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handsome front entry doors

El Paso & Southern New Mexico


inspiration ideas resources

desert-inspired lighting

mod furniture goes green

as good as new an El Paso–style home makeover

Vol. 2 no. 3 SUMMER 2014

You could scrub. But why? [YOU HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO!] Change the way you cook and the way you clean up with KitchenAid appliances from Builders Source Appliance Gallery. Check us out. Discover your choices. SERVING THE SOUTHWEST SINCE 1993

You’ll never go anywhere else!

EL PASO: 6560 Montana Ave . 915.775.1000 . LAS CRUCES: 760 West Palms . 575.526.5200 .



El Paso & Southern New Mexico


inspiration ideas resources


40 home is where the art is With the homeowner’s eclectic art collection and taste for historical design in mind, Wayne and Kiki Suggs build a home in the heart of Mesilla.

50 as good as new

A dated home is transformed into a colorful, child-friendly abode with plenty of classic El Paso characteristics.

60 a lighter touch

A pair of home connoisseurs and an El Paso designer reunite to transform a federal home from dark and dated to beautiful and bright.

70 art for the ages


Both inside and out, a Las Cruces home is filled with an impressive collection of historic Old West art.


Courtesy of Puerto Peñasco Convention & Visitors Bureau


in every issue

6 Inside Su Casa

8 Life+Style Southwest Rethinking landscape design for small backyards, transforming your yard into a private movie theater, turning up the heat with outdoor kitchens, a blooming community garden in El Paso, and a roundup of summertime grilling products.

24 Design Studio

Desert-inspired lighting, Steve Thomas talks barbecue, innovative light art, a collection of eco-friendly bamboo furniture, designer Moll Anderson’s tips for beautiful outdoors spaces, the art of custom-made entry doors, and more.

76 Su Libro

Four new books feature ideas and inspiration from pro designers and gardeners.

82 Live Performance Calendar

El Paso and Las Cruces come to life this summer with plenty of live music and theater.

84 Vida Buena A rockin’ summertime concert series, tips for building a private home gym, and everything you need to know about osteoporosis.

90 Travel

Puerto Peñasco offers a relaxing seaside trip that may be closer than you think.

94 Su Cocina



SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

Courtesy of Greenington, LLC

An El Paso home cook shares her family recipes, keeping tradition alive at Ripe Eatery, and the scoop on craft beer.

104 Dream On A series of arches, ambient lighting, and a colorful stained glass door come together to create a luxurious master bathroom. On the cover: Stained concrete floors and high ceilings with thick wooden beams add El Paso flair to this home’s living room. Read all about it on page 50.


Inside Su Casa

let’s step outside


Bruce Adams Publisher


SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014


he primary reason I live here in the West is my love of the outdoors. The climate here in El Paso and Las Cruces is wonderful; pleasant evening temperatures make the outdoors welcoming, whether it’s on a hiking trail or lounging in the backyard. Our homes very easily invite the outdoors in and the indoors out. More and more, we can enjoy being outdoors with all of the creature comforts of our indoor life. There is little you can’t do outside in your backyard these days, from gourmet cooking to watching movies. This issue of Su Casa will show you how to make your outdoor life complete.  We all know that outdoor cooking and barbecuing has made some major strides— check out our stories on custom outdoor kitchens and the latest grilling products that will help you take your expertise to another level. As the sun sets and provides a beautiful Western backdrop, learn how well-designed lighting can add mood to your outdoor environs—and enjoy those spaces by turning on one of the new outdoor flat-screen TVs, designed to not only repel the elements but to reduce outdoor glare. Having friends over to watch the game is a whole new experience when it’s outdoors. The season is here. We’re blessed to live in a place so conducive to outdoor life and have better toys to make it so comfortable. A final note. With this issue we welcome nationally known home and lifestyle expert, Moll Anderson. You will love reading her useful and practical ideas for enhancing not only your home, but your life. As we like to say at Su Casa: Your home is your life. Make it beautiful. And that includes the outdoors.

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 Cristina Olds Contributors Moll Anderson, Tiffany Etterling Cassie McClure, Ben Ikenson, R.A. Monroe Jessica Muncrief, Julieta Rios, Steve Thomas Lead Graphic Designer Sybil Watson Designer & Media Specialist Michelle Odom Photography Avraham Elias, Bill Faulkner Nohemy Gonzalez, 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 3, Summer 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 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

all natural Notice anything different about this pool? The homeowners, who live in the foothills of the Franklin Mountains, wanted to avoid the typical fiberglass or gunnite structure, opting instead for a more natural look. Mark Nash of Nash Patio & Garden extended the warm, terra cotta–hued Colorado moss rock of the decking right into the pool itself, lining its floor and walls. To create a seamless look, the moss rock was also used in the design of the lovely, split waterfall, which appears to come straight out of the mountain behind it. Finished with xeric landscaping and a few colorful potted plants, this pool is a delightful escape—a backyard oasis of simple beauty amid the soothing sound of cascading water.

Bill Faulkner

Nash Patio & Garden,


SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014



Life+Style Southwest

by Jessica Muncrief

dream big

Photographs by Bill Faulkner

. . . even if your yard is small

A small pool and elevated spa make the most of limited space while also taking advantage of spectacular views.


t’s a common problem. The house is perfect, but the yard . . . well, it leaves something to be desired. If it’s just a big, blank canvas of dirt, it’s an easy fix: Let your imagination run wild and hire a skilled landscape designer to bring it to life. But what if the problem is less about ideas and more about square footage? Short of knocking down some house walls, when it comes to the size and shape of the yard, you’re pretty much stuck with what you’ve got. As it turns out, with a little forethought and planning, you really can have it all—and make your yard seem bigger in the process.


SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

stay focused Making the most of a tiny yard is all about the power of perception. It is very possible to create an optical illusion of sorts that makes a small space seem larger. Using long lines, designing on a diagonal, and converging parallel lines into a vanishing point are all tricks of the landscaping trade. Local designer Mark Nash did just that when he was called upon to revamp a West El Paso yard nestled right up against the neighbor’s plot on one side and a golf course on the other. “Our challenge was working within a very long, L-shaped garden,” he remembers. “The area between the wall of the house and the property fence is so narrow that we really wanted eyes to look down the length as opposed to the width. We decided to install a long, winding, active stream bed, which works perfectly and also creates a very soothing sound that subtly reverberates between the two vertical surfaces.” Ultimately, the goal is to create positive focal points so the eye only sees what wants to be seen. Pergolas and arbors are not only classic Southwestern elements, they’re also

ideal for smaller yard spaces. A pergola’s height alone immediately draws attention and gives a sense of grandeur, but it also creates a frame that reinforces an attractive view. Privacy and shade from the punishing desert sun are added bonuses. be greedy In theory it seems contradictory, but it turns out more is more where small spaces are concerned. Dreaming of a cozy outdoor sitting area? Love the idea of a water feature? How about a garden bursting with blooms? Opting for all of the above can actually make the yard seem larger. In his “challenging” project, Nash added a pergola in one corner and finished off that active stream bed with a pond visible from both a side yard and the backyard. He even managed to fulfill the homeowner’s wish for a relaxing area with a strategically placed, elevated spa that takes advantage of the property’s best views. Using contrasting materials, shaping borders with garden beds and hedges, incorporating pathways, building on

Above: To clearly separate the yard from the golf course, Nash planted several flowering shrubs around trickling ponds throughout the yard. Below: A large pergola in the center of the yard adds height and shade to the outdoor dining area.

Adding an abundance of lush plants and shrubs is another tactic to create a private oasis—and it is entirely possible within small spaces.



It is very possible to create an optical illusion of sorts that makes a small yard seem larger. elevated tiers—all of these clever fixes clearly define spaces and trick the brain into thinking there is more yardage than there actually is. cover up Small yards are usually limited because something or someone is literally right next door. This brings up another common concern: privacy. In the rolling foothills of the Franklin Mountains, Nash says he often encounters homes in which the neighbor’s property line is at a higher level, giving them a clear bird’s eye view of everything going on down below. In these cases, pergolas, tall stone fireplaces, and tall trees can do wonders. “Within a limited space, cherry laurel trees generally grow tall and narrow and can easily be pruned within the confines,” he says. Adding an abundance of lush plants and shrubs is another tactic to create a private oasis—and it is entirely possible within small spaces. Instead of looking overcrowded, it often makes a cozy yard seem, well, cozier. The trick is to carefully select low-maintenance plants that are not prone to overgrowth. “We focus mainly on using what you would consider dwarf-type plants,” adds Nash. “They don’t have to be pruned continuously, so they easily stay within a limited space.”

resources Nash Patio & Garden


SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

Paradise Pools

To give the illusion of a larger space, Nash installed a long stream bed lined with lush foliage that flows through the entire yard.



Life+Style Southwest

cinema under the


Turn your backyard into the ultimate outdoor movie theater

Courtesy of C SEED

by Ben Ikenson

Above: Systems like C SEED’s giant folding outdoor TV are great for viewing anything from sporting events to the latest blockbusters. Right: Outdoor home theater systems can be integrated to fit the style and landscaping of many backyards. 14

SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

“All-weather outdoor LCD-LED TVs deliver superior brightness while resisting the harsh effects of rain, dirt, insects, extreme temperatures, and UV rays.” —Rafael Gonzalez

Courtesy of Draper, Inc.

If the heyday of the drive-in movie theater is long gone, the era of state-of-the-art outdoor home theater entertainment is rapidly dawning. Outdoor theater systems come in many shapes and sizes, can be seamlessly integrated into the design of an existing covered patio or new outdoor living area, and often make for welcome additions in temperate climes like the Southwest. “Outdoor systems are very popular in El Paso because the weather is nice almost year-round,” says Clark Beckett of Beck-Tech Technology Solutions. As a business student at the University of Texas at El Paso, Beckett realized that “technology moves faster than the average person,” and he established his company in 2010 to help bridge that gap. The market, he says, led him to home theater systems. “It turns out that the technology isn’t the challenging part; it’s integrating new technology into homes and making it look good while doing so,” says Beckett, who notes that while wireless audio systems are available, hard-wired systems almost always produce superior results. “Many audio receivers come with an option where you can use the same receiver you use for your home theater to control your patio speakers, and the receivers let these zones be used independently of one another,” he says. “So for instance, the kids may be watching a

Courtesy of SunBrite TV

movie in the living room while Dad’s listening to the radio while grilling out in the backyard.” As for outdoor televisions, Beckett says there are many excellent options. But he says they can cost four times the amount of a regular indoor flat-screen TV. “For those on a budget, we recommend the lessexpensive, regular old flat screen for outside. Just cover it when it’s not in use.” Covers with thick, protective material (such as grill covers) work great and will help protect your TV from the elements. This option, Beckett acknowledges, comes with a compromise, as weatherproof TV Rafael Gonzalez of HPS Audio & Video suggests the use of systems include anti-glare and other weatherproof TV systems engineered specifically for the outdoors. features optimal for outdoor viewing. Rafael Gonzalez of HPS Audio & Video advises his customers to go with equipment—screens, speakers, cables, and even mounting devices—engineered specifically for outdoor use. “All-weather outdoor LCD-LED TVs deliver superior brightness while resisting the harsh effects of rain, dirt, insects, extreme temperatures, and UV rays,” he says. Having started his company in 1990, Gonzalez has observed the evolution of audio and video installations for nearly 25 years. “We’ve always emphasized to customers that buying products for their home is an investment, and as such, they should invest in a product that will provide service for the longest period of time.” That’s why Gonzalez also notes that there are TV models engineered with all-weather, outdoor-rated, high-impact resin- or powder-coated aluminum exteriors that protect the device’s internal components. Indeed, there are many considerations involved in creating an outdoor home theater, but there are also experts like Soundquest Beck-Tech Technology Beckett and Gonzalez to help walk customers through the process. And when all Solutions System Integrations is said and done, you can grab the popcorn, HPS Audio & Video park yourself in a patio lounger, and enjoy the show. Best seat in the house.

“Outdoor systems are very popular in El Paso because the weather is nice almost year-round.” —Clark Beckett





seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living is one perk of living in the Southwest; in the summer, warm weather and sunny skies entice many homeowners to dress down and head outside to enjoy a national pastime: cooking outdoors over an open fire. That’s why some homeowners, like El Paso builder Ted Milliken of Milliken Construction, are going beyond the grill and adding full outdoor kitchens to their homes. “Restaurants have gotten loud, and prices continue to rise,” says Milliken. “We decided building an outdoor kitchen would allow us to enjoy our family and friends, not to mention our own backyard.” Above: The ribeyes and veggies stand ready for grilling in an outdoor kitchen by Western Wholesale Supply. Right: The kitchen in Ted Milliken’s backyard is the perfect place to enjoy El Paso summers.


SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

Fully equipped outdoor kitchens give new meaning to eating out

Bill Faulkner

turning up the heat

by Tiffany Etterling

Rudy Torres

Life+Style Southwest

A full outdoor kitchen in West El Paso features a large Fire Magic grill, mini fridge, and warming drawers equipped by Embers in El Paso.

Rudy Torres

Depending on the design, outdoor kitchens vary in price but are an investment for those who enjoy spending time outside. Milliken recommends enlisting the help of a licensed and bonded contractor for design and construction and warns do-it-yourselfers to do indepth research before starting a project; fire hazards associated with outdoor kitchens must be carefully considered. “A natural gas grill burns hotter because you get more BTUs than propane,” explains Milliken. “You’ve got to be careful, because if left on, grills can overheat and create fires.”

A grill by DCS, one of many major cooking appliance manufacturers offering outdoor cooking options.

Courtesy of Morrison Supply Company

It’s important to make sure an outdoor kitchen is detached and a minimum of three feet away from the main structure of a home, says Milliken. “I see some builders enclosing the area so much that the grill smoke gets trapped around the grill,” adds Jerry Oakes of Embers, a local retailer of grills and grilling products. “This is not a zero-clearance appliance. It needs to be outdoors.” If you’re going to put any kind of covering over the grill, Oakes recommends installing an exhaust hood similar to an indoor range hood. Depending on the features being installed, an outdoor kitchen requires access to gas, water, and electric lines. Fire safety dictates never building an outdoor kitchen structure with a wooden frame, warns Milliken. “I build out of cinderblock and then add a finish like stucco or the stacked stone that matches the home’s aesthetics.” Tile, flagstone, and concrete all make excellent countertop surfaces. Milliken suggests concrete because it’s easy to maintain and doesn’t stain easily. When it comes to picking out appliances, Embers offers the latest technology in grilling and outdoor kitchen fixtures. “Our most popular line is Fire Magic,” says Oakes. “They’ve been making grills for over 75 years. They are the leader in the industry, and it’s all made in the USA.” Fire Magic offers cutting-edge grilling innovations (and fun toys) like LED-backlit controls, advanced technology for rotisserie grilling, spring-loaded grill hoods for easy opening, Magic View ceramic windows, and more. Other major cooking appliance manufacturers like Wolf, Viking, DCS, and Saber offer an extensive line of outdoor cooking options as well. An outdoor kitchen is so much more than just a grill. According to Oakes, many homeowners are now including bartending sinks, warming drawers, chilling drawers, refrigerators, fire pits, fireplaces, and seating areas in their outdoor cooking spaces. “It’s just so nice being able to enjoy the entertaining and the outdoors,” says Milliken. “And what better place to enjoy the outdoors than your own home?”

Rudy Torres

“We decided building an outdoor kitchen would allow us to enjoy our family and friends, not to mention our own backyard.”—Ted Milliken



resources Builders Source Appliance Gallery Embers Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery Milliken Construction Inc. MJK Special Construction Morrison Supply Company Western Wholesale Supply Inc. 18

SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

Rudy Torres

A wood-fired pizza oven is part of an outdoor kitchen designed by Jeffrey Huff of Design Alliance in El Paso.

Life+Style Southwest

by Danielle Urbina



SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014



rom ripe tomatoes in a salad to tasty squash in a stir-fry, knowing where your produce comes from has become an important consideration in many communities throughout the United States. In El Paso, healthy eating programs like the Vista Del Valle Community Garden are spreading that message loud and clear; the best part is, you can grow your own produce whether you have a home garden or not. In early 2011, El Paso’s City Council adopted a healthy eating resolution focusing on programs aimed at healthier lifestyles for its citizens. The Parks and Recreation Department, eager to embrace that resolution, received grants from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation to establish a pilot community garden project that would allow El Pasoans to plant and maintain their own plots. Marcia Tuck believes that supporting food systems like the community garden is an excellent way to bring the community together. As the Parks and Recreation

Above, inset: A young member of the community garden tends to radishes in her gardening plot at the Vista Del Valle Community Garden (top).

Courtesy of El Paso Parks and Recreation

Vegetables, flowers, and relationships grow in the Vista Del Valle Community Garden

“One of the benefits of the community garden is that you learn from your neighbors.” —Marcia Tuck Department’s open space, trails, and parks coordinator, Tuck says that since its grand opening in May 2012, the garden has maintained a high level of interest among single individuals and large groups alike. “I think there’s a growing desire in El Paso to have amenities like this,” she says. “For folks to know, even in some small way, where their food is coming from is great.” The gardening plots range in size and produce an array of vegetation. Most types of vegetables, including tomatoes and corn, are grown on the premises, but seasonal vegetation like pumpkins can also be found. “You also need those flowering plants— pollinators that bring in the bees and the butterflies,” says Tuck. “So in there you’ll find a mix of flowers and things you can eat.” Education is another component of the community garden that keeps it thriving. The department offers six different Gardening 101 workshops, which are taught in the multipurpose center next door to the garden. And if there’s any curiosity about pesky bugs, the instructors have that unpleasant aspect of gardening covered. The center offers a class on pest management that involves the hands-on activity of identifying “good” and “bad” bugs throughout the garden. However, the real education comes from learning from those around you. That’s what the community garden is really about, according to Tuck. “One of the benefits of the community garden is that you learn from your neighbors,” she says. “You can ask your neighbor how they did something or how they were able to keep up with a certain plant. That’s where the community part of the garden comes into play.”

Plots in the garden range in size and produce both flowering plants and vegetables that members can take home to their families.

Corn thrives in one garden member’s plot. Above, inset: Another member checks on the firmness of a pumpkin.

A bounty of tomatoes, eggplant, and summer squash from the community garden.

resources El Paso Parks & Recreation SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Summer 2014 Advertisers 77 Stone.........................................................................65 150 Sunset – Nursery...............................back cover A-1 Kitchens by Sierra...............................................7 All Care / Nash Patio & Garden.........................18 American Artificial Grass.......................................58 Artistic Entryways......................................................66 Bank 34..........................................................................77 Bella Vista.....................................................................67 Border Solar.................................................................58 Builders Source Appliance Gallery........................1 C & D Southwest Lumber Corp........................47 Casa Décor...................................................................49 Classic New Mexico Homes.....................................3 Cesar Espinoza...........................................................97 Closet Factory..............................................................65 Connie Hines Interior Design..............................39 Copenhagen..............................................................31 Crown Heritage Homes.........................................68 Custom Doors & Fine Cabinetry......................57 Debbie Salome Design & Construction................57 Decorating Den..........................................................29 Definitive Homes.......................................................13 Dekora...................................................................29 Designs by L.L. Power & Associates.....................9 Diemer Building & Remodeling...........................75 Doña Ana County Assessor..................................27 Edible Arrangements..............................................101 EF Building Materials..............................................46 El Paso Cosmetic Surgery Center.......................80 El Paso Varicose Veins Laser Clinic....................87 El Paso Wood Products...........................................45 Embers......................................................................15 Guzman’s Color Your World...................................6 Habitat for Humanity..............................................48 HPS Audio & Video.................................................68 International Quality Products............................66 Johnny’s Septic............................................................77 Las Cruces Awning Co.............................................6 Las Cruces Home Builders........inside back cover McCormick Architecture.......................................54 Milliken Construction.............................................22 Morrison Supply.........................................................19 Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio...................................9 Paradise Pools..............................................................12 Persian Rug Gallery....................................................65 Plaster Queen..............................................................56 Pointe Homes..............................................................59 Ponderosa Furniture....................................................5 Quiñones Design / Build..........................................25 Rawson Builders Supply...........................................33 Red Mountain Bistro...............................................97 Sandy Messer & Associates......................................4 Sherwood Fine Wood Designs.............................74 Silver Springs Pools & Spa......................................55 Southwestern Home Products.............................13 Spencer Theater..........................................................85 Stenner Custom Pergolas........................................18 Stout Hardwood Floor Co....................................64 Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso.........................81 The Lodge Resort & Spa.........................................92 The Patio.......................................................................22 The State Line...........................................................101 Torres Welding...........................................................48 Tropicana Homes........................inside front cover Vanities................................................................85 Western Wholesale Supply Company.................69 Westside Lighting Gallery......................................47 22

SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

grilling greats

by Danielle Urbina

Whether you’re a backyard grill master or just enjoy getting out of the heat of the kitchen, summer is the season for outdoor cooking. Products and tools for cooking outdoors have come a long way from rickety patio grills and charcoal briquettes. Here are a few of our favorite new grill products for the summer.

Rösle Barbecue Cleaning Brush Rösle’s stainless steel brush keeps your grill in top shape. Its four spiral-shaped brushes are made with brass bristles that scour even the grimiest of grills, and the rotating brushes can be replaced when necessary. Whether your grill has cast iron or stainless steel grates, Rösle’s brush will get it squeaky clean for your next outdoor cooking adventure. $45, Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe

Mr. Bar-B-Q Single Kabob Baskets The nonstick design of Mr. BarB-Q’s kabob baskets makes it easy to grill vegetables and other kabob foods, skewerfree. Simply cut up your favorite kabob ingredients, place in the single baskets, latch the lids, and turn on the heat; use the smooth bamboo handles to pull them on and off the grill.

Lynx 36" Freestanding Grill with ProSear Burner and Rotisserie Become an expert behind the grill with this polished, high-power grill by Lynx. Its signature ProSear infrared burner cooks steaks, seafood, and more at just the right temperature. It also features control illumination with blue LED lighting, halogen grill lights, stainless steel grates, a dual-position internal rotisserie, and 935 square inches of serious grill surface.

Big Green Egg Large Egg This Egg means serious business. An innovation in the world of outdoor cooking, the Big Green Egg delivers a cooker that grills, smokes, and bakes all your favorite summertime meals. The insulated ceramic device features adjustable temperatures that cook from “low and slow” to 750 degrees of steak house–style grilling. The ceramic Egg also retains heat and moisture for baking breads, pizzas, and delicious cobblers—a jack-of-all-trades for the outdoors. $849–$1,216, Embers,

$6,200, Builders Source Appliance Gallery

$8 (set of 2), Kitchen Collection

Outset Rosewood 3-Piece BBQ Tool Set Avid grillers will be happy to add this tool set to their collection of grilling gadgets. Outset’s trio of essentials includes a spatula, fork, and tongs, all crafted with durable stainless steel. The attractive rosewood handles are ergonomic for comfortable use. $40, Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe,

Grill Friends by Elizabeth Karmel Super Silicone Angled BBQ Mop This nifty “mop” is the perfect tool for saucing or glazing ribs, chicken, steak, seafood, and veggies. Its 15-inch angled handle helps to sauce all those hard-to-reach places on the grill without burning your hands. The mop’s removable head has 167 silicone bristles that pick up plenty of sauce and are a breeze to clean once you’re done. $14, Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Design Studio

by Danielle Urbina

illumination, enhanced Desert-inspired lighting for your Southwestern landscape

Pigmented with verdigris patina, the Desert Lights collection blends seamlessly into desert landscaping because of the lifelike color of every piece.


SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

The pieces in the collection feature galvanized steel structures that are resistant to rust, even near salt water and other harsh elements. The Blue Agave models add a bold pop of color to a walkway lined with desert rock and cactus. Courtesy of Outdoor Fire Concepts


hen the sun goes down, it’s time for outdoor spaces to beam with light and fire. By seamlessly integrating a line of exciting and Southwest-appropriate lighting called Desert Lights right into landscapes, Outdoor Fire Concepts is giving homeowners a creative way to add functionality to their yards while enhancing the appeal of their outdoor living spaces. Owners Pat and Debbie Klohr know a thing or two about creatively incorporating dazzling fire features into outdoor living areas. Outdoor Fire Concepts, which moved to Las Cruces in 2009, has specialized in custom-made pools, fire features, landscape features, and home automation for more than 20 years. The pieces in the Desert Lights collection feature galvanized steel structures that are resistant to rust, even near salt water and other harsh elements. Designed to look like Southwestern plants and cacti—so well that you might find yourself doing a double-take—the most striking of the collection are the Saguaro Cactus structures, which come in sizes of five feet and taller and can be lit by landscape lighting or torch canister. Debbie Klohr credits the realistic look of the Desert Lights fire features to precise craftsmanship (all are made in the United States) and verdigris patina, a pigment that gives the structures more lifelike color. “I think Desert Lights is a great collection for this area because we live in the desert where plants, like cactus, are everywhere,” she says. “Also, because of the drought, it’s good to have something like this in your yard because

Debbie Klohr of Outdoor Fire Concepts suggests combining two or more pieces from the collection to create the authentic look of desert landscaping.

resources Outdoor Fire Concepts

The owner of this home incorporated the Passion Flower models with other desert plant life to enhance the realistic look of the steel flowers.

there’s really no upkeep.” The collection also includes smaller structures like the Blue Agave and Passion Flower models, which are both made with striking pieces of colorful steel to resemble budding flowers on a base of realistic-looking steel leaves. Debbie suggests combining two or more of the pieces (like the Saguaro Cactus and the Golden Barrel Cactus) to truly create the authentic look of a desert landscape. And as for where to place them in your yard, “they look best on hillsides and areas where there’s no irrigation,” she says. “They also look great in places where there’s a lot of rock in the landscaping.” Maintenance for the collection is a breeze. Much like their live desert-based counterparts, the metal structures weather naturally and require little to no care at all. Each piece in the Desert Lights collection can be illuminated by landscape lighting or torch canister.

luna sol media design

Design Studio

by Steve Thomas

beyond the barbecue Like a good martini, a great outdoor kitchen keeps the party going

Since it’s virtually impossible to get people out of the kitchen during fun gatherings, it makes sense to move the kitchen out of the house.

Steve Thomas


hat do you get when you combine a big pile of rocks, a Kubota tractor, and a mound of pea gravel left over from a landscaping project? Steve’s Grill Patio & Martini Bar! This was one of those “simple” little projects on my bucket list that I decided needed to get done sooner than later. So I scraped off the grass and soil, graded the base, installed landscape fabric, built the stone wall, and finally spread the pea stone. Admittedly, a huge amount of labor for, what? A place to put the barbie? Nah, it’s more complicated than that. We have a summer camp on a Maine island. It started out as a shack, but I renovated it, and now it’s become a real gathering spot for all our friends. Now, thanks to Steve’s Grill Patio & Martini Bar, the generally raucous behavior that takes place when the boys get together (the, ahem, martini element) has moved out of the kitchen and into the yard,

The kitchen is the natural gathering place for the home. But summer cooking, whether it’s lobsters in Maine or green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico, is much different than winter cooking. Good weather encourages informal gatherings with plenty of kids, grownups, dogs, celebratory beverages, and good times. And since it’s virtually impossible to get people out of the kitchen during fun gatherings, it makes sense to move the kitchen out of the house. The Southwest is the perfect climate for an outdoor kitchen. Generally dry and clement weather (and hardly any insects!) means you can design an outdoor kitchen as both an integral architectural feature and a part of your daily lifestyle. You could easily replicate the typical elements of an indoor kitchen outside, but if you’re consider-

ing an outdoor kitchen, this is your chance to really think outside the box. I use the “GP&MB” to grill, of course; I also quick-cook lobsters (20 at a time) in a big Louisiana crawfish cooker that shoots flames a foot high. Can’t do that inside. Outside, however, you can indulge outdoor cooking fantasies with a wood-fired bread oven, the mother of all Southern barbecue pits, or a monster grill for roasting your own chiles. The taste of food and wine is as much about where it’s cooked and with whom we cook it as it is about the food itself. The ritual of cooking is part of the experience. I think back to some of the best meals I’ve had, and they’ve been prepared outside: roast chicken on a wood fire overlooking the countryside in southern France; spitroasted Thanksgiving turkey on a snowcovered island near Boston; steaks grilled in a fire pit next to a running acequia in Santa Fe. If you’re thinking of an outdoor kitchen, go for it. My next project? A stone oyster bar. Stay tuned!

Phase One of Steve’s Grill Patio & Martini Bar: firing up the Kubota and breaking ground.

Steve Thomas is a home renovation expert and the spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity International. 26

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Evy Blum

which certainly makes my wife happy. The bonus: Cooking chores are now assigned to the boys, leaving her responsible for salad and maybe one of her famous fresh fruit tarts.

Design Studio

enlightened art Form and function flawlessly unite in LightArt’s Botanicals collection


t all started with a company field trip. Employees from the Seattle-based studio LightArt spent the day at the city’s Volunteer Park Conservatory, a 100-year-old Victorianstyle greenhouse. Their instructions were simple: Wander around, get inspired, and start sketching. Back in the studio, they began experimenting with 3form’s Varia Ecoresin—translucent panels made from recycled plant resins—to take their ideas from paper to three-dimensional works of art. “The end result showcases the diversity of tal28

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When lit, elaborate details reveal themselves, like the layering of leaves in a bromeliad.

One-of-a-kind pendants add a subtle, ambient glow to indoor spaces.

ent and creativity abundant in our studio, following our mission to create artistic, one-of-a-kind lighting solutions that are unlike anything you’ve seen before,” says Ryan Grey Smith, LightForm’s cofounder, creative director, and president. Indeed, the chandeliers and lighting pendants coming out of this collaboration are both originative and remarkable, something Smith attributes in no small part to the “seemingly endless” combination of colors, textures, patterns, and finishes of Varia Ecoresin available. The malleability of the material allowed the artists to perfectly re-create the gracefully drooping cones of foxglove flowers. White iridescent panels, comingled with periwinkle and translucent suede, aptly pinpoint the fragility of a dragonfly’s wings. Khaki, aloe, and fog elements channel the inspiriting rusty hues of autumn leaves. And when the light is switched on, intricate details and previously unseen nuances, like the subtle color variations in a rose’s petals, are revealed in their full glory. Locally, these hanging functional art forms can be ordered through Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery on Mesa Street in El Paso. “The Botanicals collection is very organic,” says Ferguson lighting expert Deborah Terrazas. “The pieces are fluid and airy, and they are so unique that they can work well as stand-alone elements

Courtesy of LightArt

Hues of violet and periwinkle in LightArt’s dragonfly pendant create a translucent, delicate look.

by Jessica Muncrief

The foxglove pendant glows marigold and white. Below: Colors and textures create the look of a bloomed hydrangea.

in a room, say over a kitchen bar or above a table in an entryway.” The light art is also ideal for designing with open floor concepts, she adds. “If you’re working with a large, open area and you hang one of these eye-catching lamps above the dining table, it’s really going to go a long way in defining that particular space.”

resources Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery LightArt SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Design Studio

by Danielle Urbina

style made simple

Courtesy of Canvas Home

Elegant, handcrafted dinnerware with a sustainable twist

Above: Dressed with flowers and colored napkins, the Dauville collection by Canvas Home adds elegance to this dinner table.

The sleek simplicity of each hand-crafted collection encourages the home cook to think of the dinnerware as their own personal canvas for plating dishes. 30

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hen entertaining at home, the right dinnerware can add a touch of elegance to any soiree. Though colorful patterns on platters and serving bowls are fun, sometimes less is more—and one New York–based company is using that guiding principal when creating dinnerware that’s as simple as it is beautiful. Canvas Home was founded in 2008 by British designer Andrew Corrie, who created a stylish line of home products that combine urban chic and classic country elements. From coasters to dinner plates, Canvas’s many dinnerware collections directly reflect the company’s motto: Simple, Sustainable, Style. The sleek simplicity of each hand-crafted collection encourages the home cook to think of the dinnerware as their own personal canvas for plating dishes. The company also strives to be as sustainable as possible in the production of their home goods. Many of the products are made from reclaimed wood, recycled glass, and fast-growing bamboo fibers.

“I fall in love with every collection I’ve carried from Canvas. I have to contain myself from taking it all home.” —Mariel Galbiati, Fig Home In El Paso, Fig Home in Kern Place carries various collections of Canvas dinnerware, including the trendy Dauville collection (pristine white pieces lined in gold and metallic tones) and the Seagate collection (hand-glazed pieces with a gentle splash of color). Mariel Galbiati of Fig says Canvas products are popular in her store because of their distinctive style and durability. “All of their collections are handmade with such great quality,” she says. “I fall in love with every collection I’ve carried from Canvas. I have to contain myself from taking it all home.” Fig also carries several other Canvas Home items, from contemporary vases and milk tumblers to hand-dyed jute market totes—sustainable style for every homeowner.

Left: Many of the brand’s collections, each crafted by skilled artisans, are glazed in natural tones and soft pastels.



Courtesy of Greenington, LLC

Design Studio

The dining set from Greenington’s sleek and smooth Currant collection features a table, bench, and chairs with a light caramel finish.



by Danielle Urbina

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, able to reach its maximum height in just four to six months.

Bamboo furniture is the latest trend in earth-friendly decorating


ooking to expand beyond reducing, reusing, and recycling? When it comes to being green at home, products made from renewable materials are making it easy for the eco-conscious homeowner to turn their whole home into an earth-friendly abode. Bamboo is a surprising front-runner in the sustainable materials department; furnishings made from this woody grass are not only stylish but also good for the environment. What makes bamboo so environmentally sustainable? It’s one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, able to reach its maximum height (up to 75 feet) in just four to six months. The hearty perennial also contributes to the reduction of global warming, experts say, because it reduces the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. Locally, Copenhagen in West El Paso carries Greenington Fine Bamboo Furniture, 32

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Add modern flair to the bedroom with the simple, clean lines of this bamboo bedroom set.

an elegant line of furnishings ranging from chic and comfortable bedroom sets to sleek dining room tables and chairs. “Greenington makes a nice, high-quality product,” says Flemming Carlsen, owner of Copenhagen. “They make their products out of something very sustainable; bamboo grows so fast that there really won’t be a shortage.” To produce furniture that’s highly durable, Greenington uses cutting-edge technology and Moso, a timber bamboo, that’s at least five years old. Their classic bamboo products come in a variety of stains and finishes; the furniture’s simple, clean lines are a perfect complement to contemporary and midcentury modern design. Green and gorgeous? Bamboo is one big step toward a better environment— and a healthier home.

resources Copenhagen

Above: Built from Moso bamboo that’s at least five years old, Greenington produces several varieties of bamboo furniture in different neutral-toned stains and finishes.



Design Studio

by Cassie McClure

a man and his Photographer Mike Groves finds inspiration in the Organ Mountains


A cloud-filled sky hovers over the Organ Mountains in a photo titled Peach Clouds Over Sunset.

Groves has made it a point to look at his mountains from all angles, in all lights, and in all seasons. Groves captures the mountains from many different angles, especially in moments of rare weather.


any artists cling to a theme that carries them through their career. Photographer Mike Groves’s muse is, and has always been, the Organ Mountains. His photographic captures of the Organs allow fans of his work to adorn their walls with scenic images of the majestic Las Cruces skyline. A native of New Mexico and originally from Silver City, Groves has lived in Las Cruces since 1953, when his father came to the city to work with Mountain Bell Telephone Company. In high school he became interested in photography. “I was taken with sunrises and sunsets,” says Groves. “The Organs are the dominant feature here; it’s been my life’s study.” Groves’s developing passion for photography was put on hold for a while so he could focus on work and family. However, it was his late father, LC, who rekindled Groves’s love of the craft, a bit by accident. “He wanted to take photographs so that he could paint what he took a picture of,” says Groves, who was tasked to find camera equipment for his father. LC began showing his photographs to coworkers at the telephone company; they liked his photography so much they began purchasing his prints for their own homes. Soon, LC was selling his photographs at the Las Cruces Farmers Market, much like his son does today.

Groves only dove into photography head-on after LC passed in 1995, inheriting both his father’s passion and his equipment. And it seems that photography has ignited a passion for another generation of the Groves family: Groves’s home base, Picture Frame Factory Outlet in Las Cruces, was originally run by Groves himself, but his son has since taken over the store so that Groves can pursue photography full-time. The majority of the space in the shop showcases various formats of Groves’s work, as well as that of his late father. In the back of the shop, Groves points out two similar photographs, long vertical shots of the Organs with a cactus and blooming flower—homage to the talent he shared with LC. “I stood in that very same place and took the same picture,” says Groves. “We had the same instinct.” One might think a singular subject like the Organs could get repetitive, but Groves has made it a point to look at his mountains from all angles, in all lights, and in all seasons. Rare dustings of snow send him sprinting into the Jeep (his photography adventure vehicle) to chase down new photographs of the mountains.

Evening Reflections, archival pigment print, 16 x 24"

For Groves, who has turned his passion into his livelihood, his “work” is hardly that. He derives joy from photography, and his take on the subject is humble and effortless. “You just kind of wander around and find an element to put in with the mountains,” he says. That may be a bit of an oversimplification, but getting a glimpse of his multicabinet filing system and his high-end computer, it’s evident that Groves is a true professional dedicated to his craft. His photography is all digital now, with his most classic works being the triptychs—three separate images which fit together to make one—stemming from a time when he didn’t have access to a panoramic camera for large-scale prints. With three images, Groves gives a realistic sense of the Organs’ expansive scale. Groves’s newest passion is capturing petroglyphs, or rock engravings. He resources treks out to Arizona to take the shots. Back in the gallery, he mounts the photos on a ragged board to mimic the petroglyphs’ natural home on a rock. Mike Groves Though he’d like to branch out with similar work, Groves acknowledges Photography that his claim to fame may always be what Las Cruces wakes up to every morning: “They say I’m the man to see about the Organ Mountains.”

Black, White n Blooming, archival pigment print, 16 x 24"



Enchanted Spaces

the art of outdoor living

by Moll Anderson

Moll Anderson’s decadent details turn everyday places into magical spaces

Moll Anderson


Mark DeLong Photography

Now add in some seating. You can always repurpose furniture from inside your home and bring it outdoors to create a vibe. Grab your dining room chairs! That’s right, don’t be afraid to carry out your fabulous furniture for the evening. Having fun with this idea is the key to making it work. When you think beyond old plastic lawn chairs, you’ll begin to set a romantic vibe.

ummer in Santa Fe has officially set in, and I’m so excited to be able to spend quality time outdoors in the sunshine, sipping a jalapeño margarita and watching our magical sunsets, or curling up with my husband Charlie beneath a cozy portal in the evening. You can create an enchanted space in your own backyard, so let’s look at a few of my favorite “seductive” tips and apply them to the beautiful outdoors. Whether it’s just you, you and your partner, or a couple of friends coming over for a meal, all the elements remain the same! Think of it as sensory-scaping an outdoor living area.

Never underestimate the beautiful scene you can create in your very own backyard. set the table, set the mood If you’re setting a table for a meal outside, use the same types of things you would if you were indoors—for example, cloth napkins and real silverware instead of paper napkins and plastics. If you’re worried about breakage, head to your local home store where you can find gorgeous shatterproof acrylic or melamine wineglasses and plates. Flowers are one of my five must-haves for seductive tablescaping. Incorporate flowers from the yard

or make a stop at your local grocer or farmers market to pick up a bouquet of big, colorful blooms. (Sunflowers are always a fabulous choice, and they don’t get lost in the background of the outdoors.) Use silver or iron candelabras to illuminate your tablescape, and don’t be afraid to mix and match!

the decadent details Never underestimate the beautiful scene you can create in your very own backyard. Strategically placed votives and lamps are a great way to add soft, warm lighting. Place little white lights in your bushes, flowers, potted plants, etc.—just make sure everything is safe. The unexpected sensual effect of this ambient lighting will amaze you—and your guests, too. If you don’t have a built-in sound system, just bring out your iPod and pocket speakers to provide the musical ambience required to make your gathering a complete experience. Putting all your attention to what I call the “decadent details” will bring the entire happening together. And now it’s time for you: Throw on a breezy spring skirt, invite your partner or friends, and you’ll be throwing a seductive Southwest-style outdoor soiree in no time flat.

Moll Anderson establishes intimacy beneath the portal of her Santa Fe home with her trademark flowers, color, and decadent details.

define the perfect space


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John Hall Photography

Start by identifying where you want to be—perhaps on your porch, in the yard, or under a portal? If you have an umbrella, even if it’s not sunny, go ahead and use it; it will allow you to frame exactly where you want your area to be. If it’s dark, grab some white twinkle lights and drape them inside the umbrella—it will add a whimsical touch to the table. Moll Anderson is a television radio host, interior designer, life stylist, and author of three books, including Seductive Tables for Two. She and her husband are part-time residents of Santa Fe.

Design Studio

by Jessica Muncrief

first impressions A custom entry door says it all

Above: Elaborately hand-carved front entry doors by El Paso Wood Products are imposing and truly one-of-a-kind.

A custom-made entryway door designed by Custom Doors & Fine Cabinetry features glass and bold, intricate ironwork.

Courtesy of Custom Doors & Fine Cabinetry; El Paso Wood Products

“A great entry door is a work of art from the inside and the outside.”—Joseph Rey


hether building new or embarking on a remodel, most homeowners have two very specific goals in mind: making the house more attractive and increasing its value. Those looking to get the most out of their project should start right at the front door. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small part of the overall package, but one that makes a big impact. “In a lot of homes, the style is set by the entry door,” says designer Joseph Rey of Custom Doors & Fine Cabinetry. “Once you start putting gothic arches or rustic finishes on it, you have a good idea what the architecture inside is going to look like. It can really make a home.” So what constitutes an exceptional front door? Quality material and a skilled craftsman are good first starts. “You can’t rely on just any woodworker if you want the door to last,” says Rey. “I’ve replaced a lot of doors for people who thought they had a quality product, but it cracked or the finish faded or it wasn’t installed properly. Custom entry doors are

heavy, and they require professional installation by someone who knows what they’re doing.” Fortunately, there are many top-of-the-line materials available. Wood, glass, iron, and fiberglass are the most popular, but it depends on personal tastes, notes Ben Rawson, vice president of Rawson Builders Supply. “Each material has its own flavor. For Southwestern-style homes, knotty woods typically add the most character,” he says. “If [the homeowners] want a darker stain—which is very popular right now—we’ll go with a knotty alder. If they prefer a lighter finish, we’ll probably work in knotty oak or pine.” Rawson also suggests using fiberglass for homes that face south or west to minimize damage from the sun. Iron is an ideal fit for the rustic Southwestern look, as well as for the Spanish, Mediterranean, and Tuscan styles prevalent in the El Paso area. “Wrought iron is probably our second-most popular material after wood,” says Artistic Entryways’ Ray Limas. Glass, a more unexpected choice, fits in well with the streamlined look of modern and contemporary style homes. “Sometimes people think they want a solid metal or glass door, but when they see it they realize it can be a bit cold. They miss the warmth that wood brings,” Limas adds. “So usually we will combine materials— wood with wrought iron inserts, for example.” Details, details, details. That’s what sets a custom door apart from the ordinary. One adage seems to be holding true—bigger is better. A standard door is 36 x 80 inches. Rey specializes in doors that are 42 inches or wider and at least eight feet tall. “My doors are usually specially shaped, oversized, and extra thick,” he says. Rawson reveals an added advantage in opting for a more expansive door: “Appliances and furniture tend to be wider these days,” he says. “Customers who opt SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Artistic Entryways designed this clean-lined, contemporary-style door (left) using dark wood and frosted glass, which is in sharp contrast the arches, ornately carved, and leaded glass of the doors the company made for another home (far left).


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Light wood and tinted glass add warmth to a contemporary-style entryway by El Paso Wood Products.

Artisitc Entryways & Millwork Co. (2); Opposite: Rawson Builders Supply

“All of our carved wood doors start with a CAD drawing for proportion. Then they’re hand-drawn, transferred to the wood, and hand-carved by our artisans.” —Francisco Fernandez, El Paso Wood Products

Courtesy of El Paso Wood Products

for 42 inches really see how beneficial those extra six inches can be when they start furnishing the home.” Style-wise, it’s all about the arch. Eyebrow arches, elliptical arches, rounded corners with square tops—a lot can be done outside the standard rectangular box. To spruce it up even more, go for extra little touches. Rawson points out the renewed popularity of the speakeasy panel, a tiny door within the door, typically at eye-level. “In addition to combining materials, there’s a lot of different stains and finishes we can do to really create a custom look,” says Limas. “Distressing, for example, solidifies that old world style.” One last bit of advice where front entry doors are concerned: It’s not just about curb appeal. “I’ve had many clients who end up liking the door even better from the inside,” says Rey. “A great entry door is a work of art from the inside and the outside.”

A door by Rawson Builders Supply utilizes the popular speakeasy panel.

resources Artistic Entryways & Millwork Co., Inc. Custom Doors & Fine Cabinetry El Paso Wood Products Rawson Builders Supply Renaissance Woodworks

home is where the art is An adobe abode comes to life in the heart of Mesilla

Surrounding the home with thick adobe walls affords the homeowner extra privacy from the occasional traffic of Mesilla Plaza.

by Danielle Urbina Photographs by Bill Faulkner


or even the most accomplished artist, completing a masterpiece takes time and attention to detail, and involves subtle touches that set it apart from any other work. Like a fine painting, Dr. Phillip Born’s home is a work of architectural art that can’t be missed among the streets of Mesilla. The builders behind the 2,300-square-foot home are Wayne and Kiki Suggs of Classic New Mexico Homes, whose specialty is incorporating authentic historical elements into the design and build of modern residences. With no holds barred, the builders went straight to work on this Pueblo-style home—but not before first finding the perfect lot. When Dr. Born, a Las Cruces dentist (and lover of all things art), intially approached Wayne and Kiki about building his new home, he had three lots in mind, all near the popular hub in Mesilla known as Mesilla Plaza. Two of them required demolition of existing properties, so Dr.


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Born and the Suggses explored the third option: a piece of land a little farther away from the Plaza, but with so much potential that the three couldn’t pass it up. “Even though it’s a very narrow lot, the lay of the land allowed for an east-facing courtyard, which was perfect,” says Kiki. “It was just the right distance from the Plaza.” Though the lot was ideal for the build, a row of dying mulberry trees bordered areas of the land, and they had to be cut down. “It kind of broke the homeowner’s heart to [do it],” says Kiki. “So we decided that some way or another we would incorporate

A mosaic of tiles above the range adds a burst of bold color to the kitchen.

Left: Distressed wooden gates throughout the property enhance the authentic, historical feel of the home.



the trees into the house.” True to their word, Wayne and Kiki used the reclaimed wood from the trees to construct small lintels for doorways throughout the home. When it came to the design of the home, Dr. Born knew exactly what he wanted—a colorful place to display his extensive art collection—and his builders used that as one of their driving forces. Another goal was to tie in elements of the New Mexican culture just outside the gates of the Mesilla abode. “What we knew we had to do in this house, because it’s in Mesilla, is really make it look like it’s been here forever,” says Kiki. “But we also knew that most of the home would be designed around artwork. Dr. Born knew exactly where a lot of these paintings were going to go, and that was really important.” Classic New Mexico Homes worked with designer Nancy Charles (who helped furnish the home) and their in-house cabinetmaker, Greg Duff, to give the home its Pueblo Revival style and make the home aesthetically pleasing both indoors and out. They started with the “out.” The front courtyard, enclosed by thick adobe walls and a weathered gate adorned with milagros (religious folk charms), makes use of thoughtful, low-maintenance landscaping. To kick it up, Wayne and Kiki combined easy-to-maintain desert plants with bright accents like whirling butterflies (long-blooming plants with Left: While designing the landscaping of the home, Wayne and Kiki Suggs incorporated steel lighting structures (previously owned by Dr. Born) that resemble desert cacti.

Nestled privately in a corner of the outdoor living area is a spacious shower lined with vibrant tiles.


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The master bedroom includes a white-washed ceiling, rustic wood floors, and muted colors that influence the room’s modern, European style.

Like a fine painting, Dr. Phillip Born’s home is a work of architectural art. Left: Beyond an arched doorway, the roomy shower in the master bathroom features marble tile chosen by the homeowner. The Suggses recommended dark, rustic cabinetry to accent the white marble.



While unpacking Dr. Born’s items, the Suggses found pieces of colored glass art that happened to perfectly match the bright bathroom (above) in the guest suite.


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sprays of delicate, white flowers), which line the dry creek bed in the center of the courtyard. Alternatively, the outdoor living area off the great room of the home features a comfortable wicker seating set around a modest fireplace; a trickling fountain adds a peaceful ambience. The space was important to Dr. Born because of his love of entertaining family and friends. Planters, all wired for a watering system, rest atop the walls surrounding the yard. They’re a de facto privacy screen for one of the home’s most delightful surprises: an outdoor shower, tiled completely in colorful tiles from Casa Mexicana and tucked into one corner of the yard. On the other side of the wall is a hidden clawfoot tub—the perfect spot for relaxing under the stars. Indoors, the obvious gathering place is the open great room, a harmonious combination of the living room, the kitchen, and the dining room. To give the area the historic style of Mesilla Plaza, Classic New Mexico Homes incorporated hand-hewn beams, gray lumber, and antique pieces like a mesquite mantel and reclaimed chandeliers from the 1920s. In the kitchen, a large yellow hutch, long farm table, and tiles in hues of blue, green, and yellow all come together to accent the rustic cabinetry. Certain that he wanted a mesmerizing painting by Las Cruces–based artists Rokoko at the center of attention, Dr. Born insisted that a wall at the far end of the great room be designated for that specific piece of art. “It would’ve been a great place for an east-facing window, but again, we were designing the home around [Dr. Born’s] art collection,” says Kiki. “So we created a little nook back there to place his baby grand piano and the painting.” Nichos throughout the home were also specifically designed to display several sculptures. Opposite: Wooden beams and cabinetry, black granite countertops, and a large yellow hutch work well together in the traditional kitchen.

“What we knew we had to do in this house, because it’s in Mesilla, is really make it look like it’s been here forever.” —Kiki Suggs SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


A collection of bottles and other artifacts found on the property during the build line an office shelf.

Dr. Born knew exactly what he wanted: a colorful place to display his extensive art collection.

Nichos in the home showcase interesting sculptures from Dr. Born’s extensive collection.

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In a separate wing of the home, the style drifts from traditional Pueblo to something with more of a modern and European twist. “Dr. Born wanted to mix rustic with European and contemporary, so we used rustic wood floors in the master bedroom and white-washed the ceiling,” says Kiki. Marble tile and dark contrasting woods in the master bathroom enhance the contemporary look. The result is a home that blends Dr. Born’s singular, eclectic style with the rich, historical surroundings of Old Mesilla—and that, say Wayne and Kiki, truly reflects the homeowner’s personality. “He’s just full of great ideas,” says Kiki. “He’s such an interesting man and really has an eye for anything involved with the local culture.” Indeed, it was Dr. Born’s love of art and appreciation of New Mexican culture that guided the project, but at the hands of Wayne and Kiki Suggs, the home’s artistic spirit truly came to life.

A lintel from reclaimed mulberry trees that once bordered the yard arches across a nicho. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Gray lumber beams, antique chandeliers, and rustic detail in the cabinetry support the Pueblo Revival style sought by both Dr. Born and Classic New Mexico Homes.


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resources Architect, Builder, and Designer Classic New Mexico Homes Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery Audio Video Dave Jacko Precision Video & Sound Cabinetry and Woodwork Greg Duff Countertops The Design Center Stone Masters Fixtures Winnelson Furnishings Nancy Charles, Charles, Inc. Tile Casa Mexicana Tile Wall Finishes Cindy Duff

Just outside the master suite, a private outdoor clawfoot tub is the perfect place for relaxing and even stargazing.

as good as new

Remodeling their new home helped a family establish roots in El Paso

The family wished for a home with El Paso flavor. They found it in this white brick ranch house with wrought iron gating around the front patio.

by R.A. Monroe Photographs by Rudy Torres


hen the young family moved from Dallas to El Paso in 2012, they set out to find a home elegant enough to entertain friends and colleagues, but also cozy and flexible enough for their growing family. After looking at homes throughout the city, they fell in love with a one-story ranch home on a cul-de-sac in the Upper Valley. Originally built in 1983, the home would need renovations, the new owners realized, in order to make it more livable. “The house had a small galley kitchen, no pantry, and several huge formal areas,” the homeowner recalls. “The functional space we needed just wasn’t there.” The renovation, which was handled by El Paso builder R.C. Baeza, incorporated changes both dramatic and subtle to create a house perfectly suited for a young, active family. The renovation proceeded quite literally from the ground up. The family was looking for a flooring solution that didn’t involve carpet—“with


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two boys, it’s just not practical,” says the homeowner. But hardwood floors also seemed impractical for both cost and durability reasons. Baeza came up with an ingenious solution for flooring that was both attractive and easy to maintain: Bomanite cast-in-place concrete, which can mimic the look of tile, pavers, and even brick. The homeowner was skeptical at first, having only considered concrete floors in an industrial setting, but the process made her a believer. The floors were poured in-home by Bomanite Artistic Concrete, then craftsmen scored and grouted the

With two active toddlers in the home, the family added a safety gate to the sparkling pool and elevated hot tub.

“We wanted a house where we could laugh and play and eat and entertain, not a pristine showplace.�

Houndstooth-printed chairs and floral window treatments accent green-toned cabinetry in the breakfast nook. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


A grand concrete fireplace is the focal point of the cozy master bedroom.

Left: Echoing the home’s front door, the enclosed refrigerator features rich wood, wrought iron handles, and glass-paneled windows on top that showcase storage space.

concrete, stained it a rich mahogany, and gave it an acid wash treatment. The end result is low-maintenance flooring that closely resembles tiles and exudes warmth and casual elegance throughout the home. Concrete by Plaster Queen was used to resurface the home’s two fireplaces, one in the large, open living area, and the other in the master bedroom. Other renovations were aimed at expanding and opening up the spaces utilized most by the family. In order to increase space in the kitchen and improve symmetry, they opted to remove a wall and shift a hallway. That meant losing the formal dining room, but the residents didn’t blink. “We wanted the house to fit our daily lives,” says the homeowner. “We get so much more use out of a pantry than a formal seating area.” In its current form, the kitchen and pantry are elegantly optimized, with spacious cabinets, a wine refrigerator, and an enclosed fridge whose door fronts echo the home’s wooden front door. The eat-in kitchen, with its long granite island and stools, provides multiple options for casual dinners and after-school snacks.


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To add a splash of color to the master suite, the homeowner opted for royal blues and purples in the master bathroom.

“We wanted to live in an El Paso house. We didn’t want it to look like it was a house that belonged in New England or California,” says the homeowner.



The renovation incorporated thick wooden beams, arched doorways, and a color palette of warm neutrals with occasional colorful accents.


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In general, the renovation was focused on making the house feel more light and spacious, without erasing all of its classic El Paso characteristics. “We wanted to live in an El Paso house,” says the homeowner. “We didn’t want to try to force it to look like it was a house that belonged in New England or California.” To capture the Sun City spirit, the renovation incorporated thick wooden beams, arched doorways, and a color palette of warm neutrals with occasional colorful accents. Door heights were raised to eight feet, a subtle shift that modernized the overall feel. At the back of the living area, French doors open to the rear patio, which features a pool, a comfortable seating area, an inviting expanse of grass, and even a three-hole putting green installed by the previous owners. The master bedroom also takes advantage of the home’s spacious backyard. To open it up, Baeza installed outward-opening French doors and raised the ceiling a few inches, as much as the low-grade roof would allow. The previous floorplan required a little reconfiguring to get it in line with its new owners’ needs. Case

Arched French doors leading outside to the patio lend plenty of natural light to the main living area in the home.

An eye-catching centerpiece, a rustic chandelier, and floral seating grace the sunny dining room.



At the center of the home is the kitchen, which includes high-end appliances, bar seating, and plenty of counter space.


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Above: A separate wing of the home is a special place for kids. A toy-filled playroom features a chalkboard wall.

in point: a former unheated patio space was converted into a large walk-in closet. “The previous closet was about the size of the trunk of my car,” the homeowner says with a laugh. “But I really think closets can never be big enough.” The homeowners’ young sons have their own area of the house, with fun details that make it clear that this is a kid-friendly zone: chalkboard walls, madras curtains, and a lively blue-and-orange color scheme. The children’s bedrooms both open up onto a large play area, which provides room for all manner of games while also including enough storage space so toys don’t get underfoot. And for everyone’s benefit, a door opening up to the pool area was added.

The renovation was focused on making the house feel more light and spacious, without erasing all of its classic El Paso characteristics. “To be honest, this is where we spend the majority of our time,” the homeowner says. “We wanted a house where we could laugh and play and eat and entertain, not a pristine showplace. And this house fits that description perfectly. We couldn’t be happier.”

Designed by Ray Limas of Artistic Entryways, an arched wooden door with iron accents adds warmth to the home’s entryway.


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resources Builder R.C. Baeza & Associates Architect CGN Designs Appliances Western Wholesale Supply Inc. Audio Visual Home Theater Experts Cabinetry A-1 Kitchens by Sierra Countertops 77 Stone Custom Ironwork Elite Doors Artistic Entryways & Millwork Co., Inc. BMC Fireplaces Plaster Queen Fixtures and Lighting Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery Flooring Bomanite Artistic Concrete Emser Landscaping Armendariz Gardens Pool Nash Patio & Garden Windows Pella

a lighter

touch Homeowner and designer reunite to give a dark, dated federal a second facelift


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by R.A. Monroe Photographs by Rudy Torres


honda and Bill Appleton’s idea of a perfect weekend is touring El Paso open houses, checking out room arrangements, and conducting imaginary renovations. These folks are serious house connoisseurs. It was during one of those just-for-fun tours 15 years ago that the couple first saw the classic federal-style house they now call home. “We were immediately drawn to the floorplan, and we loved the lot,” says Rhonda. “But the house also seemed a little dated and run-down; we knew it needed work.”

remodel, part two

El Paso designer Sandy Pinard handled the Appletons’ initial renovations with such aplomb that they brought her back to handle a more recent update. The incentive for the 2013 remodel: the kitchen, which still had appliances dating back to when the Appletons first bought the home. “I am a cook,” Rhonda says with a smile, and that’s an understatement. A pot of soup bubbles on the stove as Rhonda enthuses about the nutritional and emotional benefit of a home-cooked meal. “Rhonda even cooks food from scratch for the dogs,” notes Pinard, her design partner. “She deserved a kitchen she could really feel at home in.” Below: A soothing water feature and lush landscaping in the family’s backyard was installed by Mark Nash of Nash Patio & Garden.

Designer Sandy Pinard transformed this special oak table set by painting it white and reupholstering the chairs to fit in with the newly renovated kitchen.

“Rhonda deserved a kitchen she could really feel at home in.” —Sandy Pinard SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


But appliances have grown in size over the past decade, so replacing the refrigerator necessitated a larger reconfiguration. Pinard saw this as the perfect occasion to modernize and update the house as a whole. “The house was full of cabinetry, which gave it something of a dated feel,” she says. “It also made it seem very full. We decided to do a lot of toning down, and to really work toward simplicity on every level.” The home’s previously dark walls were repainted in lighter colors, which helps open up the space. Porcelain tiles were chosen as a flooring solution that was both functional (i.e., easy to keep clean) and attractive. The heavy leather furniture was replaced with a more tone-on-tone, neutral color palette that allows subtle flashes of color, such as a periwinkle ikat ottoman, to really shine. Once lined with excessive cabinetry against dark walls, the dining room now features a warmer neutral tone and a single china cabinet that showcases Rhonda’s mother’s china.

happy reminders

Opting for simplicity also allowed the objects that remained to take center stage. “I like being surrounded by objects that have meaning or tell a story,”

To add dimension to the pristine white kitchen, Pinard incorporated colorful pieces of décor and a checkered vase by MacKenzie-Childs.

Above: Rhonda loves cooking, so it was essential that the kitchen remodel included bigger, updated appliances like this six-burner Wolf range. 62

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Gleaming wood floors and an elegant, curved staircase lined with a patterned stair tread greet visitors at the entrance of the home.

Details that highlight the homeowners’ personality and preferences are evident throughout the house—a testament to Pinard’s close relationship with the family.

An intricately carved mantel and plush furnishings add warmth to the great room.


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says Rhonda. She went through the house with Pinard to eliminate anything that didn’t resonate on an emotional level. Beloved pieces of furniture were reconfigured to fit the house’s new look. An oak kitchen table, one of the first pieces of furniture that Bill Appleton bought for his wife, was a keeper for sure, but its dark coloring threatened to weigh down the bright kitchen. Pinard’s solution was to paint the table a bright, simple white; now the family heirloom fits in seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen. Pinard also found ways to update other pieces of furniture, such as a dining room set that Rhonda describes as “a little more rustic-country.” Now covered with a Provence-inspired fabric, the chairs resonate subtly with other French details throughout the home. The move toward increased simplicity was not always easy. Pinard advocated removing the cabinets that lined one wall of the dining room, but Rhonda was nervous that she wouldn’t have enough storage. A china cabinet sits along that wall now, providing a showcase for her mother’s china, while also making the room feel more spacious, open, and modern. “Now I can’t imagine having it any other way,” she says.

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Details like the distressed mirrored doors on a storage cabinet add charm and femininity to the master bedroom.

“I like being surrounded by objects that have meaning or tell a story.� —Rhonda Appleton


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details tell the story

Precious possessions that highlight the couple’s personality and preferences are evident throughout the house—a testament to Pinard’s close relationship with the family. A portrait of one of Rhonda’s beloved dogs graces a pillow on a cowhide loveseat in the entryway, while other paintings throughout the home reflect Rhonda’s love of animals. A back staircase was given new life with a beadboard covering on the walls and photographs taken by one of the Appletons’ daughters, a professional photographer. “The house just feels like us,” Rhonda says. The back staircase leads to a space that has been transformed into a playroom for the grandchildren, which opens to a lower yard for maximum play space. The upper yard consists of a large brick patio with a trickling pond, a fireplace, and a comfortable seating area that’s perfect for dining alfresco, or for entertaining on a long summer evening. Statues of St. Francis are hidden throughout the landscape, another sign of Rhonda’s deep love of animals. The two women clearly enjoyed working together. “I would look forward to every day,” Pinard says of the renovation. For her part, Rhonda appreciates that Pinard was able to gently push her out of her comfort zone. “She’d suggest something like taking out the cabinets in the dining room, and I just couldn’t see it,” Rhonda says. “But I trust her taste and her expertise so much. And she was always right. When I walk around the house now, I see me.”

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The brick patio features a stately fireplace and comfortable seating area that’s perfect for outdoor entertaining.

Above: A large soaking tub in the master bathroom gives Rhonda a place to relax and enjoy the scenery. 68

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resources Interior Design Sandy Pinard Sugarbakers of Texas Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery Audio Video Soundquest Cabinetry A-1 Kitchens by Sierra Countertops Classic Granite & Marble Inc. Doors Artistic Entryways & Millwork Co., Inc. Fixtures Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery Flooring Emser Tile Landscaping and Outdoor Kitchen Nash Patio & Garden Lighting Currey & Company Lighting Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery Windows Pella Window Treatments Theresa Matthews Custom Window Treatments

Originally from Turkestan, heavy wooden doors in the master bedroom open to a hallway lined with Native American paintings and artifacts. Below: Beautiful sunsets are a trademark of Santa Fe artist Billy Schenck.

art for the ages A historic collection of Old West art finds a home in Las Cruces


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Akin to a museum, the home is a display of hundreds of pieces of authentic artwork with interesting stories tied to every piece.

by Tiffany Etterling


A weathered gate and Native American tiles hint at the Old West style inside the home (above). A piece by Santa Fe painter Roseta Santiago hangs in the living room (above, right).

Photographs by Bill Faulkner

idden in a quiet Las Cruces neighborhood is an unassuming Pueblo-style residence housing one of the region’s most impressive collections of Old West art and artifacts. Akin to a museum, the home is a display of hundreds of pieces of authentic artwork with interesting stories tied to every piece. Weathered wooden gates with chips of aging paint strike a clear note of the New Mexico history carried through every detail of the home. “People who live in Las Cruces often come from somewhere else, and they bring those tastes with them,” says the homeowner. “That’s a shame.” When he and his wife moved to Las Cruces eight years ago, they chose to fully immerse themselves in the history, culture, and artistic style of New Mexico’s Old West era. The term “Southwest” covers a broad range of styles and genres, but it doesn’t accurately reflect this home. “My house is not Southwest; it’s Old West,” explains the homeowner, an 80-year-old former stockbroker, artist’s agent, and interior designer. “Just like me, almost everything in this house is old. It has a history, and it’s lived a long life.” The avid collector brings that history to life with countless original Old West paintings, sculptures, historic furniture items, and Native American artifacts. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


A Haida house post stands tall among hundreds of Native American artifacts in the living room.

Bright colors from paintings and Native American rugs are mirrored in the vibrantly upholstered dining room chairs.

Every feature of the home was designed by the owner to complement and accentuate his art collection.


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“This entire property is focused on New Mexico culture,” says the homeowner. From the front gate and the old doors to the Kashari mask and distinctive fountain in the backyard designed and created by Tucson-based artist Michael Krapek, the home proudly displays the integration of several Southwestern cultures. “I think New Mexico is the culmination of cultures—Anglo, Mexican, and Native American—all coming together,” the homeowner says. Each of those influences is found in his remarkable collection. Mexican influence is evident in many of the furniture pieces around the home including a low table on the back patio—a primitive Mexican dining table dating back to the 1930s. In the living room, shelves are lined with Native American Hopi coil baskets and handmade Acoma pots dating back to the early 20th century. The artistry in the pots and baskets is truly inimitable; small details, like the materials used to craft the handmade items, give hints as to when they were made. Many of the Hopi coil baskets took up to eight months to create because of their intricate designs. Despite a heavy emphasis on Native American and Mexican art, Anglo culture is not forgotten in this expansive collection. Paintings around the home depict beautiful landscapes and the rugged life of the Old West cowboy. While some of the artists are more obscure, others represent the top of their field, like Billy Schenck, recently recognized as one of the 10 most influential artists of the 21st century. In addition to serving as rugs throughout the house, Native American textiles hang on the walls, over the arms of chairs, and are even used in the upholstery of the furniture and throw pillows around the home. “When I find a textile that doesn’t have much life in it, I buy it and use it to upholster furniture,” says the homeowner, adding that a lifeless chair can be transformed into something of real value once it’s covered in an authentic textile. Each piece of the collection has a unique story: the story of the artist who painted it, how it came to New Mexico, or how it made its way into the collection. For the homeowner, it’s an investment that allows him to enjoy his home to the fullest. “In the late evening,

A scenic painting by Leigh Gusterson hangs above a trunk collected from the historic Oregon Trail.

Left: Intricately weaved Hopi coil baskets and handmade Acoma pots are proudly displayed throughout the home.


“Just like me, almost everything in this house is old. It has a history, and it’s lived a long life.”

A late-18th-century hand-carved washtub sits atop a Mexican dinner table in the backyard.


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You Can Teach an Old House New Tricks!

A 1930s chief headdress combined with a turn-of-the-century Navajo third phase chief blanket hang in the library.

I’ll often put a fire in the fireplace, turn on all the lights, play some music, sit in the chair with a brandy, and just look at my art,” he says. The artwork isn’t the only thing unique about this home, however. Every feature was designed by the homeowner to complement and accentuate his art collection, including varying ceiling heights that allow the distinct features of each painting to shine through. Seventeen different colors were used to paint the interior walls, but you wouldn’t know it right away. “You can tell they’re different colors, but only if you really study it,” he says. As the sun moves around, the lights and shadows play together to create a completely different experience with the art. The homeowner’s background in interior design and his strong appreciation of art are the building blocks of this Las Cruces home. But it’s the stories and wealth of information that come from the pieces inside—reminders of New Mexico’s multicultural heritage—that make it truly one-of-a-kind.

Imagine the Possibilities

Su Libro

best of both worlds New books by professional designers and gardeners encourage reimagining indoor and outdoor spaces


ow that summer is here, outdoor living is in its prime, and homeowners are looking for ideas on how to spice up their outdoor spaces. Yearning for some inspiration? There’s plenty of it in Veranda: The Art of Outdoor Living, a new book chock-full of gorgeous photos of fabulous outdoor living spaces. Lisa Newsom, founder of Veranda magazine and author of Veranda: The Art of Outdoor Living, acknowledges her rural roots


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Veranda: The Art of Outdoor Living, by Lisa Newsom, Hearst Books, hardcover, $39

as one of the factors that influence her love of gardening and passion for outdoor living. Speaking as the editor, Newsom notes, “As our name, Veranda, suggests, we have always been very much about the art of outdoor living, which is why we decided to write this book.” The author opens up the doors of lavish homes and invites readers to explore breathtaking outdoor living spaces created by

Courtesy of Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.


logger Ronda Rice Carman has taken her décor ideas from digital to print with her new book, Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living. The former Texan’s very first project, All the Best Blog, has been praised by the likes of Elle Décor and Traditional Home, and her design handbook is a treat for the remodeler in all of us. “I have always been a seeker of information and a collector of ideas,” says Carman. She recalls her lifelong habit of collecting lifestyle and fashion magazines and books, and how even as a teen she would spend hours with a notebook and pen, writing down every tip and noteworthy suggestion. Carman was on a quest. “I wanted to know the correct way to organize my sock drawer, properly hang trousers, and do things in a better manner,” she remembers. Carman soon became obsessed with home interior and shelter magazines. Two books changed her life: Dorothy Rogers’s My Favorite Things: A Personal Guide to Decorating and Entertaining, and Martha Stewart’s Designers at Home: Personal Reflections Entertaining. “I, too, wanted to serve cold on Stylish Living, by Ronda Rice Carman, borscht in pretty goblets, learn a better way Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., to set the table, and grow my own flowers hardcover, $45 and vegetables,” says Carman. When she moved to Scotland in 2005, all of her books, clipped articles, and hundreds of Carman includes magazines made their way across the world. practical tips from 50 But when she arrived, Carman quickly leading interior designers realized her growing collection would not fit in her 100-year-old flat. “And so began who encourage readers All the Best Blog,” she recalls. Now, Carman’s book version of the blog to create their includes practical tips from 50 leading own sanctuaries. interior designers who offer advice, encouraging readers to create their own sanctuaries. Carman has been privileged to meet many talented interior designers over the years, and many have played an important role in her blog. “This book is the sharing of Above: Readers peek inside experts’ houses thoughts, ideas, and resources,” says the author. in Designers at Home. Opposite: Designers The collection in Designers at Home includes both veteran and emerging talents from the featured in Veranda: The Art of Outdoor Living Americas, United Kingdom, and Europe. As the title would suggest, Carman takes us inside inspire readers to elegantly enhance outdoor the lives and homes of these 50 experts. Says her idol, Martha Stewart, renowned author of spaces like this dining area. numerous best-selling home design books: “Ronda Carman has opened many doors into the spaces all of us want to see but often never have the opportunity to do so. I consider this volume a ‘look, study, learn’ book.” From chic apartments to luxurious estates, Carman’s blog-turned-book is filled with inspiring décor and entertaining ideas to pique anyone’s individual style.—Julieta Rios

Courtesy of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

“As we all become more environmentally mindful, we’re seeing a trend of people returning to the garden.”—Lisa Newsom some of the industry’s top designers. “The rich talents of some of the world’s finest landscape architects, interior designers, architects, and good, old-fashioned green thumbs are on display here,” says Newsom. The book offers a photographic journey full of suggestions and inspiration to match the style of any home, focusing on classic, modern, romantic, and exotic. Newsom makes it a point to inspire readers to pull just a few elements of design from the book and re-create them in their own homes, no matter the size. “We can’t all have the gardens that you will discover in these pages,” she says, “but we can all pick—or buy—a little posy and put it in a vase to enjoy.” Although design is significant in her book, it’s also important to Newsom to get homeowners back into their outdoor living spaces. “As we all become more environmentally mindful, we’re seeing a trend of people returning to the garden,” she says. “That’s good news to me.” For homeowners wishing to create their own piece of paradise outdoors, Veranda: The Art of Outdoor Living is almost 300 pages of scenic photographs of outdoor spaces, lush gardens, and lavish landscapes to fuel one’s inner designer. In this book, it’s all about finding inspiration and using it to work with what you’ve got.—JR

Su Libro

Word word word word word word word word word.


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A mattress and an exterior wall turn a rarely used garden patio into an outdoor theater.

our backyards in West Texas and Southern New Mexico. Regardless of your locale, Kameon’s advice is the same: Create a beautiful space, and place yourself in it. One family takes movie night outdoors, tossing a comfy lounge mattress on the ground of a small patio adorned with greenery and agave. An exterior house wall serves as the movie screen. Other homeowners capitalized on a flaw. Needing to stabilize their hillside property, they built rows of concrete terraces into the grassy embankment. The unexpected result: a de facto amphitheater in their own backyard. Then there’s cooking outdoors, one of the joys of summer in any region. In the chapter “Cooking in the Garden,” Kameon (who once opened an impromptu “restaurant” in her own backyard, only to close it one week later), shares some of her favorite culinary tricks, tips, recipes, and gifts. Naturally, she grows a lot of what she eats, but once again, her message is to create beautiful, and in this case, useful spaces, and just get out there. Entertaining is a breeze—and a joy—when naturally occurring décor is utilized: an old shade tree, a bed of fragrant lavender, or bright flowers that draw buzzing hummingbirds to your party. Gather, entertain, and relax, says the author—and consider doing all of those things outside the walls of your home. When you embrace the outdoors, you make gardens part of where you live.—Amy Gross

David Tsay at Kate Ryan, Inc.


hose of us whose thumbs are more black than green marvel at people with the ability to grow things, to create lushness and greenness where there was once overgrowth and weeds, or even concrete. Californian Judy Kameon is one of those hyper-creative and utterly fearless gardeners. Her new book Gardens Are for Living: Design Inspiration for Outdoor Spaces is 224 pages of mouthwatering photos of purposefully created garden areas that truly embrace the concept of extending living to the outdoors. “Many years ago, when I moved into my tiny bungalow, I realized that the biggest room I had wasn’t in my house but outside it—my rambling backyard,” says Kameon. “Not that there was anything in it, except a bunch of weeds and an enormous pepper tree, but I saw the potential.” The author proceeded to create what she calls “a multitude of inviting spaces that could be used for all sorts of gatherings.” Full disclosure: Most of the gorgeous, green spaces in Gardens Are for Living are located in California. With the benefit of regular rainfall, they look like virtual jungles compared to

Erik Otsea

Gardens Are for Living: Design Inspiration for Outdoor Spaces, by Judy Kameon, Rizzoli New York, 2014, $50.

Better Homes and Gardens Small Bath Solutions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20.


f necessity is the mother of invention, then a cramped bathroom might just be the mother of creativity. Better Homes and Gardens Small Bath Solutions is the answer to the age-old homeowner question: “What in the heck can we do with this [insert mild expletive] tiny bathroom?” The answer, of course, is to think outside the box— especially if it’s a small one. Using hundreds of color photos culled from their most popular issues, the editors of Better Homes and Gardens examine every element of the small bath and offer advice regarding storage, cabinetry, fixtures, and even color schemes that create the illusion of space. They answer the tough bathroom questions: To tub or not to tub? Vessel sink or undermount? Redo or redecorate? Storebought vs. salvaged? Every bathroom in Small Bath Solutions offers a clean, creative alternative to the typical over-the-top, grand bathroom of a custom home. Glass mosaic tiles, sleek fixtures, and artful sinks take the place of wall-to-wall granite, huge tubs, and miles of his-and-hers counter space. Each bathroom is brilliant in its thoughtful and ingenious use of limited space. A sink slides in flush to

If necessity is the mother of invention, then a cramped bathroom might just be the mother of creativity.

A frameless shower shows off the mixed tile patterns in this ocean blue bathroom.

the wall of a closet-turned-bath. Frameless showers give the illusion of floor-to-ceiling openness. Floating cabinetry offers “breathing room” in cramped quarters. Wondering how small that bathroom in the photo really is? An easy-toread floor plan with dimensions accompanies many of the baths. It’s a relief to discover that a bath renovation doesn’t have to involve expensive custom elements. Many of the baths in Small Bath Solutions utilize prefab cabinets—including open varieties that artfully display towels and soaps—direct from home stores and even online, at a fraction of the cost of custom. Reclaimed materials are hailed: Old, weathered shutters serve as decorative doors to a

Above: A sink slides flush into the wall to conserve space in a closet-turned-powder room.



recessed medicine cabinet, while salvaged fencing makes a beautiful vanity base. Obviously, sometimes it’s hard to make a small bathroom work. (Four kids, one bath? Forget it.) But if there’s an upside to a tinier footprint, it’s not feeling obligated to fill space with costly materials. Plus it’s license to get creative. Turn that random slab of reclaimed wood found at a yard sale into a rustic countertop. Create an elaborate, custom finish on a small accent wall using shells. Go wild with color and fixtures in a small powder room designed for effect, not efficiency. Embrace the challenges of your smaller spaces, says Small Bath Solutions. Inspired bathroom design will happen once you accept that good things can indeed come in small packages.—AG


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Better Homes and Gardens from Small Bath Solutions ©2010

Inspired bathroom design will happen once you accept that good things can indeed come in small packages.

An open, geometric vanity and matching shelves give this small bathroom some breathing room.

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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

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(915 ) 215-5000



calendar June through September



After more than 10 successful years, this beginning-of-the-weekend concert series is back and at a new location in Downtown El Paso’s Convention Center Plaza. The concerts begin every Friday right after the workday and feature plenty of local talent, from Latin reggae band Radio La Chusma to the funky ’70s sounds of Fungi Mungle. Lace up your dancing shoes and start the weekend right!

Bring the friends and family for a music-filled evening in El Paso. Back for its 31st season, the Music Under the Stars concert series serves up a long lineup of free music and entertainment. The concert series, held every Sunday, will host Latin, pop, country, and rock bands, including Grammy Award–winning rockers Los Lonely Boys.


Travel back in time to the ’50s and ’60s with Lance Lipinsky and his energetic rockabilly band, The Lovers. Combining influences of early rock and roll, classic honky tonk, rhythm and blues, and 1960s pop, Lipinsky and his band leave it all on the stage for a rockin’ good time at the Spencer Theater. JUNE 27 MIKE EPPS, 9 pm, PLAZA THEATRE, EL PASO

Nationally acclaimed comedian Mike Epps comes to the Plaza Theatre for a night full of laughs. Epps is known for his big screen appearances in Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins and Hancock, and has most recently toured the country with several sold-out performances of his comedy act, The Mike Epps On the Edge Tour. Don’t miss a chance to see this top-rated comedian live in El Paso! 82

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Grammy-nominated nuevo flamenco artist Ottmar Liebert and his band Luna Negra are heating things up for one night at the Spencer Theater. Liebert blends an intriguing mix of flamenco guitar and South American percussion with rock, jazz, Hindu, and pop influences. And for you aspiring musicians, he’ll kick off his concert with an hour-long master class for guitarists of any level.

Breakthrough artist Easton Corbin brings a little country to New Mexico this summer. To celebrate the release of his second album and the debut of his new single, “Clockwork,” Corbin will visit Inn of the Mountain Gods for one special night. The country star performs his number one hits “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It.”


Whether you’re the ultimate film buff or just like to catch a good flick, the 7th Annual Plaza Classic Film Festival has it all covered. Over 10 days, the fest will feature 80 movies ranging from old classics to independent and foreign films, right in the heart of Downtown El Paso. A festival highlight will be an appearance by awardwinning screenwriter Beth Henley introducing her film, Crimes of the Heart, starring Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton, and Jessica Lange.


Whether you love gospel music or are in the mood for traditional country tunes, come enjoy Eddy Harrison playing a little of both at the Rio Grande Theatre this summer. A native of New Mexico, Harrison has written and performed for more than 50 years and is a recent inductee to the Iowa Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. AUGUST 5 JOSHUA SAENZ, 6:30 pm, RIO GRANDE THEATRE, LAS CRUCES

Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Joshua Saenz will grace the stage of the Rio Grande Theatre with his melodic, acoustic sounds this summer. The 19-year-old El Paso native, who pulls inspiration from progressive metal and modern contemporary indie influences, recently recorded his first EP at the famous Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas. Catch the rising star on his way up!


The Eli Young Band returns to the Southwest for a night of country music. Just off the heels of a road tour with country star Kenny Chesney, the Grammy-nominated band will perform new music as well as plenty of their number one hits, including the double-platinum single “Crazy Girl.” SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Vida Buena

Courtesy of Joe Barron Band

by Danielle Urbina

The Rudolph State Line Music Series strikes the right chord with music lovers in the Southwest


usic lovers, get ready for a hump day treat. This summer, spend Wednesday nights enjoying delicious, Texas-style barbecue while jamming along with live bands at a famous restaurant that straddles Texas and New Mexico. For the seventh year in a row, The State Line, in conjunction with local car dealer Rudolph Chevrolet-Honda-Mazda-Volkswagen, is turning its patio into a rockin’ concert venue for music fans in the Southwest. Held during the peak of summer (June through August) the series hosts a variety of talent on The State Line’s hacienda-style patio and courtyard; set front-and-center, the large stage is slightly elevated so every member of the audience can enjoy the show. The music series first kicked off at The County Line on I-10, The State Line’s sister restaurant (and also a part of the Austin-based County Line chain) in San Antonio. When the midweek series proved successful in San Antonio, El Paso was next on the list for some outdoor entertainment, followed by nearby Albuquerque. It was an easy sell— music-and-barbecue-hungry fans from both El Paso and parts of Southern New Mexico came in droves to get the full experience of music and great food in the Southwestern sunshine. And, well, the rest is history.

Courtesy of Lencho Guerra

The 2014 series offers special performances from up-and-coming country crooners who are making their mark on the music scene.

it sounds like summer

Above, left and right: Bands of different genres, from country to Latin rock, take the stage at The State Line. Above, top: The Joe Barron Band, a local country favorite, will perform during the summer concert series. 84

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Courtesy of 4D2 Entertainment Group

Sunshine, barbecue, and outdoor live music: Now that’s summer.

As part of his tour, rising country artist Jason Eady will make a stop at the concert series to perform hits from his new album, Daylight and Dark.

These days, the restaurant sees large audiences with anywhere from 200 to 800 people, depending on the bands. The 2014 series offers special performances from up-and-coming country crooners who are making their mark on the music scene. Jason Eady, who performs for the series in mid-July, has landed a spot on Billboard’s Country Album chart with his fifth release, “AM Country Heaven,” while Curtis Grimes, who also performs in July, was a top contender on NBC’s hit TV show The Voice. Local acts like the Joe Barron Band, Dusty Low, Fungi Mungle, and Radio La Chusma will also take the stage. Sunshine, barbecue, and outdoor live music: Now that’s summer. Grab a few friends and head out to The State Line’s patio to enjoy what we here in the Southwest like to think of as the best of both worlds: Texas and New Mexico.

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

resources The State Line SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Vida Buena

by Tiffany Etterling

home sweet

Bill Faulkner

home gym Get fit and healthy in the privacy of your own home —no membership required

“Home gyms are great for busy people. With minimal equipment and a little selfmotivation, you can get a lot done in a little bit of time.” —Tierney Fickler Above: Basic cardio equipment, plenty of light, and an anchored television provide function and motivation for owners of this home gym.


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Fitness has come a long way in recent years. Simpler methods of exercise make fitness goals more realistic and easier to achieve amid the busy rush of everyday life, which is why many fitness enthusiasts are ditching their gym memberships for a better option: the unbeatable convenience of having a gym right in the comfort of their home. “Home gyms are great for busy people,” says Tierney Fickler, a Las Cruces–based, ACEcertified personal trainer specializing in CrossFit-based workouts. “With minimal equipment and a little self-motivation, you can get a lot done in a little bit of time.”

functional design

Creating a safe and inviting workout space is the first step in designing a home gym, so say good-bye to that cramped, dark garage. Start with great lighting, says El Paso interior designer Debbie Salome, who notes, “I always like to design home gyms that are open, brightly lit, and bring in as much outside environment as possible.” Creating an outdoor experience indoors can really help provide motivation. Salome recommends vinyl, bamboo, or commercial-grade carpet for flooring. “Being sanitary is essential, but you also want something that offers a little padding,” she says. There should be plenty of ventilation throughout the room, and moving air if possible. As an example, ceiling fans provide great circulation and natural airflow. “You don’t want the room to be too cold because you don’t want to put your body through drastic temperature changes while you exercise,” says Salome. “But we’re in a hot climate, so you want to have conditioned air in the summer.”

the real motivators

If you’re in the middle of a tough workout, there’s nothing like losing yourself in some music, or getting into a TV show as you trek the miles on a treadmill. The integration of technology in home gyms is both motivational and functional. Televisions, DVD or Blu-ray players, and sound systems with smartphone integration can make daily fitness more enjoyable and productive. To avoid neck strain during a workout, the TV should either be mounted on an adjustable arm, or positioned at an optimal height for viewing from elevated machines.

gym staples

Some larger pieces of equipment, like treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes, are great options for cardio workouts. But don’t spend too much money on bulky, all-in-one equipment, warns Fickler. “The basic staples for the beginning stages of a home gym are a couple different sizes of kettlebells or dumbbells, resistance bands, a medicine ball, and a jump rope,” she says. “The investment is quite modest, and the combinations of exercises with these few pieces of equipment are endless.”

Televisions, DVD or Blu-ray players, and sound systems with smartphone integration can make daily fitness more enjoyable and productive. It can be tempting to buy fancy, expensive equipment with lots of bells and whistles for your home gym, but Fickler’s motto is to keep it simple: “Get used to using your own body weight and free weights to ensure that the core is working at all times.”

Personal trainer Tierney Fickler suggests stocking your new home gym with basic staples like kettlebells.

resources Tierney Fickler Personal Trainer

Debbie Salome I.D. & C.U. Corporation 915-525-1743



Vida Buena

good for the bones

Dr. Heidi Lyn specializes in women’s health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

What you need to know about bone health and preventing osteoporosis


ntil they’ve broken an arm or a leg, most people don’t fret over bone health or bone-related diseases like osteoporosis. However, even though bones are firm and tough to break, they’re actually living tissues that need a little more attention, especially when it comes to aging. Dr. Heidi Lyn of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso gives Su Casa the scoop on detecting and preventing osteoporosis.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is “thinning of the bones,” which causes them to weaken. Bone is a living tissue; it is constantly remodeling. That means that our bodies are constantly absorbing old bone and replacing it with new bone. When the creation of new bone can’t keep up with the removal of the old bone, osteoporosis results.

Who does it affect most?

What are some risk factors?

Some of the risk factors include being female; age (older people are more at risk); race (Asians, Scandinavians, and Caucasians are more at risk); family history of osteoporosis; small body frame (people who weigh less than 120 pounds); taking certain medications, like corticosteroids; excessive consumption of alcohol; low calcium intake; overactive thyroid gland; and smoking.

Are there any noticeable symptoms?

Sometimes there are no noticeable symptoms. Osteoporosis might be suspected when someone breaks a bone more easily than expected. Sometimes you might notice stooped posture or less height over time. Also, back pain may occur from a compressed vertebral bone.


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Courtesy of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

White and Asian women who have gone through menopause.

“A post-menopausal woman needs 1,500 mg of calcium a day. She probably gets about 500 mg in her diet, and she should take a supplement of 500 mg twice a day.” ­—Heidi A. Lyn, MD

What are some early prevention measures that can be implemented to avoid osteoporosis?

Making sure you have an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D. For example, a postmenopausal woman needs 1,500 mg of calcium a day. She probably gets about 500 mg in her diet, and she should take a supplement of 500 mg twice a day. Regular weight-bearing exercise is also recommended, as is quitting smoking and decreasing alcohol consumption.

Above: Learning about bone health and practicing preventive measures early on can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Left: Back pain is one of the noticeable symptoms of bone disease.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

A test called DEXA (dual electron x-ray absorptiometry), which measures bone density, is performed. It is painless and similar to an x-ray. The patient lies on a table and low levels of x-rays are used to evaluate the bone density in the hip and spine. It is also recommended that people have screening for osteoporosis when they turn 60.

If diagnosed, how is osteoporosis treated? There are medications called bisphosphonates that can be prescribed or administered, but these medicines can be difficult to take and cause upset stomach. Hormone therapy can also be used. Estrogen, the hormone ovaries make before menopause, can be given after menopause to maintain bone density.

resources Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Vida Buena

Puerto Peñasco

by Jessica Muncrief

Paradise is closer than you think


nyone who grew up in the Borderland has probably heard murmurs of a beach nestled in this seemingly landlocked desert—one that can be driven to in less than a day from El Paso and where the dollar stretches much further than it does in Los Angeles or Miami. A place so close you can get there in your RV and bring along your ATVs. When you arrive, pristine beaches, friendly locals, and all the fish you can catch (and eat) are there to welcome you. The name Puerto Peñasco might not ring a bell, but its English equivalent, Rocky Point, usually causes eyes to light up with recognition. Modern travelers have Prohibition to thank for this tourist haven. Up until the 1920s traveling fishermen visited the area, but lack of a fresh water supply made it uninhabitable. John Stone, an Arizona businessman, changed all that when he drilled a well for a hotel/casino catering to Americans looking to get their drink on. For several years his place was a hit—local legends even claim mobster Al Capone was a frequent visitor. After quarreling with locals, Stone eventually blew up his hotel and high-tailed it back to the States, but the seeds of tourism had been planted. Today, although there are plenty of margaritas and cervezas to be had, Rocky Point caters more to those looking to do a little beachside relaxing. American college students do frequent what they’ve dubbed “Arizona’s beach” during their spring breaks, but most of the year the town and the surrounding beaches are “pretty chill,” says El Paso resident Julieta Hernandez, who has visited the area several times with her husband and friends. “I go to Rocky Point because the beaches are clean, the water is warm, and it’s usually not too packed with people,” she says. 90

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Multiple luxury resorts line Playa Arenosa, one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Peñasco.

Greens surrounded by scenic pools are perfect for vacationers seeking a few holes of golf.

Courtesy of Puerto Peñasco Convention & Visitors Bureau

“We usually lie on the beach, have a couple margaritas, go out for great seafood—that’s the type of vibe I’m looking for in Puerto Peñasco.”—Julieta Hernandez

beachside escape

There’s certainly plenty of beach to relax on—12 separate beaches, in fact—scattered along the coast of the Sea of Cortez, and all open to the public. One of the most popular is Playa Arenosa, or Sandy Beach, the hub of many resorts, condominiums, and golf courses. If you’re looking for a taste of luxury or have safety concerns, this is the place to be. Directly to the south, you’ll find an arching sweep of fine sand aptly named Playa Bonita. When the tide is low, a number of fascinating tidal pools are revealed for anyone wishing to get a close-up look at aquatic marine life. Mayan Palace is the best beach to pick up oversized seashells, and you’re bound to come across a stingray or two on Las Conchas. If you’re looking for total solitude, head all the way south to Playa San Jorge where you’ll probably have paradise all to yourself. Just like the fishermen who first discovered Rocky Point, anglers today might catch anything from halibut to marlin in the Sea of Cortez.

Warm water, clean beaches, and gorgeous views are a few of the reasons vacationers enjoy the seaside city.

volcanic wonder

Puerto Peñasco has a lot to offer off the beaten path, most notably El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve. Volcanos have erupted in the area over the last 4 million years, forming what is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site so large it is visible from space. The entire reserve is more than 2,500 square miles, but a notable area of volcanic peaks and cones, Picos del Pinacate, is just north of the city of Puerto Peñasco. Visitors can also explore the vast array of animal and plant life that somehow manages to survive in what many consider to be the most arid and inhospitable expanse of the Sonoran Desert.

There’s certainly plenty of beach to relax on—12 separate beaches, in fact—scattered along the coast of the Sea of Cortez.

fisherman’s paradise

Fishermen were the first to discover Rocky Point, and for good reason. Word is that you don’t have to be an expert angler to snag something on your line. Red snapper, whitefish, halibut, and black sea bass are just a few of the species that can be caught right from the shore. In the late summer, charters go out into deeper water in hopes of catching dorado or marlin. Fishing tournaments take place all throughout the year; the very popular Marina Fest kicks off in early June. If you prefer eating fresh seafood to catching it, bring your cooler down to the Old Port where you’ll find fishermen peddling their catches of the day, including lots of fresh shrimp. And there is no shortage of restaurants offering up the good stuff. Hernandez recommends Aqui es con Flavio—“Everyone eats at Flavio’s,” she says—and Mickey’s Place seems to be the local favorite for fine dining.

For something different, El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve offers a glimpse of Warm animalwater, clean beaches, and gorgeous and plant life in a historic, volcanic site.views are a few of the reasons vacationers enjoy the seaside city.



For travelers looking for a little adventure, a little seafood, and whole lot of relaxation, Puerto Peñasco delivers.

For travelers looking for a little adventure, a little seafood, and whole lot of relaxation, Puerto Peñasco delivers—and it’s conveniently just a little over an hour drive from the Arizona border. While you might bump into the occasional college student looking for a party, you’re more likely to find people just looking to get away from it all. “If you want to go barhopping, that’s really not what it’s about,” says Hernandez. “We usually lie on the beach, have a couple margaritas, go out for great seafood—that’s the type of vibe I’m looking for in Puerto Peñasco.” Left: Many of the beaches offer exciting activities like paddle boarding, banana boat rides, horseback riding, and parasailing.

resources Puerto Peñasco Convention & Visitors Bureau


SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

Su Cocina

by Danielle Urbina

las tradiciones


Happiness is a home where recipes are shared and no one leaves hungry


alk into Irma Serna’s Central El Paso home on a Tuesday evening and you’re bound to be hit with the smell of authentic Mexican food. For years, Irma and her husband Ernie have hosted family dinners every Tuesday for their children, extended family, neighbors, and anyone else who happens to walk through their doors. “We fill both dining rooms,” she laughs. “We’ll have adults in one room and kids in another; there’s people everywhere. I like a full house.” When the Sernas moved to El Paso from California in 1997, Irma knew she needed a home with a kitchen that would allow her to cook to her heart’s content; she found it in a home in El Paso’s historic Manhattan Heights neighborhood. “Ernie and I both immediately fell in love with this kitchen,” she says. “The tiles with all the fruit and vegetables are a constant reminder of what I need to create a meal.” The kitchen, tiled from floor to ceiling in royal blue Talavera tile, has retained many of its original qualities and has remained mostly unaltered with the exception of the addition of a Viking range and the removal of a few cabinet doors. While some homeowners see the kitchen as a place to socialize, Serna sees her kitchen as a place for serious business. “When someone comes over and wants to

Serna admits that cooking is a constant learning process— which is why it’s always great to have family around to help. Right: Sister-in-law Marty and Nana Mariana lend a helping hand in Irma Serna’s cheery kitchen. Above, right: Gorditas, chicken mole, albondigas soup, beans, and rice are a few of the Sernas’ family favorites.


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Photos by Nohemy Gonzalez

“The flood of memories when you smell a familiar spice or taste a familiar flavor are so great.” —Irma Serna help, there’s not a place to sit in this kitchen unless you hop up on the countertops,” she says. “This is a place to work, where we chop, wash, and cook.” In a family dinner menu she shared with Su Casa, Serna prepared dishes favored by her (now grown) children: Isaac, Angela, and Martie; they’re recipes she’s already passed on to not only her children, but her grandchildren as well. “It’s extremely important to me that these dishes are shared,” she says. “The flood of memories when you smell a familiar spice or taste a familiar flavor are so great.” The flavorful dishes include handmade gorditas stuffed with potatoes and garnished with shredded cabbage, fresh tomato, and sharp cheddar cheese; traditional albondigas soup; chicken mole; rice and beans; and a Meyer lemon cheesecake. The dishes, Serna says, are also special occasion recipes she loves to cook when her children and grandchildren visit from Washington, D.C., and California. Though her meals are packed with flavor, Serna also makes it a point to keep her ingredients as healthy as possible. She and her husband grow some of their own 100 percent organic produce at a ranch they own in Faywood, New Mexico; and when Irma doesn’t cook with her fresh veggies right away, she cans and freezes them so they can be used throughout the rest of the year. “It takes a little planning, but our goal is not only to have less toxic bodies, but also to use fewer chemicals to improve the overall health of our environment,” she says. It’s clear that Serna spends a lot of time in her kitchen, but she admits that cooking is a constant learning process— which is why it’s always great to have family around to help. “Today I completely ruined the masa for the gorditas,” she

Above: The dining room in the Sernas’ Manhattan Heights home features a long, spacious table that seats plenty of loved ones.



laughs. “I’m so happy I had family here to fix it.” Her rescuers: her sister-in-law Marty, and Nana Mariana, a motherly figure to the entire family. In the end, it all goes back to the kitchen that Serna and her husband fell in love with—the place where countless meals, simple to decadent, have been prepared for so many of the couple’s loved ones. “We are blessed to have a beautiful home with a place to sit and take the time to enjoy our meals,” says Serna. “It really is all about love and sharing.”

“This is a place to work, where we chop, wash, and cook.”—Irma Serna Left and opposite: Lining the walls, countertops, and backsplashes in the kitchen, royal blue Talavera tile alternates with playfully painted tiles. Irma Serna chops flavorful garnishes for a plate of delicious, authentic gorditas (below, with recipe on page 97).


SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

Gorditas (Little Fat Ones) 2 cups masa harina (instant) or maseca 1 tablespoon baking powder 1-1/2 cups warm water Mix the masa harina, baking powder, and warm water until a soft dough is formed. If the dough seems dry and crumbly add a little more warm water, and if the dough sticks to your hands, add a little more masa harina. When the dough feels just right, put it in a plastic bag at room temperature for 10 minutes. Heat a cast iron skillet with enough vegetable oil to generously cover the gorditas. Take enough dough to form a ball a little smaller than a tennis ball, and with your fingers flatten the dough to form a smooth, flat disc about 1/4inch thick and 3–4 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, be sure to keep the rest of the dough in a plastic bag so it does not dry out. Carefully drop the gordita into the hot oil. In approximately one minute, it should begin to get some color. Use tongs to turn the gordita over a few times for 2 to 3 minutes or until it is golden brown and evenly cooked. Repeat for each gordita. Remove and set on paper towels to drain. When the gorditas are cool enough to pick up, carefully slice open halfway around the gordita and stuff with your favorite filling. (Irma Serna suggests a filling of mashed potatoes with ground bison, garnished with shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, pico de gallo, and shredded cheddar cheese.)



Su Cocina

by Danielle Urbina

Photographs by Bill Faulkner

in with the old

New owners keep the same traditions of great food and friendly service at Ripe Eatery


here are some new faces greeting customers at the door at Ripe Eatery in West El Paso. No, it’s not the staff that’s changed; it’s the owners, Kyle Elliott and Mike Norwich, who are the new friendly faces of the well-known restaurant. After six years of building a community legacy with Ripe, former owners Becky Atkins and Adam Lampinstein decided to sell the restaurant, but not before making sure it was in good hands. And when Elliott and Norwich (each themselves business owners) stepped in, they made it a priority to maintain the “Ripe experience” for their loyal customers. “When we were going through the process and I mentioned to a few of my friends that I was thinking of buying it, they told me they all knew at least one of the servers by name,” says Norwich, the group’s managing partner. “There’s no place in El Paso that I’m aware of that has that kind of connection.” The restaurant started out as a “gourmet take-out” type of eatery where customers could get upscale food on the fly, but original owners Atkins and Lampinstein soon realized that the idea didn’t quite fit El Paso’s demographic. They decided to take that same delicious food and serve it in a traditional sit-down restaurant. Sure enough, business steadily came pouring in, and for six years the brother and sister duo showered El Paso with excellent food, creativity, and love for their community. When Elliott and Norwich took the helm at Ripe, they promised friends and family who knew about their new investment they wouldn’t change much in terms of atmosphere and the quality of food—and they’ve stood by that promise wholeheart-

Above: Barbecue salmon sandwich with sliced orange, goat cheese, and cabbage slaw on a baguette. 98

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A refreshing grapefruit wine spritzer.

The new owners plan to do everything to make sure that a strong sense of community is always a main staple of their restaurant —just the way their diners like it.

edly. From the laid-back feel of the restaurant to the friendly customer service, Ripe seems to be just as Atkins and Lampinstein left it. Elliott, president of Spectrum Technologies in El Paso, and Norwich, a local franchise operator for Jack in the Box, have spent years running their own businesses, which is why their combined knowledge made for a perfect team. Elliott also enlisted the help of his son Jake, who helps manage the front of the house as part of the partnership team. The group as a whole was always open to new opportunities that would allow them to slightly depart from their everyday jobs and exercise creativity. The menu at Ripe offers a variety of gourmet options with a comforting twist, such as a spicy Southwest chicken pot pie and a caramelized fennel and pear risotto. Mouthwatering Bakka Ranch natural burgers and sandwiches with an innovative array of ingredients are also available. Looking for a great weekend brunch spot? Ripe’s full weekend brunch menu includes a variety of omelets, beneAbove, left: Carmelized fennel and pear risotto with arugula, parmesan cheese, and a pear and balsamic reduction.

A large, open dining room complete with cozy seating and cheery murals on the walls enhance the laid-back atmosphere at Ripe.



dicts, and delectable pancakes, all expertly prepared by executive chef Leann Acosta and her hardworking back-of-the-house staff. Now that Elliott and Norwich have taken over, they hear their customers’ pleas of “not changing a thing” loud and clear, and that goes for the staff, too. Both owners credit key players in the restaurant, like general manager Gilbert Gonzalez, in maintaining the current and future success of Ripe. “We knew in order to make a seamless transition, we were going to have to cultivate a really excellent culture with the staff here,” says Norwich. “Becky and Adam did such a great job with that.” Though Elliott says small changes (like different monthly specials and bringing even more creative items to the menu) are bound to happen in the future, he and Norwich plan to do everything to make sure that the strong sense of community is always a main staple of their restaurant—just the way their diners like it. Surely, the “Ripe experience” is as alive as it’s always been at the restaurant, and for Elliott and Norwich, it’s all the little things put together that perpetuate the experience. “It’s a complete package that includes excellent management, great staff, and an incredible executive chef,” says Elliott. “You put all of those things together and you’ve got this unbelievable dynamic that works.” The restaurant often offers specialty quiches, like this one made with red pepper and goat cheese.

Grilled eggplant and ricotta flatbread with pickled onions, arugula, and red pesto.

Whole-wheat pancakes topped with butter and syrup.

Above: New owners and partners (from left to right) Kyle Elliott, Jake Elliott, and Mike Norwich. 100

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The menu at Ripe offers a variety of gourmet options with a comforting twist, such as a spicy Southwest chicken pot pie and a caramelized fennel and pear risotto.

Korean burger with Swiss cheese, kimchi, and sriracha mayo on a brioche bun.

resources Ripe Eatery



Su Cocina

by Danielle Urbina

Photographs by Avraham Elias



The craft beer industry is brewing in the Southwest


At Red Mountain Bistro in West El Paso, the staff is happy to offer suggestions to new craft beer drinkers. Above: A variety of craft beers are displayed at West El Paso’s Block Table & Tap.


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mericans love having freedom of choice when it comes to food and drink. And as many restaurants embrace the idea of giving their patrons exactly what they want, the same can be said for a cold pint of beer. The craft beer movement is sweeping across the United States and straight into the palates of brew lovers everywhere.

“[Craft beers] are artisanal. They’re rare, and that’s what intrigues people.” —Nicholas Mendoza The Southwest is no stranger to the craft beer movement, says Ben E. Keith Beverages’ Nicholas Mendoza, who oversees operations and manages sales for the El Paso and West Texas region of the company. It quickly became apparent to Mendoza that El Paso was as much on the craftbeer bandwagon as any other big city. “There are so many things, like branding and exposure, which have contributed to the growth here in the Southwest region,” Mendoza says. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about enlightenment and getting people to try something new—something similar to what they usually drink but still different enough.” Made in small batches, craft beer is the in thing for discerning beer drinkers. From bold India pale ales (popularly known as IPAs) to darker barrel-aged beers, it’s a craft beer’s list of distinctive ingredients and its exclusiveness that keeps customers coming back for more. “A lot of craft beer breweries can only brew so much product due to capacity,” says Mendoza. “But that’s the whole point of craft beers. They’re artisanal. They’re rare, and that’s what intrigues people.” Drinking craft beer is also meant to be a fulfilling experience, notes Mendoza. Breweries want you to taste their distinct flavors and explore your palate. Brews called session beers are becoming more popular because they offer full-flavored taste while embodying low ABV (alcohol by volume) and low IBU (international bitter unit). “Session beers are very light, they’re easy to drink, and they’re less filling,” says Mendoza. Make no mistake about the intricacies of a great craft beer: The art of understanding these unique brews is similar to that of a wine connoisseur’s education. The beer educator equivalents of wine sommeliers, “master cicerones” offer an intense education covering a wide range of beer topics, from the history of beer to the ingredients used to make it. And now, many breweries are offering larger-sized bottles of their product with eye-catching labels, giving some craft brews an air of complexity that’s on par with wine. “It’s now for sophisticated, experienced drinkers,” says Mendoza. For those who are new to the craft beer scene, dozens of craft beer restaurants and bars with highly knowledgeable

Above: Cesar Baylon of Ben E. Keith Beverages fills the fridge at Spec’s on Mesa Street in El Paso. Above, top: The keg vault at Ben E. Keith Beverages is stocked from floor to ceiling with craft beer from all over the country.

It’s a craft beer’s list of distinctive ingredients and its exclusiveness that keeps customers coming back for more.

staff are beginning to emerge as the Southwest region grows. Mendoza makes it a point to offer several annual events centered on beer tastings as well as monthly beer dinners in which beer samples are expertly paired with different food choices. As for the future of craft beer, Mendoza has high hopes it’s a trend that will continue evolving. “People are tired of the basic stuff. They want more flavors; they want more selection. It’s all about the opportunity to choose what you want.”

resources Ben E. Keith Beverages SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Dream On

Every angle in this sumptuous master bathroom in West El Paso offers something intriguing to gaze upon. Working with interior designer Lynda Power of Designs by L.L. Power & Associates, homeowners Frances and Alan Erickson commissioned a trio of groin arches lined in light-colored brick, each with its own chandelier, that compel the eye upward. A series of additional arches—over the doorways, above the vanities, and in the door at the end of the room—plays out like an elegant hall of mirrors. Eschewing rounded edges, the angular his-and-hers sinks and vanities offer the eye a temporary grounding place, but the faux stained glass in the arched door steals it away again. One’s gaze can’t help but follow the inviting path depicted on the door. At its end: a pool, tucked within a lovely, secret garden. Designs by L.L. Power & Associates, 104

SU C A S A SUMM E R 2014

Bill Faulkner

an overarching theme


C R E A T I N GE LPA S O ’ S M O S T E X C E P T I O N A L O U T D O O R L I V I N G S P A C E S . C R E A T I N GE LPA S O ’ S M O S T E X C E P T I O N A L O U T D O O R L I V I N G S P A C E S .



Landscape Services, Nursery & Event Venue Landscape Services, Nursery & Event Venue 150 E. Sunset Rd.


(915) 585-0801


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

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

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

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