Snail........................................................44 The Kitchen at 150 Sunset..................................69 The State Line.........................................................69 Torres Welding.......................................................28 Vanities.......................................................................63 Western Stoves & Fireplaces..............................57 Westside Lighting Gallery..................................44 58

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Vida Buena

by Danielle Urbina

cool Colorado

Carl Scofield

two small ski towns with big personalities

Hitting the slopes is easy in Colorado, where there’s a wide variety of ski options. Aspen and Breckenridge offer endless snowy terrain for beginners, experts, and everyone in between.


In additional to worldclass skiing, Aspen and Breckenridge offer a host of other recreational activities including hiking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, sledding, and winter biking.

Liam Doran

The historic Gold Pan Saloon in Breckenridge swung its doors open in 1879 and has been a local favorite for more than 130 years.


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or some active types, the best time of year to be outdoors is not only when temperatures drop, but when the snow starts to fall. Colorado has long been a mecca for skiers and travelers looking for fall and winter recreation, excellent dining, and plenty of Western history. Two of Colorado’s favorite skiing destinations, Aspen and Breckenridge in the westerncentral part of the state, pull visitors in like magnets. Every year, vacationers flock to these small towns (Aspen’s year-round population is a little under 7,000; Breckenridge is just over 4,700), which swell in size during the winter months with tourists eager to take advantage of great skiing at impressive elevations (7,890 for Aspen and 9,600 for Breckenridge). Though each town has its own personality, both offer something for everyone, which makes them among the top-rated ski vacation destinations for travelers from all over the world. In Aspen, black diamond terrain at Aspen Mountain is a ski enthusiast’s dream. While the mountain is full of slopes for skiers of all levels, Aspen Mountain Powder Tours takes it to the next level, offering fresh tracks located at the back of the mountain for an unparalleled adventure. Aspen is also home to three other mountains (Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass); each brings something unique to Aspen’s atmosphere, whether it’s Snowmass’s family-friendly vibe or the big-mountain terrain of the Highland Bowl at Aspen Highlands. With an average of 25 feet of powdery snow each year, Breckenridge offers excellent skiing and snowboarding at one of the most popular resorts in America, the Breckenridge Ski Resort. Breck (as the locals call it) offers five peaks spanning 2,908 acres, terrain parks, bowls, super pipes, and the highest chair lift in North America. Not into skiing or snowboarding? Check out excellent hiking (especially in the fall), rock climbing, snowshoeing, sledding, and winter biking. Take a hike in Aspen’s picturesque Maroon Bells (they’re said to be the most photographed peaks in North America), or get your thrills by exploring historic mining ruins and snowshoeing across the manicured trails at Breckenridge’s two Nordic centers. Of course all that time spent playing outdoors is bound to work up an appetite, and the dining in both towns is superb. Foodies will be delighted to venture into any one of the

Liam Doran

You Can Teach an Old House New Tricks!

Above: Autumn is just as beautiful as winter in Colorado—and even more colorful. Enjoy mountain and road biking across miles of golden scenery that includes Aspen’s namesake trees.

more than 80 eateries in downtown Aspen, offering everything from homestyle American cooking to innovative plantbased menus. In Breckenridge, great dining is everywhere, both on and off the slopes. Four peaks on Breck’s mountain offer delicious eats for hungry skiers, while restaurants in the town’s historic district serve up great food and a slice of history. Don’t miss the Gold Pan Saloon—rumor has it that this bar is the oldest operating saloon west of the Mississippi. If you prefer your speed dial set to low, stroll through the Aspen Museum of Art’s expansive collection of contemporary art, or take in a show at either the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet or Theatre Aspen where performers garner rave reviews. Learn more about Breckenridge by taking a tour of some of the town’s most famous historical sites; afterward you may find yourself enjoying a cold one at the original Breckenridge Brewery. Wherever you end up, you’ll find that there’s not one reason to love Aspen and Breckenridge— there are many.


Imagine the Possibilities

Aspen Chamber of Commerce Breckenridge Tourism


performance October through December

live at El Paso’s Don Haskins Center for a night of revelation. Caputo will engage the audience with personal stories about her unique gift and give readings to members of the audience.


Curious about psychic readings? Now might be your chance to learn more. Theresa Captuo, psychic medium and star of Long Island Medium, will appear 62

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Rooted deep in the Mexican culture familiar to so many in the Southwest, Ballet Folklorico de Mexico tells the story of Mexico, from the pre-Columbian civilization to the early 20th century. Under the direction of Amalia Hernandez, the show includes a 50-piece ensemble of some of Mexico’s best dancers.


Tennessee native Chris Young brings his award-winning music to El Paso this fall. After winning USA Network’s Nashville Star in 2006, Young has been burning up the airwaves with hits like “Gettin’ You Home,” “Tomorrow,” and “Who I Am With You.” Don’t miss a chance to see the country star as he tours the United States promoting his upcoming fifth album.

African culture is this October at Inn of the Mountain Gods.


Irish singer and songwriter Hozier has been in the music business for years, but after the release of his debut album Hozier and a stellar performance with Annie Lennox at the 2015 Grammy Awards, the artist sped to superstardom. This fall he’s touring internationally and making a stop at the Abraham Chavez Theatre to perform his hits “From Eden,” “Cherry Wine,” the Grammy-nominated “Take Me To Church,” and more. CIRQUE ZUMA ZUMA 7:00 pm, INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS, RUIDOSO, OCTOBER 24

Cirque Zuma Zuma is unlike any show you’ve seen. High-flying performers put on an energetic show that includes female African dancers, acrobats, Gabonese tumblers, contortionists, and so much more. Your chance to see this electrifying performance based on


Musical director and conductor Keith Levenson brings together Broadway vocalists and his New York–based Curtain Up Orchestra for a musical adventure celebrating “The Great American Songbook.” The hit show features songs from Broadway shows, radio, and television during the Big Band era.


Country music and comedy? Why not? Multitalented Rodney Carrington combines the two for an experience that keeps his audience entertained from start to finish. His Here Comes the Truth tour hits the stage in El Paso for one night only, so don’t miss your chance to see one of the nation’s best standup comedians.


Every piece is unique and special Pandora I Candles I Fabulous Furs I Holiday Gifts and Much Much More

915 584 1183


Monday - Saturday 10am - 6pm

One of Australia’s most popular entertainment success stories, this 10-member a cappella group makes its way to the Spencer Theater this holiday season. Hitting the road with a new festive show, Home for the Holidays, the Aussie superstars will perform a mix of classical music as well as contemporary holiday tunes including “White Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland.”


Join the Dali’ Ballet company just in time for the holidays for a spectacular night of dance. The company’s adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic features dazzling sugar plum fairies, a Christmas tree that grows to 40 feet, and an exciting set that comes to life. It’s timeless fun for the whole family. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Vida Buena

Su Libro

by Stephanie Rodriguez

healthy skin

a colorful past

… from the inside out

Havana Modern: 20th-Century Architecture and Interiors, by Michael Connors, Rizzoli New York, hardcover, $65


f the current administration is indeed able to restore U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba, as it hopes, “the land that time forgot” may well soon become “the land the world rediscovered.” And should that plan come to full fruition, author Michael Connors’s stunning coffee table book Havana Modern: 20th-Century Architecture and Interiors is well timed to serve tourists finally able to visit Cuba as an introduction to the buildings and architecture of that island nation. The author notes that in the capital of Havana,

Your skin loves water, and you’ll love the taste of fresh, cool H2O infused with cucumber, mint, or fruit.



S U C A S A A utumn 2015

Néstor Martí


ooking for radiant, glowing skin? Put down the fast food and plan a trip to your local farmers market. It holds the key to healthy, beautiful skin, says nutritionist Adali Hernandez, President of the El Paso Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Although the skin care industry is constantly putting out new products that promise to firm, brighten, and clear, sometimes it’s what you put into your body that makes all the difference. Next time you sit down to eat, look at your meal. “If your plate doesn’t look like a rainbow, it’s probably not rich in antioxidants,” Hernandez says. Found in foods like strawberries, blueberries, carrots, plums, and kale, antioxidants fight free radicals, which cause damage such as cell destruction and premature aging. A diet high in antioxidants contains vitamins A, C, and E, along with beta-carotene. Vitamins C and E both fight UV damage, while vitamin A helps to clear breakouts. Beta-carotene—found in promotes overall eye and skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in walnuts, almonds, fortified eggs, and wild-caught salmon, improve skin quality and act as a barrier from environmental damage from harming skin cells and keeping skin supple and wrinkle-free. “If you eat the recommended fruit and veggies diet, you’ll get what you need throughout the day,” says Hernandez. “The better you eat, the better you look.” Other tips: Eliminate smoking completely, and drink plenty of water—plain or infused. Combine cucumber with mint, watermelon with basil leaves, or throw in a mix of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries for refreshing flavor. Can’t stick to the healthy skin diet daily? Don’t fret. Go for simple changes, like ordering a side salad in place of fries and incorporating fish into meals a couple of times a week. The old saying “you are what El Paso Academy of Nutrition you eat” has never been more true.

there are “examples of every Western architectural style that exists from the past 500 years.” And yet, the largest part of the city was built between 1902 and 1959, the year of the revolution. Art deco and Beaux-Arts architectural styles, with Cuban elements, were popular. Between WWII and the mid1960s, architecture in Havana was influenced by modernist heavy-hitters such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and other architects favoring rectilinear cubism. Havana Modern, through gorgeous color photography by Néstor Martí, brings us face to face with those buildings, theaters, hotels, homes, churches, and schools. Some structures, like the art deco Bacardi building (former headquarters of the Bacardi Rum empire) are well preserved and have even been renovated. Others, such as the former Garatti’s School of Ballet and Roberto Gottardi’s School of Dramatic Arts— examples of Cuban expressionist architecture— lie in ruins. It is interesting—perhaps fitting—that just as the United States is poised to reestablish relations with Cuba, whose development was essentially put on hold in 1959, a renewed passion for midcentury modern everything is currently sweeping the world. Finding and restoring authentic homes, buildings, furniture, and art from the 1940s through the late 1960s has become an international obsession; Americans happily travel to Europe, Denmark, and Australia to find original examples of the era. Havana is about to become the next big destination for modern architecture and design, and Havana Modern is like a sensuous, colorful travel brochure—a glimpse into Cuba’s architecturally rich history and its time capsule of modernism. Heretofore visited by only a few, someday—perhaps very soon—its beauty and its forgotten architecture will be enjoyed and appreciated by many.—Amy Gross

Su Cocina

by Danielle Urbina

photographs by Nohemy Gonzalez

from generation to generation

timeless family recipes and traditions are the best gifts money can’t buy


always marvel at the way recipes are handed down from generation to generation. Recipes are timeless, they make memories, and they’re close to the heart. My own family has so many of these tried and true recipes, and I realize that food (and the sharing of it) has played an important role between us for decades, and that it all started with the women in my family. My sister Ashley and I frequently spent Friday nights with my grandparents at their home in central El Paso. After nights of endless coloring and playing with my Aunt Cathy’s makeup, we would wake up to the smell of fresh tortillas in the kitchen, prepared by my grandma (Olga) and Maria, the wonderful woman who helped care for two generations of children: my mom, my aunt, my uncle, and all of their children, too. Maria would set two miniature-sized balls of dough on the tile countertop, and Ashley and I would smash them down into flat discs before they were set on the comal to cook, and then devoured with our breakfast. My family loves food. My grandpa, Frank, is a butcher by trade, and my great-grandmother Maria (Mama Mary to everyone who knew her) was an excellent cook. A strong woman—one of the first to work at El Paso City Lines in El Paso during WorldWar II— Mama Mary showed love through her cooking. Cathy and her daughter Lauren put the final touches on Chef Bowden’s rustic apple galette before it hits the oven.

Above: The Martinez women (from left), Ida, Olga, and Cathy, are joined by Chef Jonathan Bowden of Belle Sucre Bakery. “When I was a young girl, I can remember the wonderful aromas coming from my grandmother’s small kitchen,” says my mother Ida. “There were always large pots of brewing beans or soup. She made coffee in an enamel-type percolator and warmed the milk on the stove before pouring it into a small cup of coffee that tasted like a little slice of heaven.” Hearing how much work my great-grandmother put into something as simple as a cup of coffee makes me wonder what she would think about the black coffee habit I developed in journalism school. Mama Mary passed years ago, but we keep her memory alive not only by cooking her signature dishes but by sticking together as a family through every stage of life.

Mama Mary passed years ago, but we keep her memory alive not only by cooking her signature dishes but by sticking together as a family through every stage of life. My mother likes to say, “We raise our kids in a village-like environment.” Which is why Grandma and Aunt Cathy have always been two motherly figures in my life, even to this day. “We’re all different characters who balance each other out,” says Aunt Cathy. “My mom and my sister are two strong women that I look up to and respect immensely. We support each other in good times and bad.” These three women have passed on so much to my siblings, cousins, and me—everything from important life lessons to recipes we’ve learned to make with precision like grandma’s enchilada sauce or her famous banana pudding. In this family, the holidays are a very special time. You can’t walk into anyone’s home without leaving with a full stomach and a plate of leftovers. (Don’t ever try to say no to the leftovers.) Wanting to incorporate a new tradition into our old ones, my family invited Chef Jonathan Bowden of Belle Sucre Bakery to Aunt Cathy’s house to prepare some lovely fall 66

S U C A S A A utumn 2015

desserts: Mama Mary’s pumpkin empanadas and Chef Bowden’s rustic galettes, each perfect for fall holidays, and each with their own recipe and history. Chef Bowden has been in the kitchen since the age of 15. After completing culinary school, he became an American Culinary Federation–certified Executive Pastry Chef. Needless to say, he knows his stuff, and my family has been buying his bread, pastries, and macarons for years. So naturally, everyone jumped at the chance to get in the kitchen with him to do some fall baking. Chef Bowden immediately put everyone to work—Mom and Grandma on prep duty and Aunt Cathy and Lauren (her daughter and the youngest of the Martinez clan) on the delicate dough needed to make both apple and pear-almond galettes. Chef Bowden explained each task step by step, and it’s clear that to Mama Mary’s him, pastry making is an art and requires attention to all the small Pumpkin details. It reminded me strongly Empanadas of the way Mama Mary taught everyone how to cook. The connection between In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, and salt and mix until comMakes 12 empanadas Chef Bowden and my family bined. Add the cold butter and break up the cubes with your was formed almost instantly, and hands until the mixture resembles crumbs. Pour in whisked eggs Dough: everyone worked together happily and milk and mix thoroughly. 3 cups all-purpose flour in the kitchen, laughing and getForm dough into a ball and add milk by the tablespoon if dough doesn’t stick together. Once a ball is formed, knead the 2 tablespoons sugar ting to know one another while dough on a floured surface and add flour as needed (if your breaking up cold butter into the 1/4 teaspoon salt dough is sticky). Separate dough into four balls, wrap them in dough and brushing freshly baked 2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30–45 minutes. cut into cubes pastries with sweet honey. In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in Watching as everyone, includpumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, 2 eggs, whisked and salt, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often. ing Chef Bowden, gathered 2–3 tablespoons milk Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool together over wine, coffee, and to room temperature. homemade dessert, it became Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with Filling: even more apparent to me that parchment paper. 2 cups pumpkin puree food, a universal need, is what Working with one ball of dough at a time (make sure the oth1/2 cup brown sugar ers remain refrigerated), on a floured surface, roll out the dough brings people together—families into a thin sheet. Cut out circles about 6 inches across (re-rolling 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and friends, both old and new. scraps). Add 1/3 cup of filling in the center of each circle and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg Mama Mary used to say, Mi regalo fold over, creating a half-moon shape. Using a fork, gently crimp para ustedes es mi comida. “My gift 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves the edges to seal the empanadas. Transfer to the baking sheet. to you is my food.” But she gave Pierce the center of each empanada and brush with an egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20–25 minutes or until us so much more than that—she 1/4 teaspoon salt the empanadas are golden brown in color. gave us the gift of life, family, and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. friendship, and that’s certainly the gift that keeps on giving. Pears simmer in a poaching liquid with fresh vanilla bean, cinnamon, and star anise (below, left) while the galette dough comes together (below, right). Left: Juicy, sliced pears are placed over an almond pastry cream.

resources Belle Sucre Bakery SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



a taste of heaven expand your wine knowledge one delicious sip at a time


ow do you learn about wine? Taste, taste, taste. Local wine shops regularly offer consumer tastings—gratis, or for a modest fee. Wine festivals and special events proffer as many as 60 to 100 wines for easy sampling. To help you enjoy participating in a tasting, here are some tips and etiquette. At your favorite wine emporiums, ask to be signed up for emails announcing their tastings. Best not to put away a three-course meal before attending one; your senses should be

Try everything. Don’t pass on whites because you only like cabernet. Broadening your palate will expand your knowledge and pleasure. alert and ready to perceive aromas and flavors. Likewise, going into a tasting on a completely empty stomach won’t do you any favors, either. Larger venues and festival events will have food, but most in-store tastings are casual, with a half-dozen or more wines of a particular variety, region, or winemaker on offer. Rarer are vertical tastings (the same wine from different vintages) or horizontal (same type of wine in a single vintage).


S U C A S A A utumn 2015

by James Selby Wines will be arranged in order from the lightest and simplest to the fullest and most complex. Try everything. Don’t pass on whites because you only like cabernet. Broadening your palate will expand your knowledge and pleasure. Wine shops will provide disposable cups at a tasting; it’s perfectly correct—and polite—to use the same cup throughout. You’re welcome to bring your own wine glass since it will enhance tasting of the wines and allow you to see and smell them better. If packing glass seems risky, consider reusable, stemless acrylicware like that made by Govino. It gets crowded around a tasting table. Don’t be shy about putting your arm out to get a sample, then step out of the fray and focus on your taste. Use the “Six S” method: See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, Savor, Spit. “That’s disgusting!” a woman said to me at a tasting. “People are spitting in that bucket!” “But, madam,” I replied, “it’s a ‘spit bucket.’” “Well, I’m not spitting!” she said indignantly. Remember that a dozen oneounce samples is equivalent to half a bottle of wine. Don’t let your enthusiasm for new wines impair your ability to judge them, let alone drive afterward. Take notes you can refer back to. The wine shop may provide printed handouts for this, or you can bring a designated journal. Moleskine makes several specifically for wine. Tastings are a wonderful way to sample a slew of different wines—at little to no cost—so that you can make informed decisions about how to invest your wine dollars later. Be safe, ask questions, and have fun! James Selby has directed wine programs in New York, Portland, and Santa Fe, where he lives and works as a wine consultant and writer.



who’s pouring? Whether you’re a novice wine drinker or dedicated oenophile, there’s a wine tasting event happening around El Paso and Southern New Mexico you should check out. Here’s a sample (pun intended) of just a few of the many wine bars, wineries, and restaurants that regularly offer tastings.

Amaro Winery

402 S Melendres St, Las Cruces 575-527-5310 Enjoy tastings of Amaro’s red and white varietals Wednesday through Sunday (see website for times). $9 includes a tasting of all wines; $5 to taste only sweet wines or only dry wines. Local food trucks join in the fun on Friday nights.

La Viña Winery

4201 S Hwy 28, La Union, NM 575-882-7632 The tasting room of “New Mexico’s Oldest Winery” is open from noon–5 PM every day except Wednesday. Tours of the winery are at 11 AM by appointment only.

Mystic Grape Wine Bar & Suds

2270 Joe Battle Blvd, Stes B & C, El Paso 915-921-6277 Sample red and white flights from $5–$10, as well as any of 48 wines sold by the ounce. Offerings change by the season.

Sombra Antigua Winery

43 La Vina Rd, Anthony, NM 915-241-4349 The tasting room is open Thursday through Monday from noon–6 PM, with live music most Saturdays.

Spec’s of El Paso

7933 N Mesa (915-584-3300) 655 Sunland Park Dr (915-584-1008) 5100 Montana Ave (915-887-0970) On most Fridays and Saturdays, Spec’s stores offer tastings of wines from various vintners, typically between 11 AM–8 PM. Call the store nearest you to see what’s being sampled.

St. Clair Winery & Bistro

1720 Avenida De Mesilla, Las Cruces 575-524-2408 In the bistro, do a tasting with the bartender (six pours) or at your table (three pours), anytime between 11 AM–9 PM (Sunday through Thursday) or 11 AM–10 PM (Friday and Saturday).

WB Liquors of El Paso

2500 N Mesa (915-533-2428) 6104 N Mesa (915-833-8166) 6950 Montana, Ste 1 (915-779-6710) 1188 N Yarbrough (915-594-8243) 1840 Lee Trevino (915-592-4503) Regular tastings of domestic and foreign vintners at any of WB Liquors’ 12 locations. Tastings typically start at 4 PM. Contact your closest store for tasting details.

Zin Valle Vineyards

7315 Canutillo-La Union Rd, Canutillo, TX 915-877-4544 On Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, visit the tasting room between noon–5 PM. Enjoy three free tastes, then five tastes for $5.



Su Sasa South Autumn 2015 Digital Edition  
Su Sasa South Autumn 2015 Digital Edition