Page 1


El Paso & Southern New Mexico


getaway 速

inspiration ideas resources

rebuilding history along the Gila River

power house El Paso home an keeps on going


backyard paradise

spring planting


VOL. 2 NO. 2 SPRING 2014


our dirty little secret We’ll help you clean up & save on name brand appliances! [And We’re not just tAlking About WAshers & dishWAshers!]

Serving the SouthweSt Since 1993

eL PASo: 6560 Montana Ave . 915.775.1000 . .

el PAso . lAs CruCes . AlbuQuerQue . sAntA Fe

no one offers more name brand appliances under one roof. Plus, you’ll find the best professional delivery, installation & service. Check us out. You’ll never go anywhere else!

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

inspiration ideas resources



36 home-schooled

From a custom heating system to a self-secured timber frame, a retiring couple builds their home exactly the way they want to.

48 a family hideaway

Rich in history and family ties, a New Mexico ranch gets some muchneeded TLC, but retains its old-fashioned charm.

58 power house On the journey to becoming a veteran interior designer, Lynda Power brought a touch of Midwestern style to the design of her El Paso home.

68 function for the future


Traditional Tuscan design elements and a spacious floor plan provide both efficiency and beauty for an El Paso family looking to downsize. S U C A S A S P R I N G 2014


Bill Faulkner


6 Inside Su Casa

8 Life+Style Southwest A resort-style backyard with spectacular views, spring flowers perfect for the Southwest, tips on how to use trendy backyard party lights, Steve Thomas’s advice on remodeling bathrooms, and a chic El Paso kitchen. 24 Design Studio

Charms for your light fixtures, Robert Carlson’s imaginative works of art, Jan Barboglio’s cultural home accessories, and the scoop on Talavera tile.

74 Su Libro

Plenty of ideas and inspiration for remodeling your bathroom in a new book by Sandra Soria.

80 Vida Buena

Vocalist Candice Reyes talks jazz, gearing up for the second annual Las Cruces Country Music Festival, a Q & A with country starlet Cassadee Pope, a soullifting spa in Arizona, and the quirky and eclectic town of Marfa, Texas.

86 Live Performance Calendar

Spring is packed with art and music in El Paso and Southern New Mexico.

96 Su Cocina A fresh outlook for El Paso’s Magic Bistro, sweet shops that will satisfy your cravings, and a roundup of bright kitchen gadgets.

104 D ream On An infinity pool seamlessly opens into a small lake in this modern home’s backyard.

Rudy Torres


On the cover: The carefully designed outdoor living spaces of this El Paso home maximize views of the Franklin Mountains. More on page 58. Photo by Bill Faulkner.


Inside Su Casa

our own little paradise


Bruce Adams Publisher


S U C A S A S P R I N G 2014


hether your home is big or small, it is still your own little paradise that you can fashion precisely to your needs, personal aesthetic, and enjoyment. Our home is our castle—one of the few places where we have almost complete control. While one homeowner might envision a design others might call zany, it’s their zany design and provides them a joy the rest of us might not share. Doesn’t matter. It’s that individual’s own little paradise, and you can have yours as well. In the spring, our paradise extends to the outdoors. Whether you have a small balcony or an oversized yard, the options to enhance your outdoor living spaces are vast. Our climate, while posing some challenges with heat and dryness, also presents some opportunities. Evenings are long and warm, perfect for outdoor lounging. Water features are especially appreciated in this climate. As you will see, there are many species of colorful flowers that can flourish here. Another great way to introduce color is the inclusion of patio lanterns to brighten and light up your summer evening events. What an easy way to add color, personality, design, and atmosphere to your outdoor living. While you’re enjoying the outdoors, why not put one of the contractors presented in this issue of Su Casa to work on your home’s interior? Let’s face it, the inconveniences of a remodeling project are more easily endured from the comfort of a patio lounger! In this issue, you’ll see how five different families worked with builders and remodelers to creative innovative, welcoming, and beautiful interior spaces, from an extraordinary kitchen to the renovation of a historic family ranch. Often, times of change in our lives precipitate a new home or a remodel, such as when family members move in or out, or when hobbies and interests change. Or perhaps it’s you who have changed, and that 1980s vibe just doesn’t fit who you are today. Spring is the perfect time, as you wander through the homes featured in these pages, to consider (or reconsider) what your own little paradise looks like. Making it a reality can be easy and a wonderful way to enjoy the season.

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 Associate Editor Phil Parker Contributors Avraham Elias, Tiffany Etterling Cassie McClure, R. Monroe, Jessica Muncrief Julieta Rios, Steve Thomas Lead Graphic Designer Sybil Watson Designer & Media Specialist Michelle Odom Photography Avraham Elias, Bill Faulkner Tony Skarlatos, 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 818-286-3164

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 El Paso & Southern New Mexico Volume 02, Number 2, Spring 2014. Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico is published quarterly in March, June, September, and December by Bella Media, LLC at 215 W. San Francisco Street, Suite 300, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA, Phone (505) 983-1444. ŠCopyright 2013/2014 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. single-copy 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, SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Life+Style Southwest a day at the beach

Connie Hines Interior Design 575-523-1809

8 8

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

Bill Faulkner

Landlocked, you say? This whimsical Las Cruces bathroom brings the seaside to New Mexico. Designer Connie Hines didn’t spare the blue, from the light blue walls, painted to resemble the sky, to gleaming ocean-hued tiles underneath, reminiscent of a sparkling body of water. For modern flair, a platinum light fixture and equally shiny stainless sink are built into the glass countertop, while the contemporary faucet is mounted directly onto the tilelined wall. A gold mirror—a porthole, naturally—adds even more authentic nautical flair.



Life+Style Southwest

by Jessica Muncrief

Photographs by Bill Faulkner

tropical paradise A spectacular backyard transformation that’s kid-approved

With the Franklin Mountains in full view, water flows into the scenic infinity-edge pool.


hen Duncan and Crystal McDonald bought a West El Paso home for their growing family, they were pleased to find that the home itself didn’t require an extensive overhaul to make it their own. They remodeled the bathrooms and made a few aesthetic changes, but for the most part it was ready to move in. The surrounding landscape, however, was another story. “It was weeds and dirt, basically,” Crystal remembers. “The home had been vacant for three years when we moved in, so you can imagine what kind of shape the yard was in after that neglect.” With three very active young boys in their brood—Hunter, 7; Dane, 4; and Bodhi, 3 months—an outdoor space for burning off energy was right at the top of the McDonalds’ priority list. “We wanted more grass for the kids to play on, and room for a swing set. We were also looking for something very user-friendly,” says Crystal. Fortunately, she already had someone in mind for the job: local landscape designer Mark Nash. After seeing his work at friends’ homes, Crystal had gained an appreciation for his creativity and the serenity of his style. The deal was sealed when Nash took her on a tour of his own home. There, Crystal saw the rustic, yet elegant, rock work she imagined in her own yard. “We told him what we liked, but he was definitely the creative one on the project,” she says. First, the main lawn area just out the back doors was extended to make room for a swing set. Shade trees were added to protect the play area during the hot summer months. 10

S U C A S A S P R I N G 2014

To create a lush, tropical oasis vibe, Nash incorporated waterfalls into the pool and surrounded the entire area with four different types of cold-hardy palm trees.

From the koi pond to the poolside waterfall, each element of the backyard comes together harmoniously.



Next, Nash tackled the all-important pool area. “There was an existing pool, and the general layout was nice,” recalls Nash, “but it was overgrown, and the pool was surrounded by big fake boulders. They looked like big dinosaur eggs.” The fake boulders disappeared, replaced with moss rock brought in from Colorado. “That moss rock became the theme for the whole landscape,” says Nash. “We used it to build all the stone walls, and used moss rock flagstone for the patio.” To create a lush, tropical oasis vibe, Nash incorporated waterfalls into the pool and surrounded the entire area with four different types of cold-hardy palm trees: sago, Mexican fan, Phoenix, and Mediterranean. With the family-oriented elements complete,

“We wanted more grass for the kids to play on, and room for a swing set. We were also looking for something very user-friendly.” —Crystal McDonald Colorado moss rock walls, a pair of rustic wooden doors, and a stone bench surround the open space of the kids’ play area. Above: A soothing koi pond runs through a cozy patio area.

Nash and the McDonalds both agreed that a cozy area with a little more privacy was also in order. A small patio tucked into a back corner just off the master bedroom fit the bill perfectly. Under an expansive shade pergola, Nash erected a stately stone fireplace and incorporated the trickling tranquility of a koi pond. “Each area is really its own entity,” he notes. Crystal readily admits that Nash exceeded the family’s expectations and that they’re surprised at just how much use they get out of their kid-friendly oasis. “We love it, and we use it all year-round,” she says. “The kids are in the pool all summer. They use the play area pretty much all year. I’m always relaxing by the fish pond. The other night we all roasted marshmallows in the fireplace.” 12

S U C A S A S P R I N G 2014

resources Nash Patio & Garden 915-587-6000

Oversized, plush furnishings and an outdoor fan make the McDonalds’ spacious outdoor living area ultra-comfortable.



Life+Style Southwest

by Danielle Urbina

in full bloom

Colorful spring essentials for your desert landscape

Spring is finally upon us, and with the season comes plenty of sunshine to begin gardening. The Southwest is challenged when it comes to gardening; our dry heat and high temperatures often make it a bit more difficult to plant flowers, trees, and other greenery. So what grows well in the Southwest? El Paso Master Gardener Jim Hastings shares his expertise with Su Casa.


Euphorbia rigida


Sophora secundiflora

Type: Perennial shrub, evergreen Blooms: Spring Appearance: Blue, purple Light: Full sun to partial shade Maintenance: Prune the Texas mountain laurel often to avoid an

overgrown, shrubby appearance. Check on your blooms periodically, and pluck off any dead flowers to encourage new growth. Why it’s great: This shrub is a little bit of a show-off. The Texas mountain laurel blooms large flowers and features shiny, evergreen foliage. Get up close and you’ll notice its blooms smell just like grape soda.


Cercis canadensis

Type: Perennial, deciduous shrub or small tree Blooms: Spring Appearance: Lavender, pink Light: Partial to full shade Maintenance: These trees should be pruned regularly to maintain their shape and structure. Be sure to have insecticide handy; critters like spider mites, tree hoppers, and scale insects, which attach themselves to wood, can become problematic with redbud trees. Why it’s great: Besides their gorgeous hues and tendency to attract birds, the redbud’s flowers are edible and can be added to salads and other dishes for a dash of color. 14

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

© Ken Bosma,

Type: Perennial Blooms: Spring Appearance: Green flower with tiny yellow or orange petals in the center Light: Full sun to partial shade Maintenance: To keep gopher plants solid, trim them back by half after they bloom. Be sure to wear protective gear like gloves and eyewear when trimming the gopher plant, because its white sap can cause irritation to the skin and eyes. Why it’s great: The gopher plant can withstand super-hot summers, but also survives throughout cold winters—which is why it suits the Southwest just fine.

BEARDTONGUE Penstemon digitalis

Type: Perennial, semievergreen Blooms: Spring to summer Appearance: White Light: Full sun to partial shade Maintenance: Keep the flowers neat by cutting the bloom stalks once they’ve turned brown. Beware: These flowers are somewhat short-lived, so be sure to keep some extra seeds handy to rejuvenate your population. Why it’s great: The beardtongue’s long (2.5-foot) stems are topped with a grouping of tubular flowers, which makes them eye-catching and distinctive in most gardens. And because hummingbirds are attracted to the long bodies of tubular plants, you may very well get plenty of the little guys flitting around your garden.

El Paso Master Gardeners 915-566-1276



Life+Style Southwest

by Danielle Urbina

lighting Chic paper lanterns and strings of bright lights are the life of the party Warm spring weather is rolling in, which means outdoor gatherings are on the horizon. A party poolside or on the patio is Americana at its finest. Create an intimate party ambience by ditching the heavy outdoor spotlights. Party lights add the perfect soft, comfortable glow to any get-together. Does your party have a theme? Retailers like Target, Lowe’s, and Pier 1 Imports sell strings of party lights to match the theme or mood of any party (and even the style of any home when there’s not a guest in sight). String party lights range from simple clear bulbs to whimsical shapes. Look for butterflies and dragonflies, Japanese pagodas, stars, bamboo baskets, chiles, beer cans, and any number of other novelty designs. Paper lanterns are another option for spicing up your celebration. Not only do they come in various sizes (from string-style to large pendants), but colors range from plain white for a soft glow to bright shades of red and blue, or even damask and chevron patterns for a pop of style. If visions of hanging Christmas lights are dancing heavily in your head, take heart: Party lights are easy to put up and take down. If you don’t have existing hooks or nails throughout your outdoor living area, use temporary stick-on hooks (available at most hardware stores) and loop your lights up and over. Add a rustic twist to paper lanterns by hanging them on a string of twine. Just be careful not to use staples or other metal bonds to hang your lights, as they can pose an electrical hazard. Great entertainers know that the right decorations help set the mood and ambience of a party. Light up the night at your next gathering, and watch your guests go “Wow!”

From intricately designed lanterns to simpler, chic styles, party lights add a soft ambience to outdoor spaces. 16

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Pier 1 Imports and Target Brands, Inc. Opposite: Pier 1 Imports, Target Brands Inc., and Lowe’s


“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

Paper lanterns come in various styles, themes, and colors. This set from Pier 1 Imports features summery shades of blue in festive patterns.

luna sol media design

Distinctive Masterpiece Homes in the Mesilla Valley since 1973 w w w. q u i n o n e s d e s i g n b u i l d . c o m

575.524.8292 lic # 54879

by Steve Thomas

a tale of three bathrooms

Embracing small, highly designed spaces

Steve Thomas


hen I was a kid, we—three boys, two girls, my parents, and a baby girl—lived in a three-bedroom house in Southern California. One standardissue bathroom served the whole family, and no one ever thought this was a hardship. These days, “standard issue” means a well-appointed chamber (en suite, of course), and the idea of sharing a bathroom with someone else is a nonstarter. Not only are there more bathrooms in homes these days, but when you’re building or renovating a bath, choosing from thousands of fixtures, materials, and design features can make your head spin. My current renovation project is a small Shingle-style Victorian cottage in a seaside village in Maine. The house is 1,300 square feet on two floors, built from kit parts in 1905. Originally it had just one bathroom, a 5 x 7.5 ' chamber on the

Thinking of bathrooms as workspaces and accepting the constraints of time, space, and money will help you design the best bathroom possible in your home. Most building and renovation projects, especially bathrooms, are constrained by time, space, and money, but the really good design professionals I’ve worked with say the best projects are the ones that use constraints to their advantage. This was certainly true on our project. In an ideal world, we would have added a second bathroom on the second floor, but that would mean an expensive and time-consuming gut rehab of that floor, and sacrificing the small third bedroom/office. Instead, we took over a big bedroom closet and worked in a shower and a small laundry. Compact, but functional. The powder room on the main floor is really tiny, and being under the main stairs meant it could not be expanded. The solution here was to keep the space very simple—the same maple flooring as elsewhere, painted wood-paneled walls, and sparse but elegant fixtures.

The bath in the basement (which we now smugly refer to as the “garden level” since it does open onto the garden) is constrained by low ceilings and a tight but adequate footprint. Our concession to the head-scraping ceilings was a clawfoot tub with a hand spray. We also had to design the bathroom to accommodate a macerator pump. Here again, simple but elegant fixtures, painted wood paneling, and clean, compact design helped to create a very pleasant and functional subterranean bathroom. Spend an afternoon looking at bathrooms in shelter magazines and on websites and you’ll go into “design possibility overload.” But at the end of the day, a bathroom is a workspace. You use it to perform necessary hygienic tasks and then get on with your day. Thinking of bathrooms as workspaces and accepting the constraints of time, space, and money will help you design the best bathroom possible in your home.

A claw-foot tub with a hand spray can maximize space in a tiny bathroom.

Steve Thomas is a home renovation expert and the spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity International. 18

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Amy Gross

Douglas Merriam

second floor with sink, toilet, and claw-foot tub. A later owner removed the dangerously steep cellar stairs from the first floor to the basement and inserted a tiny powder room. Both bathrooms (along with the rest of the house) were in desperate need of renovation. Our plans called for converting the wet, spider-infested basement to dry, wholesome living space, and that required a third bathroom.

Life+Style Southwest

by Cassie McClure

Photographs by Bill Faulkner

black is the new brown Country roads and French castles inspire an El Paso kitchen

Copper tones in the paints, the use of spotlighting, and even the element of worn edges on the cabinets make the kitchen feel cozy. Above: Ink-black cabinetry and open space were Angela’s two must-haves. Her husband Robert got his wish for something ornate and palatial. 20

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Angela Santoscoy dreamed of black cabinets. Coming from West Virginia, she longed to express the “mountain country” touch she grew up with. But her husband, Dr. Robert Santoscoy, craved the elegance of a French palace. “I didn’t want to give him this big barn,” Angela says. “I wanted wood, but I didn’t want it to look like a cabin if he wanted a palace.” The trick was striking a balance between country elegance and ornate detail. Thanks to careful planning and the assistance of interior designer Lynda Power of Designs by L.L. Power & Associates, everybody got their wish. The Santoscoys’ kitchen is big. Really big. And yet the inky black wood, striking in its simple elegance, draws in guests and invites them to gather around the counters under the barreled, brick ceiling. Despite the kitchen’s complexity, there’s no competition between design elements: Old-world brick complements the intricate watercolor-type patterns on the ceiling (designs created freehand by Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio). Copper tones in the paints, the use of spotlighting, and even the element of worn edges on the cabinets pull light in from the windows and make the kitchen feel cozy—a place to be lived in.

“We used to have the Franklin High School football team here sitting on the counters and on the fireplace, and that’s how I wanted it to be used.” —Angela Santoscoy Left: From the barreled brick ceiling to the hammered copper sink, the kitchen employs many elements of rustic design.

The Santoscoys kept durability and usability diligently in mind during the design phase. With three sons, Angela and Robert needed something that would stand up to a house full of boys. “Each boy brings home six boys each,” says Angela. “We used to have the Franklin High School football team here sitting on the counters and on the fireplace, and that’s how I wanted it to be used.” A surprising twist emerged when the Santoscoys found an unusual travertine stone sink for their kitchen. Extremely sturdy and an unusual accent, it proved the perfect addition to their country-French crossover kitchen. The kicker: “It was originally an animal trough from India,” says Angela. “We needed an engine crank to put it in; it weighs 250 pounds.” Distinctive touches like the trough-turned-sink made interior designer Power fall in love with the kitchen. “It’s one of my favorite kitchens to have worked on,” says Power. “We tried to do different design elements to make it stand out from other people on the block. We combined different design elements to make it flow.” The flow Power describes is an effortless drift from kitchen to breakfast nook, but it stops there because the kitchen was meant to be a site unto itself. It was a wise design move, as the kitchen always seems to be the popular hangout when the family has guests. Eschewing the open concept popular today, the Santoscoys deliberately compartmentalized their home, with walls separating the function of the kitchen from the dining room and other rooms. Even the butler’s kitchen was created to make use of space in a closed-off way, with the mini-kitchen being Angela’s own private area for cooking.

Above: With a home full of growing boys, the Santoscoys needed a large range and cooking area to keep family (and friends!) well fed. An animal trough-turned-sink (right) is now a standout piece in the kitchen, custom-fit into polished granite countertops by COMAF.

Distinctive ceiling design and a bold light fixture add dimension to the dining area.

Power describes this as the ideal harmonization of privacy and open space. “When you’re entertaining, sometimes you don’t want everyone together—the kids want their own place and the adults want theirs,” says Power. This kitchen, a feast for the eyes as well as a cleverly crafted space, is perfect for the family who loves to share their home with friends. 22

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

resources Designs by L.L. Power and Associates Builders Source Appliance Gallery A-1 Kitchens by Sierra COMAF Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio 915-861-0489 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Design Studio

turning on the charm Y


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

From classic styles (above) to fun themes (right), MagTrim’s charm designs fit any home. Opposite: Dainty purple charms add feminite elegance (above), while vibrant red charms (bottom) are meant to draw the eye.

Courtesy of MagTrim Designs LLC

“What I like about the charms is that they’re interchangeable and effortless.” —Shirley Gschwind

Magnetic charms add flair to lighting fixtures ou toss pillows on a sofa to add color and liven up neutral spaces with kicky accents. Now you can dress up your lighting in similar fashion. Magnetic light charms are the newest craze for jazzing up chandeliers, candelabras, and sconces throughout the home. The charms were invented by Floridian Colleen Nielson in 2004, after she found herself having to drill holes into her chandelier to attach crystals for special occasions. Knowing that there had to be an easier way to adorn her fixtures, Nielson tapped into her creativity and knowledge about magnets, and soon after, the mother-daughter partnership of MagTrim was born. MagTrim produces dainty charms in a variety of colors, styles, and themes. Even the holidays are covered; MagTrim’s collections range from spring holiday décor to Christmas deco-charms. And if you’re looking to add some punch to a wedding or big celebration, the charms are perfect for dressing up plain lighting. They can even be used to embellish the cake stand.

by Danielle Urbina

“What I like about the charms is that they’re interchangeable and effortless,” says Shirley Gschwind of Westside Lighting Gallery, which carries MagTrim charms. “They’re also whimsical; there’s a charm for any occasion.” Westside Lighting Gallery also takes orders for the products that can be delivered directly to the store. The magnetized fixture jewelry is made with neodymium magnets plated in nickel, which not only makes them strong, but also resistant to rust. And the charms are easy to clean—just wipe them down with a damp cloth. Pretty and practical? Now that’s downright charming.

resources Westside Lighting Gallery 915-585-3000

Design Studio

layer upon layer

by Cassie McClure

Photographs by Bill Faulkner

Robert Carlson challenges art enthusiasts to think outside of his box


reating different perceptions of space and reality is standard procedure for most artists. Robert Carlson plays not only with the perception of an idea, but with what viewers of his work will perceive for themselves. Carlson’s current exhibit of 12 new works at Connie Hines Interior Design Center at the Studio in Mesilla is designed to provoke art enthusiasts to read more deeply into his body of work in order to form their own conclusions of the reality being constructed. Carlson was born in Germany to a German mother and American father and came to El Paso when he was 7 years old. He now “belongs to the Valley” of the Las Cruces and El Paso region. He’s been a professional artist for over 40 years, with his work exhibited all across the country, in Germany, and in Mexico. A self-taught painter, Carlson has come to develop a dedication to his craft that’s intellectual and focused. “When the first brush hits the canvas there is no deviation from where I’m going,” he says.


Artist Robert Carlson with his painting Purple Sweet Potato Vine, at The Studio in Mesilla.

A self-taught painter, Carlson has come to develop a dedication to his craft that’s intellectual and focused.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Above, top: Newton’s Cradle, oil on linen, 56 x 96". Above, bottom: Popcorn Clouds, oil on linen, 24 x 18".

Golden Jubilee, oil on linen, 54 x 40”



Carlson describes his painting method as alla prima, Italian for wet-on-wet. “I don’t layer; transitions of colors happen all at once,” says the artist. “I work back-to-front, which I feel is a logical progression, and it enhances perspective, putting one image on top of another. It enhances the illusion of depth.” His works exude whimsy and lightness; Carlson calls the effect “atmospheric.” Recently, the joy he receives from his own work permeated into a presentation at the debut of his exhibit at The Studio. “I’m a big believer in things that don’t necessarily make sense in painting and art, where a lot of your mood is transferred into a piece of art,” says Carlson. “It has nothing to do with the idea, it has nothing to do with what’s going on. It’s something in the process that seems to show. I’m a happy person, and I do happy paintings. I’m interested in paintings that have a positive, upbeat character.” His pieces, some simply by virtue of their sheer size, ask you to go further in your own thoughts about them. In Newton’s Cradle, instead of the traditional row of metallic balls, a

“When the first brush hits the canvas there is no deviation from where I’m going.” —Robert Carlson Above: Self Portrait, oil on linen, 24 x 18". Left: Cat Walk, oil on linen, 24 x 54".

resources Robert Carlson Connie Hines Interior Design Center at the Studio 575-523-1809

row of four pumpkins anticipate the blow from a fifth lifted pumpkin. The expectation of being at the verge of seeing movement radiates from the piece. Viewers in the gallery jokingly mimicked holding the pumpkin in their hands to give it the needed push. One piece titled Red—a stark white background with the sole image of a red, crumpled piece of paper in the lower right corner—upon being admired by a fan, prompted Carlson to mention, “You pay attention to the paper, but you also need to pay attention to the space.” The idea of space is created in other works as well, drawing you in. Homage to Cubism II—a stacked set of cardboard boxes with strict detail on the corrugated edges—could, depending on the viewing or the viewer, reflect a relief of unpacking or the finality of needing to leave. The seasoned artist reflects on the process in which he completes his work, and the joy it still brings him after 40 years. “You give the same effort to every painting; in my mind there is no lesser or greater piece of work,” Carlson says. “The process is the process, and I want the process to be equal and the commitment to be equal, but there are some pieces that are just magical. It makes it a little more fun, a little more exciting to finish it.” 28

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Robert Carlson, giving a presentation to visitors at The Studio in front of Homage to Cubism II.

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




Design Studio

by Danielle Urbina

the spirit of old Mexico Distinctive home accessories by sculptor Jan Barboglio


hen you put your heart and soul into something, the end result is always rewarding. Sculptor Jan Barboglio adds culture into the mix to elevate her home accessories into extra-special pieces of art. Barboglio spent her childhood on a cattle ranch in North Central Mexico, and it was there she began to appreciate the area’s rich history and beautiful culture. The now-master sculptor’s creative abilities manifested initially in clothing she designed with her sister. However, as Barboglio began to design

Above: Barboglio captures the spirit of Mexico with crosses and metal flowers.

The mixing of metals and other materials is a signature element of Barboglio’s pieces.

The addition of small animal figurines adds a quirky touch to the artist’s pottery and basin bowls.

Left: An ornate, handcrafted box and molcajete are made from hammered nickel.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

resources Vanities Jewelry & Gifts, Inc. 915-584-1183 Jan Barboglio

Barboglio’s Mexican roots inspired pieces like this framed mirror (below) and candelabra (above).

The Bendito Hurricane (right) adds soft, ambient lighting to the dining table.

and sculpt accessories and furniture for her home, she gave up a career in fashion and began to produce home accessories full-time. The Dallas-based artist’s works are available through Vanities Jewelry & Gifts in El Paso. Unlike many Mexican accessories, you won’t find much color in Barboglio’s pieces; she prefers to use interesting combinations of monochromatic materials like hammered nickel and iron. In fact, her talent lies in the ability to make any mixture of materials—elements such as nickel, iron, glass, stone—look like they were meant to be together in a naturally authentic way. “It’s a beautiful line for the home because everything is handmade and impeccable,” says Ellen Gulbas of Vanities. “Every piece is unique and very special.” Barboglio’s pieces encompass her love for the Southwest, paying homage to the romanticism and history of Mexico (look for flower-adorned metal crosses in her collection). Her trendy take on Southwestern craftsmanship is what makes her home collections so special. Designs include handcrafted boxes, crosses, hand-rubbed stone figures, frames, mirrors, light fixtures, and fireside accessories. If you’re a homeowner who loves to entertain, you aren’t that different from Barboglio herself. Her passion for entertaining influenced the design of many kitchen accessories such as platters, chargers, casserole dishes, and other entertaining necessities. For something truly special, consider Barboglio’s Box of Miracles, which includes 12 milagros, prayers, and family crosses. Placed in a beautifully handcrafted box, you’ll have the spirit of old Mexico not only in your home, but in your heart as well. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Design Studio

by Jessica Muncrief

true colors of the Southwest Talavera tile adds color and authentic Southwestern flair to home design


The decorative tiles come in solid colors, but the most stunning are hand-painted with bold designs and patterns. Right: Talavera tile in hues of bright blue add a splash of color to this Southwestern-style kitchen. 32

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Bill Faulkner

he roots of Hispanic culture run deep in the Southwest. It’s in the language, the music, and the food. It’s in the colors we paint our walls and the art we hang on them. It’s even built into the architecture, like the vibrant Talavera tile found, in some form or another, in many Southwestern homes. “There’s a vibrancy and boldness to the colors that makes Talavera ideal for anywhere you want to incorporate a focal point into a home,” says Martha Orta of Casa Mexicana Tile in Las Cruces. “In this area, the tiles really complement that old-world look of the adobe-style homes with flat roofs and vigas.” Step into a Southwestern home and the decorative tiles are bound to be somewhere: brightening a kitchen backsplash, adorning a courtyard fountain, or accenting the stair risers. Spaniards brought the craft from Talavera de la Reina, Spain, to Puebla, Mexico, in the 16th century. The natural clays indig-

At Casa Mexicana, tiles come in a variety of intricate designs (below, top) and bold colors (right).

Bill Faulkner; tiles courtesy of

The tiles can be used in a variety of creative ways by blending solids with colorful patterns (below, left) or by constructing mosaics (below).

enous to the region were deemed perfect for molding and glazing into vases, dishes, religious ornaments, and, most notably, the tiles that were in high demand for the building of churches and monasteries. American appreciation for the pottery as an art form surged in the early 1900s, and Talavera has long been a staple in authentic and traditional Southwestern design. Beware of cheap imitations. The real deal is handcrafted only in central Mexico, following a traditional process that can take months to complete. Orta has been involved in her family’s tile business for more than 30 years. She’s seen firsthand the history and craftsmanship SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


“There’s a vibrancy and boldness to the colors that makes Talavera ideal for anywhere you want to incorporate a focal point into a home.” —Martha Orta

resources Casa Mexicana Tile Vel-Mex Corp. 34

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Courtesy of

that go into each piece of Talavera. “The craft has certainly evolved over the years, but it’s still very much an old way of doing things,” she says. “The tools and molds they use are still made by hand. The clay itself is mixed in a large pit, and the men and women still walk in the pits—up to their chests in water—to mix the clay.” About twice a year, Dinora Velarde travels through Mexico to purchase authentic Mexican textiles and pottery for the El Paso–based company Vel-Mex Corp. “We buy from some really small towns, places that aren’t even on the map,” she says. “It’s

not from stores, but stalls set up in front of houses where all the materials are kept and people are working on tiles and pots right there. And what’s amazing is that every item is handmade, so every piece is unique in itself.” The decorative tiles come in solid colors, but the most stunning are hand-painted with bold designs and patterns. “It’s those rich colors—the cobalt blues, the deep reds, and the rustic oranges—that people really appreciate,” Orta notes. Classic blue and white is the most traditional color combination, and most artisan groups still keep it simple, limiting their palettes to just six basic hues.

Intriguingly, the consensus seems to be that this historical art form is still decidedly modern. Orta notes the crossover appeal of Talavera, pointing out that many new designs feature Moroccan and henna-inspired patterns. Angela Moreno, owner of the studio Talavera de la Reyna in Puebla, has garnered praise for revitalizing the industry with contemporary patterns and collaborations with modern artists. She writes on her website: “Our mission is to elaborate the best Talavera in Puebla, caring to preserve the tradition and at the same time renewing it.” Sounds a lot like the spirit of the Southwest. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


home-schooled For a newly retired couple, building and designing their home involved a steep learning curve

by Tiffany Etterling


Photographs by Rudy Torres

obert Miller and his wife Christie beam with pride as they describe the process of designing and building their 4,300-square-foot Tuscan-style home in El Paso. And it’s not just because their eco-friendly abode is gorgeous: Robert used his DIY skills and a lot of determination to build the home almost entirely on his own. Most people turn to an expert when building a new home, but Robert decided he’d become the expert. “I did a lot


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

of reading,” he says. “It’s challenging. But in the end, when you’re sitting in the house that you designed and built, it’s all worth it.” Robert isn’t a builder by trade. He and Christie ran a successful transportation company in El Paso for years until the opportunity presented itself to retire early and enjoy free time at home. When someone offered to buy their company, the Millers took the plunge

Robert Miller

Honey-colored walls and an old world–style door create harmonious balance on the exterior of the home.

Robert Miller

Right: The solar-powered, saltwater pool in the backyard is one of the many energy-efficient features of the home.



The “Bob Mahal,” the couple’s great room, features a high, vaulted ceiling and thick beams that Robert secured himself.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

into retirement, and also into home building. “We wanted to build a home where we could retire,” Robert says. The couple spent more than a year searching for the ideal site for their home and found it in an up-and-coming neighborhood in East El Paso. They selected the lot for its privacy and close proximity to family and work. “We could live anywhere, and we choose to live in El Paso,” Robert notes. “Home is where your heart is, and our heart is in El Paso.” The addition of technologically advanced features makes the house unique in many ways. In addition to being owner-designed-and-built, the home incorporates some of the most advanced

hot water heater. Robert explains that while the system looks old-school, it’s actually extremely efficient. Hot water flows through the pipes to heat the entire home, and in the summer Robert simply closes a valve to shut the system down. Furthermore, what started out as a significant financial investment has turned out to be a longterm money-saver for the homeowners. For one thing, the solar-powered, saltwater pool is already paying off for the family. “We probably save $400 dollars on our utilities every month compared to other homes of this size,” says Christie. “It was a good investment.” The home also has one of the most advanced lighting systems available on the market. The Wanting to give each room its own identity, the Millers added wood paneling and a distinct ceiling design to the formal dining room.

Christie, who loves to bake cookies, uses the ample kitchen counter space and large oven to dish out her favorite treats.

“Home is where your heart is, and our heart is in El Paso.”—Robert Miller energy-saving technology available. “It’s ‘old-world style meets new-world technology,’” says Robert. “It looks like an old, Tuscan farmhouse, but it’s very efficient.” Robert did extensive research and decided to construct the home’s exterior using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), panels made with a foam core sandwiched between rigid facings. The main benefit to the six-inch, polyurethane SIPs is insulation. “R-value” is the measurement of an insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it; with a rating of R-38, the Miller home is at the top of its game when it comes to thermal performance. To heat the home, Robert custom-built a hydronic heating system—a series of brass pipes and levers connected to an instant SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


A fully equipped, spacious bar gives the couple plenty of room to entertain. Right: The formal entrance of the home provides a welcoming feel for guests.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Faux finishes on the walls in the master bedroom complement the lavish window treatments and plush furniture. Left: This antique cash register sits front and center in the bar area.

sophisticated Touch-Plate light switches in each room can be programmed to operate any light in the home. And because all of the lighting is LED, Christie says, “you don’t have to worry about running around turning lights off.” Despite all the modern technology, the Millers’ home still retains its authentic style. “We spent a lot of time and effort to make this place look old,” says Robert. Generous use of dark wood, stone, and brick is part of what originally drew Robert to the Tuscan style.

“We tried to give each room its own unique identity but also keep it part of the grand scheme.” —Christie Miller

Named the “black room” for its darker finishes, the guest bedroom is a cozy retreat.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Some questioned his exterior selection of a bright, honey-colored paint paired with muted neutral tones in the stonework, but the combination creates a pleasing contradistinction of color and texture. “Even though [the colors] are different, they complement each other; it’s harmonious,” says Robert. The baronial great room, with its

vaulted ceiling and thick beams, is magnificent in design and décor. “We have friends who call this the ‘Bob Mahal’ instead of the Taj Mahal,” Christie laughs. “The room is just enormous.” While it’s great in scale, abundant sunlight and the rich color of dark wood also effuse a cozy, inviting quality. “It’s [Robert’s] great room, but it’s my cozy den.” The most distinctive feature of the great room is the Douglas fir timber frame. Using a traditional technique, Robert secured the enormous beams using only wooden pegs. “It’s extremely strong and extremely durable,” says Robert. “It has a wind load rating of 180 miles per hour.” An open floor plan creates natural flow from

The stainless GE Monogram Pro Series range stands out against the wooden cabinetry in the kitchen crafted by A-1 Kitchens by Sierra.

Using rich, dark woods, faux finishes, and vintage accents, the Millers spent a lot of time making their home look old.

Privately tucked away in the master suite, the master bathroom features a copper soaking tub and a spacious vanity for Christie.

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 44

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Delivery Available

the great room into the kitchen and other areas of the home. “We tried to give each room its own unique identity but also keep it part of the grand scheme,” says Christie. “It flows really well, but the rooms have their own sense of individuality.” The master bathroom is another example of Robert’s excellent design skills, and it’s a striking room with an

The brick finish and high tank, pull-chain toilet in the powder room makes it one of the most distinctive rooms in the home.

eye-catching centerpiece: a freestanding copper bathtub. “You won’t find many of them, especially not underneath a vaulted turret,” Robert points out. The turret allows light into the bathroom and provides an architectural accent for the exterior as well. Inside the bathroom, and indeed, throughout the home, textured wall finishes and intricate stencil designs by El Paso’s premier faux finisher, Myriam Montes, accentuate the rich Tuscan theme.

resources Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery 915-775-1000 Cabinetry A1 Kitchens by Sierra 915-566-0095 Countertops Real Stone Work Custom Woodwork Clydesdale Frames Doors Navarro’s Molding LLC Driveway and Walkway Landscape and Concrete Impressions Exterior Stone Plaster Queen 915-694-6385 Landscaping So Cal Exteriors Wall Surfaces Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio 915-861-0489 Window Treatments Coordinados y Disenos Flooring, Bathroom Tile & Outdoor Kitchen Rick Gardea 46

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Though the Millers breeze through the homebuilding process in conversation, the actual construction of the home was not without its challenges. Robert says he struggled to find subcontractors who were willing try new things. Rick Gardea, who assisted Robert in many areas including the construction of the patio kitchen, the hardwood floors, and stonework, was the exception. “Rick’s like me,” says Robert. “Even if he didn’t know how to do something, he was willing to try. We learned a lot together.” Robert also made a few mistakes along the way, but shrugs them off to experience. “If you want to end up with a good product, you’re going to have to be willing to make some mistakes,” he says. “I can sit here and look at 15 things I might do differently, but in the end I like it just the way it is. There’s something to be said for taking an idea and bringing it to reality.”




by Danielle Urbina

Photographs by Rudy Torres


hideaway A family, an interior designer, and the ranch they rebuilt together


own a long stretch of road near the Mimbres River in New Mexico, there’s much for the eye to see. What was once land chock-full of apple orchards is now landscape just as beautiful, covered these days in greenery, in what some might call the “middle of nowhere.” It’s in this place where one Texas family looked to its own rich history and a family ranch to rebuild a getaway for generations to come.


S U C A S A S P R I N G 2014

“When it was dark and you turned off all the lights, you could see all the stars that you didn’t even know were there.”—Betty Lang history in the making It all started with Bill and Clara Hinton. The central Texas couple bought El Rancho Nan in 1948 after having no luck finding land in West Texas. “They just caught wind of this place, came out and looked at it, and that was it,” says granddaughter Betty Lang. “It’s paradise here.” The Hintons, realizing immediately the ranch was everything they wanted, moved forward with purchasing the place with a partner. The partner would reside in the main home, while the Hintons agreed to occupy a smaller home behind the main house. For the Hinton family, the ranch was a summer getaway and a place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. “My grandmother would be out here making jelly, canning, and tending to her garden,” Lang recalls. And while the adults were busy working the ranch, the children had plenty of land to run around in and the mother of all kid-friendly amenities to enjoy: a pool. “In those days it was frigid—we had deodar cedars by the pool so it never got any sunlight,” she laughs. “But that was one of my biggest memories as a child: blue lips and finally getting to a warm bathtub. But boy, we were going to be in there.”

Opposite: The main property at El Rancho Nan underwent a few exterior cosmetic changes, but still maintains most of its original architecture. Above: Opting for a cleaner style of landscaping, the family removed shrubbery from the home, but kept the giant Italian cypress trees. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Decorated elaborately in Southwestern décor, the great room is filled with antique furnishings and rows of books. Bill Hinton’s guns hang proudly on the wall.

In a world far removed from smartphones and giant TVs, Lang’s memories of the ranch consist of evenings spent doing puzzles and playing cards and board games, with nothing but AM radio for outside entertainment. But some of her fondest recollections are of jeep rides with her father and the rest of the family to the City of Rocks and the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Armed with a basketful of her mother’s fried chicken, the family would leave the ranch in the wee hours of the morning to reach their destination with just enough time to explore, only to return at midnight. And at midnight, the view was nothing short of spectacular. “When it was dark and you turned off all the lights, you could see all the stars that you didn’t even know were there,” says Lang. “You could see the Milky Way; it was just amazing how far out we were from everything.” Though the Hintons were perfectly happy with their country abode, their original real estate partnership dissolved a year after purchasing the ranch. Bill and Clara were left with the main home, but with a life outside of the ranch to take care of, the building became an afterthought. “We didn’t use the main house because the heat didn’t work, and it wasn’t equipped,” says Lang. “It just wasn’t lived in for a long time.” Above and right: Interior designer Maureen Villmer mixed pieces original to the home with furniture she found in consignment shops to create an authentic look in the great room. 50

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Little did the Hintons know that years later, the same children who had run and played on El Rancho Nan would be the ones to rebuild not only the main house but the entire property. This ranch wasn’t going anywhere.

rebuilding together Years after Bill and Clara Hinton and their children had passed away, their grandchildren were left with decisions to make about the properties. “When the dust settled, we decided that we would sell another property in North Texas, because we all recognized what a unique and special place this was,” says Lang. “We took the cash, brought it [to El Rancho Nan], and decided to fix the place up because it had been grossly neglected.” Knowing that the bones of the home were wonderful, the family decided to fully invest their time, money, and dedication to rebuilding and redecorating the main home and surrounding properties. But the first big hurdle in rebuilding was agreeing on an interior designer. They interviewed quite a few designers, but it was the last one they spoke with who really struck a chord with the family. “We needed someone to take charge and keep us under control,” says Lang. “Everyone

Above: A distinctive cocktail table and an original chandelier grace the light-filled rotunda. Right: The same custom ironwork and chandelier in the rotunda are pictured here in an earlier photo of El Rancho Nan.

Though the home was being equipped for the future, a main priority was to keep the look of the home as close to its 1950s style as possible.


Opposite: A stainless-steel range gleams against the bright, white cabinetry and wall tiles in the kitchen. What was once a fully functioning call box (above) is now a trendy piece of kitchen décor.

wanted the house to be the way they saw it, so we needed a mediator.” That mediator turned out to be Las Cruces–based interior designer Maureen Villmer of Environs, and luckily for this family, order is the name of Villmer’s game. With 40 years of interior design under her belt, Villmer’s a powerhouse when it comes to turning out detailed plans and executing them with precision. In rebuilding El Rancho Nan, Villmer relied upon her usual modus operandi. “I literally set up presentations of what I saw, and presented them to the family,” she says. “I’m tenacious, so I was going to stick right there until I got a decision from them. I had to have certain decisions on some things before I went on to the next step.” Villmer and the family started by choosing color schemes, fabrics, and rugs, which would all determine what kind of furniture and accessories they would purchase later down the road. Once they’d agreed on a neutral-colored paint for the entire home, they were free to add accent colors and Southwest décor throughout. The main entrance of the home leads to a beautiful rotunda where sunlight spills in through the French doors. The unique tree trunk cocktail table in the center of the room is one of the many gems Villmer found while hunting for furnishings original to the main house. The expansive great room is warm and comfortable in a traditional ranch style; a crackling fire is often roaring in the large fireplace. Decorated elaborately in Southwestern décor, the great room is filled with antique furnishings and rows of books. Bill Hinton’s guns hang proudly on the wall. The family hit an unforeseen cut in their budget mid-project, forcing Villmer to use her creativity to find alternative avenues in furnishing the rest of the home. Instead of purchasing brand new furniture,

The heavy drapes of earlier days (right) had to go. Today, French doors let in light and join the formal dining room (above) with the great room and rotunda.



Villmer and the family took to local consignment and antique shops where, to their delight, they found exactly what they were looking for. Villmer also scoured the home’s basement for goodies. “I searched every nook and cranny that I could find to try to find anything that was original to the house,” she says. “I found light fixtures, drapery rods, and chairs that we reupholstered.” Though Villmer and the family were equipping the home for the future, a main priority was to keep the look of the home as close to its 1950s style as possible. This attention to authenticity is evident throughout the home, from the game room to the kitchen—a stunning central part of the home. The kitchen’s combination of pristine white wall tiles and original flooring pairs seamlessly with the sleek and modern stainless steel appliances. Villmer also chose light fixtures which, though new, look like they could have easily been an original part of the room. It’s in this kitchen where Lang channels her grandmother and cooks meals for her own children and grandchildren. In the effortless flow from the kitchen, the family’s formal dining room and breakfast nook face windows toward the back of the property where the land stretches out for miles. Many of the other rooms offer the same stunning views from different angles. Magnificent scenery is always just a glance away.

planning ahead The Hintons’ descendants could easily revel in the beauty of El Rancho Nan on their own, but true to the family’s warm and inviting nature, future plans involve sharing the property with others. And they want to share it in a big way. “To us, the headquarters area of the ranch with the homes and buildings was always the highlight of being here,” says Lang. “We all agree that this is such a unique, powerful, and wonderful place that we need

Pale blue printed drapery and off-white bedding bring a feminine touch to a bedroom.

550 S. Mesa Hills Drive, Ste. D2 El Paso, Texas 79912 P. 915.533.2288 M CARC H C O NS T RU C TI O N, LL C F. 915.533.2280 54

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

One of Villmer’s goals was to make every room very comfortable, while still maintaining as much of its originality as possible.



Above: An entrance gate adorned with El Rancho Nan’s brand and date of establishment welcomes family and friends onto the main property.

to open it up to other people.” Thus, the family began to think about how to share El Rancho Nan with the public as well as turn a profit to ensure a thriving future. Now that the remodel is mostly complete, Lang and her family are looking to develop a system to provide short-term rentals for retreats, business meetings, conferences, family reunions, and weddings. The family is also working with an outfitter to develop areas for wildlife in order to provide an upscale hunting lodge. On a completely different front, the family is in discussion with professionals who interface with the New Mexico Film Commission to promote filmmaking on the spacious property. “We have a ranch facility that can handle the number of people they need to make a movie,” says Lang. “We have housing, we have power, and we have resources.” They say home is where the heart is, and the heart of this home stretches across thousands of acres of gorgeous, New Mexico land and spans more than 60 years of family memories. And although this is the story of a how one family came together to rebuild an important part of their childhood, it’s also the story of how an interior designer transformed the main home at El Rancho Nan from a neglected afterthought into a comfortable retreat generations will enjoy for years to come. 56

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

resources Interior Designer Maureen Villmer Environs 575-496-7605 Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery 575-652-9934 Cabinetry and Custom Woodwork South Main Woodworks Ceiling Fans and Lighting Designers Mart

Electric VG Electric Flooring (Wood) Stout Hardwood Floor Co. 575-527-4143 Tile Daltile Wall Surfaces Ray Maese Window Treatments Sunland Drapery

The family plans to continue renovating other buildings on the property to provide a relaxing getaway experience for visitors.



power house

Thanks to inspired renovation, an interior designer’s home keeps on going


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

by Jessica Muncrief


Photographs by Bill Faulkner

hen Lynda and Steve Power moved to El Paso in the late 1980s, they had no idea that building a house for their family would lead to a lot more than just a new place to call home. After some searching they finally found a builder willing to build in their preferred style, yet found themselves on their own when it came to aesthetics and design. “The builder just gave us a list,” Lynda remembers. “He said, ‘You need to go here, here, and here. Fill out this form, bring it back, and we’ll build your home.’” Luckily, Lynda had dabbled in design work, and she and Steve had clear ideas about what they wanted in a home. Instead of opting for one of the stucco or adobe homes ubiquitous to the region, the Powers drew influence from their Midwestern roots and built a two-story French country–style home with a red brick exterior. Inside, Lynda went very traditional, with strong patterns and rich woods.

Lynda and Steve Power’s two-story French country home has a red brick exterior, a nod to the couple’s Midwestern roots. 59

Sited near the base of the Franklin Mountains, the home has spectacular views, especially from the backyard patio.

The great room is Steve and Lynda’s preferred spot for relaxing, watching TV, and enjoying the scenery in their own backyard.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

“I didn’t do a whole lot of design in Minneapolis because the kids were young, but when we started building here I couldn’t help but think: What if I were somebody who didn’t have any idea what they were doing? Somebody who didn’t have a vision and was just handed a piece of paper?” she says. After putting the finishing touches on her own home, Lynda approached the builder about doing design consultations for his clients. The partnership proved mutually beneficial, and Lynda began building a solid reputation as an interior designer in the El Paso community. Fast-forward to 2009. The home Steve and Lynda lovingly

In the master bathroom (left), a tiled alcove and distinctive finish on the sink base add dimension and depth. Light from the large windows fills the comfortable reading room (above) off the master bedroom.


62 Above: An homage to Linda’s home state of Michigan, a decorative niche displays a northern countryside scene. In Lynda’s home, guests are royalty. A sumptuous guest bedroom (right) features elegant window treatments, a textured finish on the walls, and a queenly armoire.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Power’s own backyard became the perfect venue for her son’s (and now daughter-in-law’s) wedding.

an Exclusive Builder

built more than two decades earlier, while still stately, had lost some of its splendor. The homeowners didn’t want to lose their proximity to Mesa Street’s shopping and dining, and they were attached to the spectacular view of the Upper Valley from their hillside location, but their needs had changed: Their kids were grown and having families of their own. Lynda’s interior design business was thriving, and she desperately needed an expanded workspace. The kitchen, which had been chic 20 years earlier, was dated and in need of new appliances. Clearly, some restructuring was in order. Steve and Lynda took the plunge and hired an architect, but hit their

for Exclusive Living


Grisel Ortega | 915-491-2056 |

Joe Beechler of Paradise Pools completely revamped the pool area by creating a newer infinity-edge pool and relaxing spa.

first snag before construction even began. In 1987, kitchen appliances were much smaller, and large central islands weren’t as commonplace as they are today. To include everything on the owners’ modern wish list, the kitchen needed a major expansion. But there was a problem: a swimming pool right on the other side of the kitchen wall. The need to relocate the pool quickly spiraled into a full redo of the outdoor space. The kitchen was opened up with large windows and a slightly barrel-vaulted brick ceiling, while the backyard was revamped with an infinity pool and spa, an outdoor fireplace, and a pizza oven. Now with a backyard sure to lure the grandkids over more often, Steve and Lynda made the inside just as appealing. They claimed a portion of the existing garage for a game room and a bathroom to liaise between the pool and the 64

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

house. A new, larger garage paved the way for a second-floor expansion where a full guest suite now gives the kids and grandchildren their own private hideaway. As for Lynda, her need for workspace was addressed thanks to the home’s high, peaked roof—a signature of the French country design— in which attic storage space was included in the original floor plan. The pull-down attic door and collapsible stairs were removed, and the second floor staircase was extended to grant Lynda easy access to her new office and studio where she works on projects, meets with clients, and continues the journey sparked by the original building of the home so many years ago. Today, Lynda admits that while the house is a little big for just the two

of them, she and Steve are perfectly content continuing to make memories in it: “It’s very cozy. It’s comfortable. Our dogs love it. We just had our son’s wedding in the backyard last October. It’s home.”

resources Interior Design Lynda Power Designs by L.L. Power & Associates 915-590-7373 Architect Art Ronquillo General Contractor R.C. Baeza and Associates Cabinetry A-1 Kitchens by Sierra 915-566-0095 Carpeting Carpets West Ceramic Tile Emser Tile Daltile Countertops COMAF Marble and Granite 915-345-3774 Draperies Octavio’s Custom Drapery Flooring (Wood) Highpoint Enterprises Hardware Morrison Supply Co. 915-594-6680 Landscaping Nash Patio & Garden 915-587-6000 Lighting and Plumbing Fixtures El Paso Winnelson Pool Paradise Pools 915-591-8819

PERSIAN RUG SPRING 2014 AD 3.875” X 4.8125”



function for the future

Elegance plus purposeful design equals a home to enjoy for years to come


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Tall, painted cement pillars are employed throughout the open floor plan to separate each area of the home.

by Tiffany Etterling Photographs by Tony Skarlatos


ike many empty nesters, Dr. Hugo and Debbie Isuani were ready to downsize after their children left home but struggled to find the ideal floor plan. When a chance encounter introduced the couple to designer Debbie Salome, the Isuanis found not only the solution to their problem but also a great friend. Debbie and Hugo describe Salome as their own personal design superhero. “I was at the architect’s office, and I was having a terrible time,” says Debbie. “I had a few floor plans I wanted to combine, and they just could not get the plans right.” Salome heard the couple struggling from an adjoining office and peeked her head in to ask if she could help. Within minutes she was on the job. The main design challenge was space. With only one of their five children

Whether they’re relaxing by the fireplace or playing cards, the Isuanis’ spacious great room is the perfect place for family fun.



When the weather is warm, the family takes advantage of their private backyard with its pool, Jacuzzi, and outdoor kitchen.

left at home, the Isuanis were ready to downsize, but they still wanted plenty of room. To maximize space, Salome designed separate and distinct wings that open into a central great room. “As you come in, the home has this wonderful open feeling, yet each space is distinct as well,” she says. The Isuanis are a family of cooks, so the design of the kitchen was particularly important. The kitchen features a sleek, extra-long island, with ample prep space. To maintain the proportions in the kitchen and create extra storage space, Salome stretched richly colored cabinets from floor to ceiling. Realizing this was a great model for her clients’ spaces, she designed more ceiling-height cabinetry throughout the home to store many of the collectibles the family has accumulated over the years. The home’s dual master bedrooms offer privacy when the Isuanis’ college-aged daughter, Paige, is home. Lower ceilings, lighter wood, and bright yellow hues fill Paige’s room with youthful warmth and brightness. Debbie and Hugo’s master suite is a grander room that includes an attached office and kitchenette. “Hugo needs a small office,” says Debbie. “I 70

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Dark wooden beams and an old world–style light fixture in the breakfast nook reinforce the Tuscan style.

Because the Isuanis are a family of cooks, Salome made sure to include plenty of counter space in the kitchen.

Set in a separate wing of the home, the master bedroom includes Hugo’s office and its own dining table, making it both comfortable and functional for the couple.

“Our home is so nice because it has a different look; it has visual interest and dimension.” —Hugo Isuani, homeowner



also wanted a full table and kitchen area so that we could eat in here when we wanted to.” The Isuanis also had the future in mind when they designed this wing. “A lot of people in El Paso care for their family as they get older,” says Debbie. “We thought that was something that would work for us as well.” Thinking well ahead, Salome employed artful universal design to ensure the home would accommodate the Isuanis’ needs for many years to come. Additional aging-in-place concessions include ADA-compliant rails and the elimination of steps. “All the doors and bathrooms are handicap accessible,” Hugo notes. In addition to the floor plan, Salome also worked with her clients on the exterior of their home and helped shift them from the neoclassical style of their previous home to a more Tuscan style. “I don’t like boxy houses,” says Hugo. “Our home is so nice because it has a different look; it has visual interest and dimension.” The exterior of the home is a canvas showcasing an often-overlooked aspect of Tuscan design. “The [older] homes of Tuscany often started as small cottages,”

To make a great first impression of the home, Salome chose an oversized arched door with Tuscan flair for the entrance.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

explains Salome. “As a family grew and the home expanded, each section was identified by unique embellishments and special characteristics.” Salome used a distinctly asymmetrical exterior design to achieve this authentic look by adding arched and rectilinear windows embellished with brick in some areas and wrought iron in others. Thanks to Salome, a smaller size turned out to be just the right size for the Isuanis. But while their nest is shrinking, their friend base is growing. Salome has become much more than just a designer to the couple. “Debbie is part of our home and our family,” says Debbie Isuani. “We’ve become really good friends, and it started from what was really just a fluke.”

resources Interior Designer Debbie Salome I.D. & C.U. Corporation 915-525-1743 Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery Cabinetry Bassett Woodworks Doors Doors & More Fixtures El Paso Winnelson Flooring & Tile Casa Carpet, Tile & Wood Furniture Casa Bella Home Furnishings Granite 77 Stone Ironwork Artistic Entryways & Millwork Co., Inc. Lighting Designer’s Mart Pool Advance Pools Stonework Stone Wholesalers Direct Windows AAA Glass Company

Su Libro

new possibilities No space is more intimate and personal than a bathroom. And often, no space cries out for updating more desperately. But those “everyday getaways” take a beating, particularly from growing families who use their bathrooms a lot. Tubs start to leak, tiles crack, and vanities break. And of course, bathroom design can look dated very quickly. Designing a bathroom is no easy task and can become an overwhelming process, particularly given the choices out there today for materials and fixtures. “Today, standard fixtures and surfaces are

Bathroom Idea Book, by Sandra S. Soria, The Taunton Press, paperback, $19.95


hat’s not to love about a great bathroom? From gorgeous and relaxing bathtubs to cabinetry and storage, figuring out your style and learning how to execute it properly is the key to a great space. But where to start? Ideas abound in Sandra S. Soria’s Bathroom Idea Book, an all-inclusive guide to bathroom remodeling. Whether you’re looking to do a simple update or a full-scale remodel, Bathroom Idea Book is filled with inspiration and tools. “It’s only been a mere 100 years since indoor plumbing reached into American homes,” the author reminds us. Bathrooms have certainly come a long way from the days of outhouses and galvanized tubs. In fact, the bathroom has become a popular focus area for remodeling, and efficient bathroom design is a key element in new home building. Soria, a shelter and lifestyle writer for over 25 years, says it’s no big mystery as to why the bathroom has become a more prominent place in the home. “It’s a high-value room for busy modern families whose days are jam-packed with work, school, and activities,” she says. “Whether we’re getting ready for the day or unwinding after it’s done, a personal space with a checklist of your favorite amenities is an everyday getaway that’s good for the body and soul.” 74

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

“Standard fixtures and surfaces are moving aside for sleek silhouettes, efficient functioning, and intriguing materials.” —Sandra S. Soria

The Taunton Press

A pedestal sink creates the illusion of spaciousness in even the smallest bathroom.

moving aside for sleek silhouettes, efficient functioning, and intriguing materials,” says Soria. “Choice abounds, which makes the homeowner’s job more challenging.” Luckily for those who need a push in the right direction, Bathroom Idea Book breaks down the steps of planning, building, and finishing a bathroom remodel. The book includes over 350 inspiring images of bathrooms—from tiny powder rooms to expansive masters—along with plenty of chic, practical ideas for every budget.—Julieta Rios SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Vida Buena

by Jessica Muncrief

Built at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains in northern Tucson, Miraval Resort & Spa has stunning desert views in every direction.



hese days it seems every day spa, resort, and fitness studio is touting the mind-body-spirit mantra. Yet what do you usually get? Two out of the three at best, with visible results being the usual focus. But there is a place where nurturing the soul and gaining awareness of self are just as important as shaping up and looking younger. The mantra at Miraval Resort & Spa is mindfulness: a state of active, open attention in the present moment. The villas and rooms are designed to bridge a connection with the resort’s setting: 400 acres of enchanting desert at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains in northern Tucson, Arizona. Activities and spa services are undertaken with the goal of obtaining greater balance and understanding. You don’t just take a cooking class, you engage in a handson workshop about anti-inflammatory eating. Here, tennis

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

is Zen-nis, which, in addition to improving your backhand, helps you tune out distractions and “find that magical feeling of flow.” With a full schedule of activities, classes, and lectures, along with an enticing menu of spa and beauty services, there’s a lot going on at Miraval. “Every day is unique for every person at Miraval,” says owner Steve Case. “What makes it so special is the seemingly endless array of options. You can do as much or as little as you like.” Case embraces stepping away from the typical relaxing spa mindset and encourages guests to venture outside their comfort zones. We’ve gathered the best advice for getting the most of the Miraval experience. Discover why blogger Janice Molinari wrote after her second visit to the desert resort: “I’ve arrived on these grounds a different person each time. . . . I leave slightly changed as well.”

Courtesy of Miraval Resort & Spa

Discover you at Miraval Resort & Spa

Bringing the Miraval experience full circle requires being truly mindful of place and setting with a spa ritual that pays homage to the surrounding desert.

open your mind Whether you’re looking to heal from the inside out or find spiritual direction, things go much deeper here. Miraval prides itself on offering “inspired direction from inspired minds.” Need an astrologer? Check. Master healer and shaman? Check. A psychic medium and a Native American healer? Check and check. Ever taken a breathwalking for wellness course? How about a private soul guidance session with a Brennan healing practitioner or a spirit flight with a shamanic healer? On-site specialists are ready and willing to provide guidance and share knowledge through lectures, workshops, and private instruction. From meditation in the great outdoors (above) to empowering yoga (right), the Miraval experience is truly a treat for the soul.



The resort’s Southwestern architecture and Zen-like décor blend effortlessly with Arizona’s desert surroundings.

face your fears People come from far and wide to visit Miraval, and not necessarily for the luxurious setting or high-end pampering. Many come to meet, well, horses. Horse guru Wyatt Webb has gained widespread acclaim for his It’s Not About the Horse equine experience. The goal of the program is seemingly simple—get a horse to lift its leg so you can clean its hoof— yet guests have called the experience, which is truly about conquering fear and self-doubt, “empowering” and “life changing.” The Miraval also offers outdoor adventure challenges. Find balance and learn to let go while walking the Desert Tightrope; climb the four-story Giant’s Ladder to build trust and communication; or celebrate life on Swing and a Prayer. “Believe me, when you’re climbing a telephone pole in a harness, 40 feet off the ground, and then you’re asked to do things that Superman might think twice about, your character is exposed rather quickly,” wrote Molinari of her experience.

Feeling adventurous? Miraval is known for its “life-changing” challenges and adventures like the Desert Tightrope (right). 82

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Obstetrics and Gynecology Services

In addition to well woman examinations and routine care, other OB-GYN services include: • Sexually transmitted infections and treatment • Evaluation and treatment of pelvic pain • Preinvasive cancer screening • Evaluation and treatment of vulvar pain and treatment • Acupuncture treatment of pain • Family planning (IUD, Nexplanon®) • Symptom control and disease prevention • Gynecologic issues associated with aging during perimenopause and menopause • In office treatment of abnormal bleeding • Osteoporosis screening (DXA scans) • In office painless sterilization • Pediatric and adolescent gynecology • Vaginal birth after cesarean section • Prenatal care Our physicians perform gynecologic surgery using both laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, robotic and open procedures to address: • Abnormal uterine bleeding

• Endometriosis

• Pelvic masses

(915 ) 215-5000

After a challenging day of empowering activities, balconies outside the locker rooms offer inviting lounge chairs for a little rest and relaxation.

just relax Amid all the opportunities to grow and learn, relaxing and letting go of stress is still an important aspect of gaining mindfulness. Naturally, the menu at the Miraval Life in Balance Spa with Clarins is more innovative and all-encompassing than most. Many of the services and rituals are aimed at igniting the senses and restoring balance, like the Abundance all-organic “farm to treatment table� body renewal, or the Bountiful Earth experience, which incorporates a variety of exotic aromas from around the globe. Bringing the experience full circle, however, requires being truly mindful of place and setting with a spa ritual that pays homage to the surrounding desert. Try the Miraval exclusive Prickly Pear Sugar Scrub or purify with a Sonoran Mud Wrap before lathering in desert sage body butter. There’s no better way to enrich an already transformative experience. Miraval Resort & Spa 84

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

The mantra at Miraval Resort & Spa is mindfulness: a state of active, open attention in the present moment. Scenic views and a calming fireplace are both a part of the ultra-comfortable accommodations at Miraval.



live performance calendar March through May MARCH 29 CESAR MILLAN LIVE, 7:30 PM, ABRAHAM CHAVEZ THEATRE, EL PASO


Platinum-selling rockers Blue October are bringing The Sway Tour to El Paso this spring. Having just released their newest album, The Sway, Blue October is traveling the United States giving fans a taste of their new music. The band will also perform some of their most popular songs like “Into the Ocean” and “Hate Me,” which reached the number two spot on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart.

Whether you’re having behavioral problems with your four-legged pals or just want some extra doggy knowledge, Cesar Millan, expert dog behaviorist and star of National Geographic’s Dog Whisperer, will make a stop in El Paso this spring with his canine companion Junior. Millan shares his methods and tips for pet care and presents live demonstrations with multiple dogs. Got a burning question about your dog? Millan’s show also offers a live Q&A session. Dog lovers, don’t miss this show!


This all-female Irish ensemble is back to perform on The Emerald Tour, supporting the simultaneous album and DVD release of Emerald: Musical Gems, which emulates the musical heritage of Ireland’s Emerald Isle. The show will feature songs like “Caladonia” and “Dulaman,” but will also showcase the ensemble’s interpretations of “Amazing Grace” and “Danny Boy.” Complete with bagpipers and championship Irish dancers, this show is sure to be a crowd pleaser. APRIL 11 CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVISITED, 8 PM, INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS, RUIDOSO

Back in 1995, Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford of the beloved Creedence Clearwater Revival created a small project, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, to perform just a few songs for CCR fans everywhere. Little did they know that the band would take off and gain a following all over the United States. Creedence Clearwater Revisited graces the stage at Inn of the Mountain Gods this spring to perform classic hits like “Susie Q” and “Proud Mary.” Don’t miss out on a special night with these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. 86

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014



On the cusp of the release of their newest album, Rave Tapes, Glasgow rockers Mogwai will visit El Paso for one night at Tricky Falls. The band, formed in 1995, is known for its unique (and often lyric-less) songs; lengthy, guitar-based pieces with defined bass riffs; and moving ambient sound. Join Mogwai this spring for a show that’s a little different from your usual headbanger.

Take a nostalgic look at Hank Williams and his impact on country music through the music of Jason Petty and his five-man band. From songs by Jimmie Rodgers to George Jones, discover who influenced Hank Williams and the artists he himself inspired. Petty’s show features Obie Award–winning performances of “Move It On Over,” “Wine Me Up,” and “Moaning the Blues.” APRIL 20 AND MAY 18 BILLY THE KID BREAKOUT, 1 PM AND 3 PM OLD COUNTY JAIL, SAN ELIZARIO

Relive the legend of Billy the Kid in San Elizario with the folks at the San Elizario Historic District. Reenactment troupe Pistoleros de San Elizario takes the audience back to November 1876 when William H. Bonney made a legendary trip to this historic Texas town. Experience all the excitement and action of the Old West with this live show, and while you’re on Main Street be sure to check out the historic district’s Art Market for a little more of that Old West feeling.


After three booming years of success, this annual outdoor music festival has added a second day of live music to its lineup. The Neon Desert Music Festival is back and bigger than ever this May, and will be held in the ever-growing historic Downtown district. More than 20 electronic, indie, and rock artists will light up both nights on several different stages. Check out Neon Desert’s website for the full roster of artists.


Five-time Tony nominee Rock of Ages will have ’80s fanatics rockin’ out this spring at the Plaza Theatre. It’s the story of a small-town girl who meets a big city rocker in 1987 on the Sunset Strip. Their love story comes to life through the high-volume sounds of the ’80s including songs from legendary artists like Journey, Pat Benetar, and Twisted Sister. Time to get your big hair on for this oneof-a-kind musical.


Celebrate the work of artists Aleksander and Lyuba Titovets. The Titovetses, who came to the United States from Russia 25 years ago, are wellknown artists who have planted their roots in El Paso. Their stunning oil paintings are featured in esteemed collections internationally, and throughout El Paso. Bring Mom along for the show on Mother’s Day and enjoy the sights of this charming duo’s artwork. Woman’s Club of El Paso, 1400 N Mesa


The story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons comes to life in Jersey Boys, which hits El Paso this spring. Take a musical glimpse into the lives of a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks who became a huge pop sensation that took the world by storm. Directed by Des McAnuff, this Tony award–winning production has continuously broken box office records on Broadway. Get your tickets early! ticketmaster.come SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Vida Buena

raising her


Musician Candice Reyes influences the growth of El Paso’s jazz community


Text and photographs by Avraham Elias

any successful musicians come from families with similar musical talents. Jazz vocalist Candice Reyes hails from musically charged roots, and always keeps in mind the importance of family. Reyes, who was born in El Paso, lived in a house filled with music all her life. Her mother Dora was the lead vocalist for a local Latin band called Azucar, and is currently a choir teacher at Ross Middle School in El Paso. Dad David is a trombone player and vocalist in the Navy band; he also played with Azucar and other local bands in El Paso. Reyes’s two younger siblings are also musically trained. Born into a family of musicians, Reyes has loved music since day one, and now she brings music to life herself. Her warm voice fills the room with recognizable jazz tunes she’s covered in her own distinctive way. And she’s no one-note kind of singer: While some of her performances showcase a quiet, sultry sound, the petite crooner


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

isn’t afraid to belt out strong high notes. For Reyes, jazz is her life; she developed a passion for the genre at a young age. She first heard her idol, Ella Fitzgerald, via cassette years ago while riding in a car, and clearly remembers thinking to herself that she wanted to sing like the jazz superstar. As she continued to explore jazz standards, her influences expanded. Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé, John Coltrane, and other greats clearly marked her vocal style. Once Reyes established jazz as the vocal style that suits her best, she began putting her name out as a jazz vocalist. “I was awarded a scholarship by the nonprofit organization El Paso Friends of Jazz, which helps students who are studying jazz get through college,” she says. Soon after, she began singing with a salsa group, Fuego Latino, in dance clubs.

When she sings, Reyes feels the emotion of the songs and their words and tries to be a storyteller for her audience.

“I’ve always loved classic jazz standards, yet now listening to new ideas and sounds, I tend to lean toward that direction as well.”—Candice Reyes

Reyes fills the room with her powerful, sultry voice at Cafe Central in downtown El Paso.

In 2005, the Candice Reyes Quintet first began to take shape, and Reyes began playing for local events and venues. The group’s style is a healthy mix of classic jazz and a modern new sound. “I try to keep the old with the new,” Reyes says. “I’ve always loved classic jazz standards, yet now listening to new ideas and sounds, I tend to lean toward that direction as well.” In addition to singing, Reyes has also written original compositions and lyrics to a few jazz standards. While most people in El Paso are relaxing over the weekends, Reyes is hard at work. She calls this time her own version of the nine-to-five schedule that most people work during the week, though her occupation is clearly a passion. When she sings, Reyes feels the emotion of the songs and their words and tries to be a storyteller for her audience. She believes this is the most important thing about being a vocalist, followed by understanding time, feel, and style. “As a musician you need to know the form of every song in order to play without limitations,” she notes. Reyes’s husband Abel is a saxophone player in her quintet, and is also well known in the Southwest. Reyes and her husband have begun to form a musical family of their own, though it remains to be seen whether they will gift us with a future generation of musical prodigies. For now, the couple is working hard (but happily) creating more music to share with El Paso. Reyes, who graduates from UTEP’s music program this May, will release her first album in April. Candice Reyes Crossing Over features jazz standards and one original tune for which she wrote the lyrics. Though Reyes has already accomplished many things as a young musician, her future seems bright, and her goals are endless. “I eventually want to build a music school for low-income and young students,” says Reyes. “I want to expose students to a different world of music, and I want to do that here [in El Paso], because there are so many talented people here.” Candice Reyes Jazz Quintet



Vida Buena

by Danielle Urbina

country legends, local favorites Photos courtesy of Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau

The second annual Las Cruces Country Music Festival


ountry music lovers, get your boots on. For the second year in a row, the Las Cruces Country Music Festival is bringing country fans together for a few days of fun under the New Mexico sun. Hosted by the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau and produced by Helping Hands Event Planning, the festival, held April 24–27, has plenty of activities including live music concerts, a songwriter’s workshop, and meetand-greet opportunities with artists attending the festival. Headlining Friday night’s array of music is the Grammy award–winning Charlie Daniels Band—a legend in the country music business for more than 50 years. Saturday’s headliner will be up-and-coming country music superstar Cassadee Pope, who has already reached the number-one spot on iTunes All-Genre chart during her short time in the world of country music. (Su Casa chats with Pope on page 91.) The festival will also feature live performances by country musicians from all over the United States, including Las Cruces’ own Bri Bagwell, who returns to the festival for its second year. The festival’s songwriter’s workshop will be led by famed songwriter Tommy Lee James, who lists “A Man This Lonely” by Brooks & Dunn and “Wrong Again” by Martina McBride among his six number-one hits. Other festivities include a Western wear fashion show complete with an acoustic concert, and a fiddling contest. If you happen to be deemed the best fiddler in Las Cruces, you’ll get an autographed fiddle from Charlie Daniels, and an opportunity to meet the country legend famous for bringing the ultimate fiddling contest to life in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” And why not finish off your weekend with the ultimate country experience? Festivalgoers who purchase weekend passes will get free admission to the New Mexico State University’s Inter-Collegiate Rodeo. Nothing says country like a weekend of live music in the great outdoors. Las Cruces is the perfect place to pull up those boots and enjoy the sounds of country music this spring.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Las Cruces Country Music Festival

catching up with Cassadee Pope What has life been like since winning The Voice?

Life has made a complete 180 since I won The Voice. Before, I had no label, no management, and really no clear direction for what my music should sound like. Now, I’m the most happy with my career that I’ve ever been.

Courtesy of Creative Artists Agency

What made you decide to go back to your country roots? Not even a full two years after her victory on season three of The Voice, Cassadee Pope has been burning up the country music charts and climbing the ladder of musical success. Just after releasing her first album, Frame by Frame, Pope toured with Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry. We caught up with Pope during her trek across the United States.

Above: Bri Bagwell performs in her hometown of Las Cruces. In April, Bagwell returns for the Las Cruces Country Music Festival’s second year.

On The Voice, I hadn’t really made a conscious decision to go country. I’ve always loved country music and had so many country songs on my “cover list” for the show—songs I used to sing as a kid. After I did “Over You” and received such a strong reaction, I knew I was onto something. Not to mention it just felt right in my heart.

What has been the best part of touring?

Being able to meet the fans all over the country. It’s really inspiring to meet these

music lovers in person and to thank them for their support.

You just released Frame by Frame last October. What was that experience like for you?

Releasing my album was one of the most nerve-racking things I’ve done in a while! I wanted so badly for this album to speak for itself and for people to truly understand me. I knew there was only one shot to make this first impression, which was scary. So I basically handed out my heart to the world, and I am so happy I did.

What are some of your future plans?

Connecting with more and more fans. I want to be an international artist who can sell out arenas and even stadiums! I want to keep putting out albums that people really relate to. Most of all, I just want a lifelong career, and I’m committed to working hard. I love what I do so much, and I want it to last forever.

7933 N Mesa • Suite N El Paso, TX 79932 Across from Sam’s Club 915.584.1183 • Mon-Sat: 10-6 MKTG74125_VANITI_M.indd 1

8/5/2013 3:28:32 PM 91 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM

Vida Buena

by R. Monroe


pproaching Marfa from any direction means driving through desert scrubland for several hours on mostly deserted roads. First-time visitors may find it hard to believe that amid all this empty space sits a small town with a world-class art and food scene—plus a century-old mystery that’s been drawing people to this quiet corner of West Texas for decades.

the mysterious lights

Exploring quirky, cosmopolitan Marfa, Texas

Pop superstar Beyoncé stops for a bite to eat at Marfa’s Food Shark. Opposite: Ballroom Marfa, installations at the Chinati Foundation, and the famous Prada Marfa are among the many artistic attractions in the small town. 92

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Photos courtesy of Food Shark and Maiya’s Restaurant.

high culture in the high desert

Everyone’s heard of them, but no one can agree on what they are. The Marfa lights have long been a draw for the curious and skeptical alike. Although some naysayers like to explain the lights away as being nothing more than the reflections of car headlights on a distant road, the phenomenon was first noted in the late 1880s. For the best chance of spotting the mysterious lights, find an isolated place where the lights of the town won’t intrude. Then, look up. There’s an official Marfa lights viewing station a few miles east of town on Highway 67, but friendly locals will gladly share their favorite spots to see the lights. In any case, be on the lookout for hovering orbs that dart around the sky, changing speed and direction. And don’t worry, Marfa won’t leave you without thrills: Even if the lights don’t reveal themselves to you, odds are you’ll still get to see a shooting star or two.

Clockwise from top: Fredrik Nilsen, Douglas Tuck, James Evans, Douglas Tuck

fine dining, desert-style

Despite its tiny population, the town manages to support two first-class restaurants, a gourmet grocery store, several food trucks, and a number of local food purveyors.

Marfa’s food scene is an unexpected treat for weary road trippers who’ve had their fill of gas station snacks and roadside Mexican food. Despite its tiny population, the town manages to support two first-class restaurants, a gourmet grocery store, several food trucks, and a number of local food purveyors. Cochineal serves up small plates of seasonally inspired dishes in an elegant dining room that wouldn’t look out of place in New York City. That may be because the restaurant’s owners, Tom Rapp and Toshifumi Sakihara, ran a Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan before opening this Marfa outpost. The menu changes daily, but one thing remains constant: the decadent date pudding, the restaurant’s signature dessert. Marfa’s other upscale dinner option is Maiya’s, a bright and inviting restaurant serving classic Italian-inspired dishes. The lively bar is a great way to meet locals and fellow travelers alike. Daytime dining in Marfa runs the gamut from down-home (the Marfa Burrito Lady’s delicious $5 burritos are made right before your eyes in her home kitchen) to the quirky (enjoy upscale cafeteria food surrounded by vintage TVs and AstroTurf at Future Shark). Two food trucks, Food Shark and Fat Lyle’s, serve way-better-than-average falafel, burgers, and other inventive twists on normal lunch fare. But be forewarned: This is definitely not fast food. On busy days, the wait at either food truck can exceed 20 minutes.



Saturday mornings, stop by FarmStand Marfa, the area’s farmer’s market. One of the farm stand’s most popular vendors is Marfa Maid Dairy, “The Little Dairy on the Prairie.” Cheesemaker Malinda Beeman crafts artisanal chevre, feta, ricotta, and farmhouse cheddar using milk from the goats that live on her farm just outside town. Beeman occasionally teaches one- and two-day cheesemaking classes at the farm; check out the Marfa Maid website to see if one coincides with your visit.

minimalism . . . and more?

This dusty rural town first came to the art world’s attention when minimalist artist Donald Judd started buying up property here in the 1970s. Judd died in 1994, but his legacy is still visible all over town— keep an eye out for “I [square] Judd” bumper stickers, a tongue-incheek reference to the sculptor’s famous fondness for right angles. The best way to become familiar with Judd’s work is through a tour by the Chinati Foundation. In the 1980s, Judd bought the former Fort D.A. Russell on the southern edge of town and converted its buildings into large galleries to showcase work by himself and others. The full Chinati tour lasts all day, and is well worth it: As you walk between buildings featuring work by well-known minimalists like Carl Andre and Dan Flavin, the wide Marfa sky stretches wide and blue overhead. Looking at art surrounded by desert scrub and skittering grasshoppers offers a very different perspective than a museum; afterwards, you may just begin to see the landscape through an artist’s eyes. (There is also a shorter highlights tour for visitors with a time crunch.)

The Chinati Foundation shows Judd at his most austere and remote; for a more personal glimpse of the man, consider taking a tour offered by the Judd Foundation. After Judd’s death, his art studio and home were left pretty much as-is, giving visitors a sense of the highly controlled—but highly productive—way that the artist lived and worked. It’s a treat to peek in the windows of Judd’s home, called “The Block,” where right angles still prevail—except where the chaos of stickers in his son’s room introduces a bit of pleasant disorder. But art in Marfa isn’t only about minimalism these days. Ballroom Marfa recently celebrated a decade of bringing contemporary art, film, and music to Far West Texas. Its large gallery in the center of town can always be counted on for something surprising, from a meticulously recreated life-size sculpture of a meth lab to photographs of the decaying film set of the Texas epic film Giant (filmed just outside Marfa, incidentally). Don’t be fooled by Marfa’s size—this small Texas town has a huge personality. The effortless combination of high-class culture and a laid-back environment make it an ideal place for travelers wanting to try something different. Whether you’re staying for a few days or just over the weekend, Marfa’s eclectic character has a little bit of adventure for everyone.

resources Marfa Chamber of Commerce

Cochineal, one of Marfa’s fine dining hotspots, serves up beautiful seasonal dishes from their daily changing menu. 94

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Su Cocina

by Cassie McClure

Photographs by Bill Faulkner

a breath of fresh


A local alfresco hot spot gets a new name, but keeps its comforting reputation

“I think magic is one of the key words. The magic comes from what I have in my staff.” —John Becker, Magic Bistro


ucked inside Marketplace at Placita Santa Fe, the Magic Bistro is alive, inside and out, with the sounds of chirping birds, bubbling fountains, and happy chatter. Hidden behind a rock wall lined with trees, vines, and flowers, the Magic Bistro’s patio is like a little hideaway for diners seeking delicious food, conversation with good friends, and fresh air. Thanks to El Paso’s temperate climate, Magic Bistro diners can enjoy their meals alfresco almost all year-round—even during the windy season. “We’re closed in against the building, and


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Basil turkey sandwich with basil mayo on ciabatta

Red snapper with sauteed vegetables and wild rice pilaf

with the rock wall and trees, even the wind stays away,” says John Becker, co-owner and general manager. When The Magic Pan—a local favorite for two decades—shuttered last spring, the closing of its doors made way for the gates of Magic Bistro to swing wide open. Becker, general manager of The Magic Pan for almost 12 years, decided to take the step to continue the restaurant’s legacy with his brother Michael and two other partners, brothers Sonny and Andy Patel. Not only did part of the name carry over, but many of the staff as well. “I think magic is one of the key words. You have to believe in magic to make things happen for yourself,” says Becker. “The magic comes from what I have in my staff.” Instead of a single head chef in the kitchen, all of the cooks collaborate and experiment, mixing fresh food with new and old ideas.

Above: Vines and lush trees line the walls surrounding Magic Bistro’s popular alfresco dining area. Indoors, the spacious dining room (right) is warmed with colorful artwork, a bright accent wall, and a huge stone fireplace.



Red berry salad with dried cranberries, pecans, and blue cheese.

Crepes filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with fudge and a warm cajeta sauce.


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

“My cooks make everything, taste everything, blend everything,” says Becker. “They’ll come out and say, ‘Hey I tried it this way instead, what do you think of it?’” The all-forone, one-for-all system has worked well so far, says Becker, though he admits, “I’ve put on a few pounds.” Among the restaurant’s most popular dishes is an apricot turkey sandwich—focaccia bread with apricot spread, turkey, cheese, and avocado. “People love that sandwich,” Becker says proudly, noting that it reflects back on his staff’s teamwork. “I think when your staff feels good and your staff is happy, everything comes out better. By working with your staff, they’re going to produce better [food] for you.” All of the Magic Bistro’s breads, muffins, and soups (chicken tortilla soup is offered every day, along with a rotation of potato chile, mushroom artichoke, creamy cilantro, and others) are made on-site. And the Magic Bistro now offers separate lunch and dinner menus. “We call ours a dinner menu,” says Becker. “I think

A favorite draw for many customers is the large enclosed front patio, where good food and drink are enhanced with live music.

what scares people about fine dining is that they might have to dress up. Magic Bistro is not that. You come comfortable.” Comfort also stems from subtle changes that were made by refreshing the paint and listening to clientele. Customer suggestions inspired the owners to add sound panels to dampen the echo of the main dining room. A large fireplace inside lends the proper ambience for cozy and romantic seating indoors, but a favorite draw for many customers is the large enclosed front patio, where good food and drink are enhanced with live music from the Sullivan brothers and acoustic guitarist Julio Ortiz. Over the last year, Becker and his staff have learned a lot more about what exactly their new magic will be. “The biggest challenge has been getting our name out,” says Becker. He is optimistic, however, and plans to expand the patio with an option for a dance area and more outdoor seating. Where a seasoned staff and excellent quality collide, Magic Bistro provides something for any comfort-seeking diner. For Becker and his staff, it’s all about finding new ways to provide an experience that is nothing short of magical.

resources Magic Bistro 915-585-6940



Su Cocina

Text and photographs by Avraham Elias A pastry drizzled with chocolate and a variety of macarons pair perfectly with a cappuccino at Le Rendez-vous Café.

sweet on the

Southwest W

They have a serious passion for what they do, deliciously evident in their pastries. Colorful rows of macarons, glossy caramel pecan tarts, and beautiful French pastries fill the shelves of Belle Sucre’s pastry counter. Bowden’s priority is his customers. “As long as we have enough people who come in and like what we do, that’s what’s important to me,” he says. Though a passion for pastry and a strong following are important, Bowden is quick to point out that consistent quality is also key to Belle Sucre’s success. His motto is simple: Make a good product to make loyal customers. “You can make something very pretty, and technically impressive, but maybe it doesn’t taste very good, and that’s not really what being successful is about,” says Bowden. Stop by the bakery on a busy Saturday morning and you’ll see a line that begins to wrap around tables as customers take in the heady scent of freshly baked pastries. Or maybe

At its trendy new location in the Montecillo community, Gufo di Milano offers a taste of la dolce vita. The gelato freezer (below, left) is always well stocked.

hen your sweet tooth is begging indulgence, it’s easy to grab a couple cookies from the cookie jar or scoop out a few mounds of ice cream from the freezer for a quick fix. But when you want something really special, you need to look beyond your own kitchen. Three local sweet shops that promise freshness and high-quality ingredients delight in creating yummy treats for dessert lovers’ curious palates. Award-winning pastry chef Jonathan Bowden opened Belle Sucre Bakery in West El Paso in October 2012, after many years as pastry chef for The Greenery. It’s clear that what sets this bakery apart is the staff in the kitchen:

it’s Bowden’s mastery of the cronot that keeps customers coming back? The doughnut-croissant hybrid (a spinoff of the popular “Cronut” that’s swept the East Coast) is offered daily. It’s worth cheating on your diet for these. Farther down Mesa Street in El Paso, Gufo di Milano has a daily freezer full of fresh gelato to satisfy those with a hankering for a cold, creamy treat. Gelato, an Italianstyle ice cream, requires two things to make it truly authentic: delicate consistency and all-natural ingredients. At Gufo di Milano, the gelato is made fresh, batch by batch, from seasonal ingredients. Owner Sergio Moreno is a gelato artisan, eschewing artificial flavors of any kind. He began learning the craft in the Italian-cultured town of Airolo, Switzerland, while spending 100

The friendly staff at Gufo di Milano hand-scoops their gelato into cones, cups, and a variety of decadent sundaes.

At Gufo di Milano, the gelato is made fresh, batch-by-batch, from seasonal ingredients. From cronots to macarons, Belle Sucre Bakery serves up delicious pastries from its location in West El Paso.

summers there as a boy. This provoked a lifelong affair with gelato and a passion for flavor. Careful selection of fruits preserves the great flavor of Moreno’s gelato. “We don’t add any chunks of fruit to our gelato, and we don’t decorate our gelato with fruit,” says Moreno. “We don’t need to, because what you are having is 100 percent natural.” The beautiful, colorful pastry case at Le Rendez-vous Café in Las Cruces is hard to resist. The man behind the artistry is owner Thierry Marceaux, who operates this small and extremely popular café. Born the son of a baker in southern France, there’s no question as to why the talented Marceaux chose to follow (slightly) in his father’s footsteps and become a pastry chef. Marceaux says that in France, baking and pastry-making are separate trades. While one specifically focuses on bread, the other focuses on the delicate craftsmanship and creative artistry required to produce pastries. Marceaux has had a lifelong affair with sweets, and worked professionally as a pastry chef since finishing his pastry specialization studies in France in the early 1990s. He then moved to New Orleans, where he worked for almost 20 years in several four-star hotels.

While taste is important, Thierry Marceaux also takes pride in the beautiful look of his desserts.

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina provoked him to look for a new home elsewhere. Luckily for the Southwest, he chose Las Cruces. When it comes down to his favorite items to make, Marceaux’s style is larger than life, and he offers a variety of pastries for his customers. “I like to wow; I like to be big and grandiose,” says Marceaux. Le Rendez-vous offers everything from custard-filled pastries and macarons to shiny fruit tarts and a variety of breads. From gelato to cronots to crusty French pain, these local sweet shops are giving the Southwest a delicious taste of several different worlds. Is your mouth watering yet?

resources Belle Sucre Bakery Gufo di Milano Le Rendez-vous Café 575-527-0098 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Su Cocina

by Danielle Urbina

hello, yellow! Sunny and cheerful, yellow is a beautiful way to brighten your home. When it comes to the kitchen, yellow has increasingly become a popular choice for décor, everyday gadgetry, and tableware. Here are a few of our favorite kitchen products that are both pretty and practical.

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer Baking just got a lot easier. This majestic yellow stand mixer from KitchenAid can handle large batches of all your favorite goodies. The mixer comes with a flat beater, dough hook, and professional wire whip, so you can try your hand at anything from fluffy whipped cream to soft, delicious bread. $350, Kitchen Collection

Dualit Citrus Yellow New Generation Classic Toaster Here’s a product that you’ll want to display all the time. Dualit’s four-slice toaster features extra-wide slots, defrost and bagel options, and a sleek metallic finish that pairs nicely with its bright yellow hardware. This toaster will add a cheerful dash of color to your kitchen countertop.

Le Creuset 1.25-Quart Demi Tea Kettle It’s tea time in the springtime! Le Creuset’s tea kettle for two brings sunshine to rainy spring days with its dual tones of yellow. The tea kettle features enamel-on-steel construction, a phenolic knob, a fixed whistle, and locking handle. Its small size makes it perfect for those times when you feel like curling up on the couch with a warm cup of tea. $65, Dillards,

$343, Target,

Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer When the weather warms up, an ice-cold glass of lemonade really hits the spot. Use this juicer to add fresh citrus juice to any of your springtime drinks, or add some zest to refreshing cocktails. Fitted with an extra gear mechanism, the juicer is easy on your hands and employs increased juicing power for your needs. 102

S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

$25, Kitchen Collection,

Pier 1 Imports Chloe Dinnerware Serve your guests with all the goodness of spring. The Chloe dinnerware set from Pier 1 features a bright yellow base adorned with a print of blooming white flowers. Dishwasher-safe and made of ironstone, the plates and bowls in this collection are great for everyday use. Individual pieces $7 Pier 1 Imports,

Emile Henry Oil Cruet This one’s for the oil connoisseurs. Emile Henry’s oil cruet is handcrafted from burgundy clay straight from France. Whether you collect infused oils or just need a place to store your everyday cooking oil, the cruet’s craftsmanship makes it both durable and opaque, which will keep your oils from going bad quickly. The citron yellow color of this piece will make it stand out in your cooking area. $45, Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe



Bill Faulkner

Dream On

private paradise The Arriola family wanted their dream home to resemble an extravagant beachfront spread in Miami, but bodies of water are hard to come by in El Paso. The family struck gold when they found their ideal property in El Paso’s Upper Valley, complete with a small, private lake in the backyard. In creating the Arriolas’ ultramodern dreamscape, Juan Carlos and Lorena Rodriguez of Silver Springs Pool & Spa constructed the deck with dark shades of cantera stone and lined the pool with opaque tiles. They also hung LED tree lights and added fire bowl features for warmth. But the real stunner is the infinity-edge pool: The spa is in the center of the pool with four negative edges, giving the illusion that the pool and spa all merge together to flow into the lake. It may not be Miami, but for the Arriola family, it’s their own piece of paradise. Silver Springs Pool & Spa,, 915-875-0290


S U C A S A S p r i n g 2014

Profile for Bella Media Group

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Spring 2014 Digital Edition  

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Spring 2014 Digital Edition

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Spring 2014 Digital Edition  

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Spring 2014 Digital Edition

Profile for santafean