Page 1


+ stylish

Northern New Mexico



inspiration ideas resources



warmly received

South Valley soft contemporary


lawn game fun

gracious outdoor living in North Albuquerque Acres VOL. 21 NO. 3 SUMMER 2015

Award Winning

Mesa Verde Homes Green Home Builder

with Marie

Where Green Living is Clean Living

Danny C Fletcher

Photos: Terry Guaderrama c

What’s your style? Traditional – Old World – Contemporary

Mesa Verde Homes with Marie is a collaboration of established builders with innovative ideas, talent and resources. Building green has affordable options for everyone. Call Mesa Verde Homes today and let the experts build you the home of your dreams.

2012 National Custom Home Builder of the Year

Marie Blea has been designing and building high quality, unique homes for over 25 years. Call her today: 505-991-1405

4940 Corrales Rd, Suite 550 • Corrales, NM •

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Welcome to the new New Mexico.

Golden Eagle Design Golden Eagle Design is New Mexico’s most innovative kitchen and bath showroom, features a large selection of products, from classic style to modern luxury, to help you create the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams! There are endless possibilites when it comes to reviving your kitchen, and we are the best source to start working towards your dream home!

Our knowledgeable and experienced associates can assist you in making the best possible selections for you and the kitchen of your dreams! Come visit us today!

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Northern New Mexico


Kirk Gittings

inspiration ideas resources

44 A bright and cheerful kitchen in the Northeast Heights mixes traditional materials with modern appliances.



homes 24 leap of faith

Overcoming a shaky start to their homebuilding process, the owners take matters into their own hands and finish strong with a magnificent custom residence.

34 warmly received

A contemporary South Valley farmhouse offers warmth for the body and satisfaction for the soul of the homeowner, who realizes a childhood dream of designing and building her own home.

44 third time charmed

Turning to a builder they know and trust, a couple designs their award-winning “last” home in Northeast Heights.

Left Turn Distilling owner Brian Langwell whips up a refreshing Tom Colllins using his handcrafted wet gin.


clever kitchens

There’s a lot riding on good kitchen design. These four spectacular spaces suggest that kitchens are as much about living as they are about cooking.


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Sergio Salvador



Robust handles. Impressive power. Generous capacities. GE Cafe Series delivers restaurant-grade performance and style that takes food further and kitchens from everyday to gourmet. To learn more, contact your dealer or visit

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in every issue

14 Inside Su Casa

16 Life+Style Southwest A truly “great” room; kitchen sinks with pizazz; Moll Anderson’s Enchanted Spaces are all about color; and Steve Thomas extols the virtues of small, well-designed kitchens.

58 Vida Buena

The trend toward natural and organic beauty products is really a return to basics; San Diego beckons to landlocked desert dwellers; and lawn games of yesteryear make a strong comeback.

62 Design Studio

Three businesses invest in New Mexico to create specialized materials and décor for builders and homeowners.

66 W hat’s Happening Northern New Mexico events and live performances through September.

Courtesy of Hardware Renaissance

70 Su Cocina Albuquerque’s Left Turn Distilling; James Selby on summer white wines.

84 S u Libro

Masters of architecture and their influence on Southwestern design. Meet three Northern New Mexico–based companies producing quality materials for builders and homeowners.

96 Adios A spiritual sanctuary that borrows straight from the landscape.


On the cover: Gracious outdoor living means a pool plus many amenities. Read about this Albuquerque home on page 24. Photo by Douglas Merriam.


24 8

S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Douglas Merriam

Despite its elegance and obvious luxury, this North Albuquerque Acres home was designed for fun, family, and functionality.

inspiration ideas resources

Published by Bella Media, LLC

Publisher Bruce Adams

Associate Publisher B.Y. Cooper

Editor Amy Gross

Associate Editor Cristina Olds

Contributors Moll Anderson, Jessa Cast, Jackie Dishner Donna Schillinger, James Selby Tom Smylie, Steve Thomas John Vollertsen

Lead Graphic Designer Sybil Watson

Designer & Media Specialist Michelle Odom

Photography Kirk Gittings, Amadeus Leitner Douglas Merriam, Sergio Salvador

Advertising Manager Cheryl Mitchell

Advertising Sales Executives Melissa Salazar, David Wilkinson Amy Ingram For advertising information contact: 505-344-1783

Operations Manager Ginny Stewart For subscriptions, call 818-286-3162 Su Casa Northern New Mexico (ISSN 1094-4562 & USPS # 2-3618) Volume 21, Number 3, Summer 2015. Su Casa Northern New Mexico is published quarterly in March, June, September, and December by Bella Media, LLC at Pacheco Park, 1512 Pacheco St, Ste D-105, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA, Phone (505) 983-1444. Š Copyright 2015 by Bella Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. Basic annual subscription rate is $9.95, Canada & Mexico is $23.95, Other international countries is $27.95. U.S. single-copy price is $5.95. Back issues are $6.95 each. Periodicals postage paid at Albuquerque, NM, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to Su Casa Northern New Mexico P.O. Box 16925, North Hollywood, CA 91615-6925 Subscription Customer Service: Su Casa Northern New Mexico P.O. Box 16925, North Hollywood, CA 91615-6925 Phone (818) 286-3162, Fax (800) 869-0040,,




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H om e Bu il d e r s Asso c ia tio n o f C e nt r a l N e w M e xic o Boa r d of D ire c to rs

President: Brian McCarthy First Vice President: Jamie Baxter Second Vice President: Scott Ashcraft Immediate Past President: David Newell Associate Vice President: Diana Lucero Secretary/Treasurer: Lora Vassar Associate-at-Large: Connor Payne Custom Builders Council, Chair: Bill Reynolds Green Build Council, Chair: Matthew Brazil Home Builders Care, Chair: Bain Cochran Membership Committee, Chair: Ron Sisneros Parade Committee, Chair: Diana Lucero Production Builders Council, Chair: Kevin Patton Remodelers Council, Chair: Dominic Padilla Advisory Member: Mike Sivage Honorary Members: Bruce Adams, Mark Russell H o m e Bu i l d e r s Asso c ia tio n o f C e nt r a l N e w M e xic o S ta f f

Executive Vice President: John Garcia Vice President of Operations: Lana McClure Events Specialist: Kimberly Johnson Communication & Membership Specialist: Damian Abeita

presidential award

Copyright Š 2015 by Bella Media, LLC. Bella Media, LLC Pacheco Park 1512 Pacheco St, Ste D-105 Santa Fe, NM 87505 505-983-1444 Please direct editorial queries to Su Casa’s cover and text are printed by Publication Printers in Denver, Colorado, on SFI-certified paper. The papers used contain fiber from well-managed forests, meeting EPA guidelines that recommend a minimum 10% post-consumer recovered fiber for coated papers. Inks used contain a percentage of soy base. Our printer meets or exceeds all federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) standards and is a certified member of the Forest Stewardship Council.


photography by Kate Russell


Consistently the best Designing and building the finest homes in Santa Fe for over thirty-eight years. 302 Catron Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501




Inside Su Casa

easy livin’



Right: This light and airy South Valley home was designed to blur the lines between indoors and out. For the story, see page 34.


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Amadeus Leitner

Bruce Adams


ummertime, and the livin’ is easy. Both Ella Fitzgerald and Janis Joplin sang us those lyrics years ago, but the words speak to our lives here in Northern New Mexico during this, our most pleasant time of year. Home buyers entering our market from other places see what we all see: the incredible beauty and lifestyle of the high desert, where the dry air and cooler summer temperatures make that “livin’” a lot easier than in other parts of the country. In Northern New Mexico, summer can be fully enjoyed, indoors and out. Interesting things happen when we enjoy the outdoor lifestyle via our homes. For example, I enjoy playing the guitar. I’ve noticed the sound of my guitar takes on a whole new resonance when played on my patio. And have you ever noticed how a dinner party hosted outside has a distinctly different feel than one held indoors? When we move our life outside, it rings with a new resonance, enhanced by Northern New Mexico’s cool evenings, stunning views, and gentle breezes. We see in homes throughout this region how owners have either brought the outdoors in or taken their indoor lifestyle and moved it outside. In this issue of Su Casa, as in so many of our issues, we present innovative ideas on how to incorporate outdoor living in a comfortable, fun, flexible, and attractive way. Your backyard is also the perfect place to be when you’re remodeling your kitchen. The kitchen renovation ideas in this issue can all be done way before the holidays—if you begin now. While your kitchen is in construction disarray, you’ll be enjoying the lovely outdoors. Summer is the one time of year we get to use—and enjoy—all of our home’s spaces, indoors and out. As you savor these lovely summer days and evenings, I encourage you to dream about your living spaces, both inside and outside, and consider how they might enhance your life and give it a new resonance.

Life+Style Southwest

In designing their contemporary Northeast Heights home with Chris Martinez of Picasso Builders and architect Ron Montoya, Steve and Brandi Riddle had two goals: “Our boys [Brennen and Jacob] are getting older, and we wanted to create a home they would want to stay in and bring their friends to,” says Brandi. They also sought to create plenty of space for entertaining, so Martinez first sited the great room to capture the best Sandia views and then incorporated two sliding window walls that seamlessly integrate indoors and outdoors and show the beauty of the cantilevered awnings. The beautiful glulam-beamed and tongue-and-groove redwood ceiling is slightly elevated toward the pool area, and the soaring walls feature stacked windows that draw the eye upward. From their great room, the family enjoys views of the pool, the mountains, the TV, and the fireplace. Thirteenyear-old Brennan recently commented, “I don’t even leave the house anymore, Mom. I love it here.” Goal achieved. Picasso Builders,

Patrick Coulie

now that’s a great room

Life+Style Southwest

by Cristina Olds

. . . and the kitchen sink! Center your kitchen around a gorgeous, showpiece sink Is your sink simply a way station for your dirty dishes? Consider an upgrade. Stainless steel, solid stone, and hammered copper sinks are hot right now, and the stylish sinks seen here will elevate your veggie-washing experience and create a pleasing—even stunning—artistic centerpiece for your cooking spaces.

Native Trails Ventana Farmhouse Using concrete in residential design is hip these days, even for farmhouse sinks. With all the organic elegance of traditional concrete but stronger and lighter, Native Trails’ proprietary NativeStone blend incorporates natural jute fiber with a concrete mix sealed with a “self-healing” finish. This 15-inch-square sink comes in Ash, Slate, and Pearl finishes. $1,650, Santa Fe By Design,

Elkay Gourmet Sleek and sexy stainless steel is the top choice for an industrial kitchen. This nine-inch-deep double bowl sink with its four-inch divider makes cleanup of large, bulky pots and pans easy. The durable 18-gauge steel is scratch-resistant with a long-lasting luster that gleams beside any countertop and cabinet texture and surface. $2,035, Dahl Plumbing, (Santa Fe); (Albuquerque)

Thompson Traders Lucca Rich, stylish copper makes a distinctive statement in the kitchen. With seamless construction and a hammered finish, this handmade, solid copper undermount or drop in sink is a functional work of art. Exposure to water and air enriches the copper hue for a changing patina, or the sink can be coated to protect the original color. Both the copper and nickel finishes are naturally antimicrobial and rust-resistant. $1,139, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery,

Blanco Performa Cascade Enhancing the versatility of a single bowl sink, this gently curved one-andthree-quarter bowl design with included colander separates workspaces cleanly and efficiently. Featuring a durable composite molded from crushed granite and resin that can be finished in a variety of trending hues like Biscotti, Cinder, and Truffle, this sink has the presence of solid stone without the matching price tag. 18 18

S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

$745, Golden Eagle Design,

Enchanted Spaces

Energize outdoor spaces with bold, vibrant hues

John Hall Photography

in living color

by Moll Anderson

Moll Anderson Life stylist and philanthropist Moll Anderson is an Emmy Award–winning television personality and the best-selling author of four books, including The Seductive Home. 20

S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Jeff Katz Photography


requently people ask me how to add a pop of color to their outdoor living spaces. I tell them it’s easier than you think— and you don’t need a big, “colorful” personality to do it. Start by perusing the latest fashion, makeup, and Pantone colors. Which ones inspire you and really get your heart racing? Pick a few, then let go and have a blast by infusing those hot, haute colors you’re drawn to (and are lusting for a chance to use!) into your life. This couldn’t be easier in your outdoor living spaces, since you’re simply going to add your color with accents—pillows, towels, pots, throws, and flowers. This works so well because when you choose fabric for your upholstered patio furniture in a neutral color, either dark or light, you can always change the color of your accents—or add to them when you find another chroma you crave. One of my favorite ways to rejuvenate a space is with a fresh coat of paint. It’s a quick fix for a wall or any piece of furniture, especially this old, tired table and chair set I found. I loved the design and had been looking for the perfect table and chairs to set the mood I’d been dreaming of creating in my Santa Fe home. Most people would look at that table and chairs and think, Ugh! Ugly. But if you train yourself to look beyond the obvious and be adventurous—without necessarily thinking DIY—then you will learn to embrace the imperfect. The table set, I knew, simply needed to be a very electric color. In just a couple of hours, its weather-beaten pieces went from unsightly and boring to super seductive thanks to a little elbow grease and a hot splash of color. You get more mileage out of a can of paint than any other decorating tool!

The grand but rusted chairs of a metal dining set went from drab (above) to fab (above, left) thanks to cobalt blue spray paint, new cushions, and fun, mixed-pattern pillows. Right: Large planters in a vibrant blue equal to Moll’s revamped dinette pop against the adobe walls of her Santa Fe home. Where electric blue is dynamic and exhilarating, says Moll, blues in the sky and the pool suggest trustworthiness and dependability.

Which colors are you most drawn to? Blue is most often named a “favorite” color. It’s seen as trustworthy, dependable, and committed—the color of sky and ocean. The color blue affects us physically and mentally. Electric or brilliant blues are dynamic and dramatic—engaging hues that express exhilaration. Soothing and relaxing mentally as well as physically, green helps to alleviate depression, nervousness, and anxiety and offers a sense of renewal, self-control, and harmony. Mentally stimulating yellow encourages communication. Yellow is full of optimism, enlightenment, and happiness, and shades of golden yellow carry thoughts for a positive future. Yellow pops from surrounding colors, brings energy, and sparks creative thoughts and memory. Fun and flamboyant, orange radiates warmth and energy. Orange affects us mentally and physically, stimulating activity and appetite and encouraging socialization. Red has more personal associations than any other color. Recognized as a stimulant, red is exciting. The amount of red in a space is directly related to the level of energy perceived. Red is seductive, increases enthusiasm, and draws attention; a pop of red as an accent can immediately focus attention on a particular element. Red encourages action and confidence and a sense of protection from fears and anxiety. Long considered having mystic and royal qualities, purple is a color often well liked by very creative or eccentric types and is the favorite color of young girls. It is calming to mind and nerves, offers a sense of spirituality, and encourages creativity.

Life+Style Southwest

by Steve Thomas

cooking light

Steve Thomas


y friend François grew up in a small French village in the hills outside Lyon. She and her family ran the only bistro, which served coffee, drinks, and of course the legendary French country cooking. In my mind, a “French country kitchen” meant a large space with a vast range and gleaming copper pots, but in fact, the Lagoute family produced all the bistro’s meals on a two-burner gas hob. François was a fantastic cook, and she disabused me of the notion that one had to have a big, fancy kitchen to produce great meals. There was a time I did a lot of cooking and spent a lot of time in the kitchen, though these days I prefer the plein air vistas of “Steve’s Grill Patio & Martini Bar,” where the best of Maine’s seafood is either grilled or steamed in a gigantic gas cooker. My wife Evy rules the indoor kitchen, especially now that we recently completed a really terrific space at our current renovation project, Sea Cove Cottage. The kitchen is small, about 10 by 13 feet, but it boasts excellent design, equipment, lighting, and ventilation. Evy says it’s her favorite of all the kitchens we’ve done over the years,

Douglas Merriam

Small kitchens demand smart, efficient design and she’s not shy. So what are the ingredients for a great small kitchen? Professional design is a must, and to help your designer you have to focus on what you really need. Small spaces are only successful if they’re highly edited— and that takes discipline. Our designer, Robin Siegerman, helped us be ruthless. Modern cabinets and cabinet hardware can utilize every square inch of available space. You’ll need an “engineer” who can get the most out of a cabinet line. Longtime friend Rick Spencer was able to use stock KraftMaid cabinets in our kitchen and make the result look custom—and he realized a ton of very usable storage, too. Go high end on the appliance package (if you can). High-end machines look great, work great, last a long time, and don’t go out of style. They can also be a differentiator in the marketplace if and when you decide to sell your house. Shop for discontinued, last year’s, or even used models to save money. Rigorously edit your stuff. We went with one set of caterer-quality white plates, bowls, silverware, cups, and glasses, and one set of high-quality pots, pans, and knives. (Okay, the espresso machine was deemed a necessity!) The happy fact is that cooking styles have evolved to favor simple dishes made with fresh, local ingredients that don’t require an elaborate set of cookware. And back to Steve’s Grill Patio . . . don’t discount how much pressure a good grill area can take off the kitchen. I grill the Thanksgiving turkey outdoors, which my wife loves because it takes all the men (and their unruly holiday behavior) out of the house. We’ve been cooking in our small kitchen since December. It’s easy to work in, easy to clean, and looks really cool. So far, neither my wife nor I would go back to a large kitchen—or for that matter, a large house!

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

S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

This tiny kitchen uses light colors, compact appliances, and see-through upper cabinets to give the illusion of space.

Small spaces are only successful if they’re highly edited—and that takes discipline.

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leap of faith

Overcoming a shaky start, owner-builders finish strong with a magnificent custom residence


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

by Amy Gross


Photographs by Douglas Merriam

n the course of building their 6,000-square-foot home in North Albuquerque Acres, Scott and Mona Wilson became all too familiar with the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” In rapid succession, and almost at the outset of the project, they lost two builders. Disheartened, unsure how to proceed, and with subcontractors looking for guidance, Mona, who had run an interior design business in Memphis before moving to New Mexico, quickly made the leap from “involved homeowner” to “contractor.” Frightening though it was to find herself at the helm of such a comprehensive project, Mona eventually came to realize that being there actually made lots of sense. “Building a home is personal—so deep,” she says. “To some of the people who were in the business, our home was a business. But this was someone’s home—my home—not just a house.” Working from her own design, Mona rallied subcontractors and craftsmen who could bring her vision of a luxurious but comfortable residence, well steeped in old world and rustic aesthetics, to life. Overcoming missed deadlines, inspection issues, and a daily list of fires requiring immediate extinguishing, Mona threw herself into the build, discovering two things: “It made me nuts. And—I loved it!”

The double-oven Wolf range is surrounded by stained alder cabinetry by Marc Sowers Bespoke Woodwork that exemplifies the home’s luxuriant, old world aesthetic.

Opposite: The great room has spectacular views of the Sandias through argon-filled windows from Pella Windows & Doors. Left: An antique chandelier that once hung in Santa Fe’s La Fonda Hotel is suspended from huge crossbeams in a brick-lined tower. The horseshoe-shaped kitchen design affords the cook plenty of prep space. Brick: Kinney Brick. Beams: Wholesale Timber & Viga. Interior painting by Micah Rodriguez, A+ Painting Co.

The massive beams, crafted by Wholesale Timber & Viga, had to be brought in through the roof via crane. Mona and Scott then hand-stained them—in place. Rocky Mountain Stone supplied the materials for all of the indoor and outdoor stone walls and fireplaces.

Above: Mona descends the curved staircase crafted by Benchmark Woodfloors and adorned with custom, Italian-style iron railings.

Shih tzus Daisy and Zack steal a moment on the bed.


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Mona and Scott met in Alabama and moved around to Tennessee and Colorado before making their way to New Mexico with their three children, Matt, Shelby, and Olivia. They lived in another North Albuquerque Acres home before deciding to build down the street. The commanding façade of the new home, with its decidedly Tuscan and Mediterranean elements, belies an interior that, though equally impressive, is extremely comfortable and well utilized. “We designed this house completely around the way we live,” Mona says emphatically. “And there’s a little bit for everyone,” her husband agrees. Enticed by sprawling and beautifully landscaped outdoor living spaces that include a full outdoor kitchen, an outdoor TV, a water feature, a hot tub, a pool built by Lee-Sure Pools, and Scott’s “throne”—a stool situated behind the granite-topped bar—the family can usually (and understandably) be found outside. This spring, they even planted a small vineyard off what Mona calls the “moon courtyard.”

Right: In certain areas of the home, as in this sculptural hallway, it’s easy to imagine being in a castle. Mona opted for deep, metallic Variance finishes in the hallway and throughout the home for that very reason: “They have that old world look,” she says. Iron chandeliers, vaulted ceilings, and travertine tile floors add to the commanding, fortress-like feel.

Although the kitchen and dining areas flow easily into the family room straight ahead and the great room to the right, the home eschews an open-concept plan in favor of more clearly defined spaces. On the left, a custom wood, glass, and iron door by Santa Fe Doors opens to the wine room and bar.

Above: The centerpiece of the master bath is a hammered copper and nickel clawfoot tub. Behind it is tucked a double-entry walk-in shower lined with travertine and glass tile. 28

S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

With its elegant touches and feminine accents, this is a home clearly designed by a woman—and yet, according to both Mona and Scott, men love it. The furniture, much of it designed by Mona herself, is covered in rich, sumptuous textiles—velvet, alligator, leather, cowhide— bedecked with tassels and metallic trim. These are not dainty pieces; they invite you to sink in and be enveloped, guy-style. In the great room, twin iron chandeliers hang from massive custom rafters that were made by Wholesale Timber and Viga and installed through the roof by Scott’s company, Crane Services. The beams and the high ceilings might have made the home feel like a fortress save for the floorto-ceiling Pella windows that draw the eye upward and outward to breathtaking Sandia views beyond. Mona is understandably partial to her magnificent kitchen, built by Marc Sowers Bespoke Woodwork, with its alder cabinetry, Crazy Horse granite from Arizona Tile, onyx travertine flooring, and gorgeous farmhouse sinks—one stone, one copper. Eschewing a double island, Mona opted for a more functional U shape that allows for threesided prep work when one is standing in the center. The literal centerpiece of the kitchen, however, is the enormous chandelier in the brick-lined tower above the island, which originally hung in La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe. The Wilsons found it at Camino Real Antiques in Bernalillo and snapped it up before ground was even broken on the house. “We

It was critical to Mona to put as many truly one-of-a-kind touches into her home as possible, and that meant sourcing the area’s top artisans and craftspeople for custom elements.

The master bedroom features beautiful reclaimed wood floors, a relaxing sitting area tucked behind a stone arch, and a striking metallic sunburst ceiling design.



“It was really amazing to see people bond with us to make our dream happen,� says Mona of the many artisans and craftspeople she and Scott worked with to build their home.

Left: This is how to live outdoors. Thanks to a fully covered outdoor patio, the Wilsons make regular use of their outdoor kitchen, granite-topped bar, seating area with fireplace and TV, pool, hot tub, and water feature. From any one of these thoughtfully sited areas, the views are simply amazing. Outdoor kitchen built by MTD Construction.


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

designed the kitchen around that chandelier,” Mona says. As an interior designer, it was critical to Mona to put as many truly one-of-a-kind touches into her home as possible, and that meant sourcing the area’s top artisans and craftspeople for custom elements. They are everywhere: the entertainment center in the family room and the book case in the master bedroom built by Gorky Pacha of Woodlife Custom Craft; the textural, metallic Variance finishes throughout the house by Mike Sauer (Illusions Painting & Plastering) and Micah Carroll (Las Manos Hand Crafted Finishes); the beautifully refinished reclaimed wood floors and stunning curving staircase by Benchmark Woodfloors; and all of the doors, custom-designed and built by Santa Fe Doors, including the folding window wall that opens the family room to the outdoor living area. For all its size—four bedrooms and six baths—there is no wasted or unused space in the Wilsons’ home. “Functionality is a big thing to me—as it is for most women,” Mona says. She and Scott have his-and-her garages, but hers has a handy storage room built in for quickly storing purchases

Mona threw herself into the build, discovering two things: “It made me nuts. And—I loved it!”

When the sun goes down, the house comes alive. Ample lighting allows the family to enjoy their outdoor living spaces well into the summer evenings. Pool by Lee-Sure Pools.



from Costco runs, holiday décor, and other girlie stuff. Naturally, it’s neat as a pin. Despite the trials and errors that occurred along the way—or perhaps because of them—Mona revels in the ultimate success of her own home building experience. After months of heartache and worry, she emerged not only infinitely more knowledgeable about home design and building,

The Wilson family, from left: Olivia, Mona, Scott, Matt, and Shelby

but eager to share that knowledge with others. She even has a company name picked out: Enchanted Touch Designs by Mona Wilson. Stay tuned! There’s a large inlaid cross in the entry hall floor, a reminder to Mona and Scott about keeping faith when the going gets rough. “When I walked in and saw that cross for the first time, I knew I could do this,” Mona recalls with emotion. “I thought, God has brought us to this gift, and now he would bring us through it.”


received A South Valley home offers warmth for the body and satisfaction for the soul

by Jessa Cast

T East Mountain Design, 505-470-8110


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Photographs by Amadeus Leitner

hough the idea of growing up on a farm in Scotland may sound romantic to some, for Pat Cargill, who did just that, her childhood memories are largely about being cold—all the time. “I grew up sitting next to a cold hearth,” she recalls. “We used to have ice on the inside of the window panes in our drafty old farmhouse.” As a child, she yearned to redesign her parents’ home, knowing that some day she would build her own house.

When that opportunity finally came, it was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, many miles from that Scottish farmhouse. It was of the utmost importance to Cargill that she design a home that would keep her and her husband, Jack Carangelo, warm. Over and above designing the home herself, Cargill also knew she wanted to immerse herself completely in the construction process. After five years of playing with designs, she was ready to break ground on the South Valley property. She and Carangelo lived in a casita at one end of the property while the new home was being built, and installed a substantial vineyard so Carangelo could make wine. Their large property is bucolic even by rural South Valley standards, well hidden from any street traffic, with two huge old cottonwood trees anchoring the vineyard’s east side and announcing that one has arrived at the Cargill-Carangelo residence.

Here and opposite: Far from being relegated to the back of the house, the semicovered patio, which faces the vineyard, is actually the first thing you see when coming up the driveway.

A pair of towering cottonwoods marks the end of the vineyard as it approaches the porch.

Flanked on either side by concrete pillars, the low-roofed entryway opens to multilevel wings on either side: guest space on the left and the kitchen and living areas on the right. A third wing wraps to the rear around a courtyard.



“I wanted each wing to have its own identity, purpose, and sense.”—Pat Cargill


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Keeping upper cabinets to a minimum allowed Cargill to keep her kitchen open and bright and to focus on architecturally interesting elements such as the suspension of the modern hood from a beam. Textured laminate cabinets: Terra by Bellmont. Kitchen Aid Appliances: Builders Source Appliance Gallery.

Cargill’s original plan for the home incorporated three wings: a living area, the master suite, and a utility wing for the his-and-her office spaces and laundry/ mud room. “I wanted each wing to have its own identity, purpose, and sense,” she says. It is perhaps this intent that drew her to hire Susan Hoffman of East Mountain Design, a designer with a degree in architecture, to bring her aspiration to fruition. Both women feel that ample light is paramount and that one’s experience of a home should change from room to room. “I really believe in the hierarchy of spaces; I do a lot of modulation of space in that way,” says Hoffman. That modulation is immediately evident upon stepping foot inside, where the entry is small and intimate, but just around the corner the view into the great room explodes into the courtyard. Taking to heart her client’s desire for warmth, Susan studied the sun’s path over the property, observing how the light would fall. To take advantage of solar gain, one wing of the home features a many-windowed sun hall, which warms the home and provides a Zen-inspired view of the scenery. Hoffman felt it important to make the house transparent to the outdoor environs and the vineyard: “It’s a house that’s really intended to be open to the landscape.” In fact, the careful placement of windows, each with a picturesque view, so perfectly leverages the sun’s rays, the homeowners have only needed to use the in-floor radiant heat for warmth—the bonus being that leaving

Lavender-hued columns and beams deftly separate the living area (opposite) from the dining area (right) for an effect that’s open yet defined. A buffet is tucked discreetly between the columns. Ceiling fan, pendant lighting, and track lights: Turn On Lighting. Furniture: TEMA.



the forced-air heating untouched begets a peaceful, silent home. In summer, due to Hoffman’s careful regard of the sun’s seasonal passages, the home never gets hot, despite the multitude of windows. “Susan and I designed the orientation so that it would get a lot of light in the winter and not in the summer,” says Cargill, noting that the home stays a comfortable 70 degrees almost all the time—a far cry from the chilly farmhouse of her childhood. And yet, Cargill’s home is a farmhouse—a nod to the historic Northern New Mexico farmhouse style, outfitted with traditional, pitched roofs and iconic dormer windows—but otherwise quite contemporary in its use of subtle industrial touches such as metal-wrapped wood beams and a corrugated metal accent wall. The two genres complement each other seamlessly. As Hoffman describes it, “I always like to think of architecture as a piece of music: There are loud parts 38

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Above: Homeowner Pat Cargill reads in the peaceful living room of the home she designed with Susan Hoffman of East Mountain Design and constructed with contracting firm UBuildIt. Her husband’s vineyard is the focal point through the picture window.

Susan Hoffman felt it important to make the house transparent to the outdoor environs and the vineyard: “It’s a house that’s really intended to be open to the landscape.”

and soft parts, and you have to put them together harmoniously.” In keeping with the personal feel of the project—and to satisfy that childhood dream—Pat elected to serve as her own general contractor for the construction. While perusing a local home expo, she stumbled upon UBuildIt, a national company that specializes in helping people manage the building of their own home. It was a perfect fit.

A sweet nook is the perfect place for reading, watching TV, napping, or daydreaming.

Above: In the owners’ wing of the home, clerestory windows in the serene master bedroom bring in plenty of natural light, illuminating the already sparkling white walls and soaring, pitched-roof ceilings. The courtyard is accessible through sliding doors. Jeld-Wen windows from ProBuild.


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By maintaining a stable of tried-and-trusted subcontractors and providing the necessary tools, UBuildIt eliminates the need to hire a general contractor and gives clients the satisfaction of steering their own projects. This appealed immensely to Cargill, who needed to be hands-on. “I thoroughly enjoyed being the general contractor because I wanted to be in on it at every stage,” she says. When UBuildIt bids a house, they do so with reasonably priced subcontractors who have proven to work well with owner-builders (although owners can also choose their own subcontractors). This builds trust from the start and establishes standards for quality work. As Cargill points out, “If the subcontractor screws up with the client, UBuildIt won’t recommend them in the future.”

Ceiling heights vary noticeably between the wings, from the soaring pitched roof of the master bedroom (shown here) to the low-ceilinged entryway (left). Well-placed windows flood each room with natural light.

In the master bath, his-and-hers sink areas employ the same gray-toned cabinetry found in the kitchen and dining room, though the areas beneath the sinks themselves are open to give the feeling of extra space. The living areas’ lavender and greige palette continues in this room as well.



TC Building D E S I G N

RealTy inC. B U I L D

Tom Cardenas has been designing and building refined homes of distinction for over 30 years.

Tom Cardenas | 505.823.4543 office | 505.991.4486 cell 8100 WYOMING BLVD. NE #508 | ABQ, NM 87113


Cargill worked with then-owner Scott Pettinger on her home. Pettinger later sold the franchise to Brent Strebeck, who sums up the primary reason owners decide to be involved: “You become an expert on your own house.� And an expert Cargill is, clearly relish-

Despite the use of steel and concrete, the covered patio is warm and inviting, a lovely place to enjoy the vineyard view and the surrounding rural landscape.

ing every detail of her [warm!] masterpiece and happy to relive its design and construction. The zenith of her experience came the morning she woke up in her casita, looked across the vineyard at the construction site, and realized, “Wow, it’s actually going to be real!”

third time

charmed Turning to a builder they know and trust, a couple designs their award-winning “last� home

Lowe-Bo Homes,


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Ceramic roof tiles, arched windows and doors, and gabled awnings give Kirby and Camille Jefferson’s home a Mediterranean feel—on the outside. Inside, however, a completley different aesthetic awaits.

by Amy Gross


Photographs by Kirk Gittings

hree homes in two-and-a-half years may be a record for homebuilding. Not for a professional builder, necessarily, but almost certainly for the same clients. Kirby and Camille Jefferson, who are currently living in a custom residence they’re calling their “last” home in the Northeast Heights, previously built two other houses in the same area, both spec homes. In all cases, the Jeffersons worked with Ted Lowe, owner of Lowe-Bo Homes and a 30-year veteran of the homebuilding industry.

Lowe, who says he “cut his teeth on custom homes” working with his father, John E. Lowe, has built scores of residences in his career. Although well versed in traditional, Tuscan, and Southwestern design, Lowe is leaning more these days to what he calls a Southwestern modern aesthetic. The Jeffersons’ 3,600-square-foot, two-story home most closely fits that last descriptor, though there are traditional and even Mediterranean elements in the mix. A recent entry in the Spring 2015 Homes of Enchantment Parade, the house swept its award cat-



egory, earning the Premier Award, Best Kitchen, and Best Bath. With its clay roof tiles, arched windows, and 800-pound custom wood, glass, and iron door from Scottsdale Doors, the home offers an impressive entry. And that was entirely by design. “We’ve lived in a house that had no curb appeal,” Kirby notes, explaining that this is why they opted for a distinctive and pleasing exterior this time around. “We also learned from the other builds that we like a combination of pitched and flat roofs,” Camille adds. Though neatly landscaped, the home, which sits on a lot in a short alley, has no yard to speak of—the house takes up nearly every square foot of the space. Also by design. With yard work a nonissue, Kirby, a longtime leader at Intel and Camille, a retired nurse, have the freedom to get away whenever the mood strikes them. But when they’re home, they’re fully enjoying the spaces they designed with archi-

Ted Lowe, owner of LoweBo Homes, prides himself on customer satisfaction. This is the third home he has built for Kirby and Camille Jefferson.

The kitchen’s barn red walls are balanced by warm cherry cabinetry, highly patterned granite, and Camille’s treasured collection of plates from Turkey. Granite: Splendor Gold from United Stoneworks. Thermador appliances from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. 46

S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

The Jeffersons were adamant about incorporating high-quality wood floors and laminate beams into their traditional living room. Wide-slat custom blinds from Budget Blinds adorn the arched windows from Moore Window & Door. Gas fireplace: Mountain West Sales.

tect Ron Montoya for everyday living. The barn red kitchen, with its warm cherry cabinets by Albuquerque Cabinet Brokers, butcher block–topped island, and Splendor Gold granite from United Stoneworks, is the natural congregating place. “When you’re in the kitchen, everybody’s in the kitchen,” Camille notes with a grin. Cushioned bancos at the kitchen window give anyone who can’t find a seat at the bar a place to hang out near the action—without being underfoot. The kitchen’s openness has much to do with the fact that there are very few upper cabinets, a design move that Lowe, who knows his clients well, calls “pure Jefferson.” High-quality wood floors were another of the couple’s must-haves, and Benchmark Woodfloors delivered with beautiful red oak flooring that spans the public areas on the first floor. “Don’t fill the holes,” Kirby had warned the installers of the distress characteristics of the wood that make it so interesting. “We paid extra for those holes!” The couple’s largely traditional décor looks right at home on those warm floors, brightened as it is through plenty of arched windows in the living area. Dressed with white, 4-inch-slat custom blinds from Budget Blinds, the beautiful windows and their treatments nat-

The homeowners have dedicated places for the display of favorite antiques, collectibles, and family heirlooms such as this vintage typewriter and old scale.



Upstairs, the office/den captures views on three sides, and the covered deck brings the outdoors even closer. The vibe is decidedly homey and comfortable, decorated with art and mementos acquired by the homeowners such as the model airplanes (inset) collected by Kirby, a former private pilot.

Kirby was determined to have a patina copper countertop on the wet bar—so he did it himself. He and Camille had to escape the house for three days while the epoxy cured, but the result was well worth the inconvenience: a rich, iridescent finish that’s become the room’s focal point. 48

S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

urally draw the eye to the small outdoor sitting area—there’s no actual yard, remember—on the other side. All three bedrooms are on the first floor, including the master, and at the top of the stairway is the officeslash-family room, a large, open area with incredible views of the Sandias both in the room itself and from the balcony it adjoins. Kirby designed, built, and installed the iridescent patina copper countertop in the wet bar, a process that involved, he says, “putting the epoxy on and then turning the heat in the house up to 80 degrees for three days.” Large-scale model airplanes and flying memorabilia decorate the office and stairwell of the former private pilot. But it’s Kirby’s other hobby that actually led to usurping much of the available lot space for use other than as a yard. A 2,400-square-foot

The master suite employs various types and colors of wood for a traditional feel. In the master bath (above), a classic clawfoot tub is the room’s focal point, flanked between cherry cabinets by Albuquerque Cabinet Brokers.



Right now there are only three cars in Kirby’s spic’n’-span checkered flag garage—a Model A, a 2014 Corvette, and a 1959 Corvette—but the extra tall ceilings might someday accommodate a second layer of collectible cars, or an RV, for when Kirby (below) and Camille decide to get up and go.

In the Spring 2015 Homes of Enchantment Parade, the house swept its award category, earning the Premier Award, Best Kitchen, and Best Bath. heated and cooled garage with extra tall ceilings houses his collection of cars, which currently includes a Model A, a 1959 Corvette, and a 2014 Corvette. Kirby and Camille added their own touch to the garage by painting a checkered flag on one huge wall, to spectacular effect. Immaculate and decorated with racing décor, the garage naturally appeals to visitors. “I just wanted a fun place for people to hang out,” Kirby says. Do they actually drive the cars? “Oh yes,” says Camille, adding wryly, “Our granddaughter loves the Model A. It’s the only time in her life she wants to ride in the back seat.” They may soon have a lot more time to tool around in their cool automobiles. Retirement is on the horizon for Kirby, and both he and Camille are eager to travel and fully enjoy their comfortable, award-winning, and very livable last home. 50

S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

“We tried to live other places,” says Camille, left, with Kirby, on the deck of their Albuquerque Heights home. “But we always wanted to end up here.”

“This is it!” they say simultaneously—and emphatically. Lowe senses that finality as well, and admits it’s a bittersweet feeling. “I’ve really enjoyed working with Kirby and Camille,” he says sadly. “I’m a little bummed out because I feel this might be kind of the end of the road with them.” It may well be with these clients. But Lowe has a long list of happy customers who might well decide to come back for another go-round. Building more than one house for a single client? Why, that’s the very definition of “customer satisfaction.”

Though the home has virtually no yard, its excellent siting takes full advantage of the outdoors. A covered second-story deck offers spectacular views.



clever kitchens

by Donna Schillinger

Kate Russell

Designed not just for cooking, but for living


here’s a lot riding on good kitchen design. Kitchens demand flow and functionality, must comfortably accommodate gathering family and guests, and should ideally provide a significant return on investment in terms of aesthetics and resale value. Exemplifying comfort, beauty, and function, these four kitchens are triumphs of collaborative design and construction.

an easy place to be As Stewart and Blair Anderson elaborated on the design of their Santa Fe home and kitchen over a period of three years, their priorities included a minimalist, earth-friendly design where family would be welcome. “We spend a lot of time in the kitchen,” says Blair. “I wanted to create a sense of place for my children.” Working with renowned architect Alfred von Bachmayr, who utilized natural materials in his homes, the couple incorporated wood elements such as Douglas fir beams and a long farmhouse dining table, as well as long banks of windows to create a feeling of seamless transition from the outdoors. Sadly, von Bachmayr passed away just after construction began. LEED-accredited builders Palo Santo Designs, LLC, stepped in to complete the 2,800-square-foot passive solar, highperformance home, currently pending Build Green New Mexico certification. “I couldn’t imagine a bigger challenge than having the architect pass away,” 52

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Above, top: This modern farmhouse kitchen employs open shelving, soapstone counters, and a clean white palette. The pantry, though open, is tucked discreetly behind the range. Above: A pretty view from the farmhouse sink.

“We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I wanted to create a sense of place for my children.”—Blair Anderson says Mark Giorgetti, one of Palo Santo Designs’ principals. “It was an emotional blow to the owners and to us, as he was also a friend of ours.” The Andersons’ modern farmhouse kitchen is a functional gallery of von Bachmayr’s guiding principles, including features such as graywater reuse in landscaping, low-VOC and formaldehyde-free materials, energy-efficient windows and doors, LED lighting, and Energy Star appliances. Besides the kitchen’s light footprint, Anderson loves the open shelving. Not only is it incentive to keep the kitchen well organized, it’s a lovely way to showcase colorful dishes and glassware and nature’s bounty of grains and legumes. The nearly invisible, doorless pantry offers additional counter space as well as storage. A gleaming white subway tile backsplash runs behind the dark green soapstone countertops fabricated by Sherpa Stone, while a simple white farmhouse sink placed beneath a picture window suggests a contemporary country comfort. “The kitchen is open and welcoming. It smells good and feels warm. It’s a place my children can learn where food comes from and see it being made,” Blair says. “It’s very fluid—an easy place to be.” Palo Santo Designs, LLC,

A horizontal array of windows offers a panoramic view from nearly any point in the kitchen or dining area. Vintage-style chandeliers and a butcher block– covered rolling island are charming farmhouse touches, but high-end appliances like the Wolf range (above, top) ensure modern functionality. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Kate Russell

When they decided the focal point of their kitchen would be the blue La Cornue range and its equally blue exhaust hood, the owners opted for simple, cream-colored cabinets, whose delicate metallic detailing picks up the coppers and metallics in the backsplash and tile.


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Artists Tom Blackmon and Nancy Graham approached the remodel of their Santa Fe home’s second, smaller kitchen with the same creative energy Graham infuses into her watercolors and that Blackmon has employed in his 40 years as a creative art director and restorer of antiques. Their kitchen was simply destined to become an art project. Their challenge: how to convert an impossibly tiny 3-by-4 feet of prep and cooking space into the home’s main kitchen. “If you were in the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door, you were hopelessly trapped in there,” quips Blackmon. The couple decided to annex 25 inches from a wide stairwell adjacent to the kitchen and hired Prull Custom Builders to transform the architecture. Under the supervision of Robert Hollinger, Prull also installed air conditioning, ductwork, and new utility connections, all the while collaborating on Blackmon’s artistic vision. “This project had a lot of artistic detail to get right in the end,” Hollinger recalls. “The plaster work over the hood had to be reworked several times. We spent extra time getting the tile details and carved posts worked out, too.” The hard-to-miss central feature in the kitchen is the coveted Provence Blue La Cornue range, imported from France through Ferguson. The range’s charming design informed other style choices, such the raku tile from Statements in Tile/Lighting/ Kitchen/Flooring in the countertop backsplash; the Indian Parana granite countertops, sourced from Arizona Tile and installed by Counter Intelligence; and the striking (pun intended) hammered copper sink and stove backsplash, to which Blackmon applied a high-temperature finish to prevent oxidation due to air or heat. Knowing this artistic endeavor had the potential to become a masterpiece, Blackmon spent hundreds of hours on the new spaces, from designing the kitchen and the cabinetry to painting, glazing, and finishing the carved wooden posts from Mexico, and dozens more custom details. The result is a masterful meeting of art and architecture, a highly functional showpiece that wows every visitor to the home. Prull Custom Builders,

Kate Russell

Beautiful details, like the hand-painted posts flanking the copper backsplash, are evidence that two artists worked with their own hands on this singular Santa Fe kitchen.

Bryan Spurlock

from galley to gallery

Literally “raising the roof,” the homeowners elevated their kitchen ceiling to match other ceiling heights in the home. Above: The much larger kitchen now boasts a huge center island and even a separate wet bar (at far left).

an expanded view Two years after remodeling four bathrooms, Rod and Cathy Gamble finally felt ready to embark on the next phase of home improvement. “We had a tiny kitchen in sort of a large house,” says Cathy. Having already worked with Greg and Miriam Joseph of Joseph Custom Homes, the certified green and aging-in-place builders who had transformed their bathrooms, the Gambles called them in again to brainstorm a better and more functional kitchen. “We explored the question, ‘What would happen if . . . .?’” Cathy recalls. What happened was winning Best Kitchen in the Fall 2014 Albuquerque Homes of Enchantment Parade, Home Remodeling Category. Challenges included an oddly scaled and seldom-used breakfast nook and dining room, an intrusive wall, and a ceiling half the height of the 16-foot ceiling of the great room. It was apparent that nothing short of a kitchen apocalypse was imminent. “They went down to the concrete, removed the roof, and ripped out walls,” says Rod. To remedy one of the main issues—the kitchen being oriented in exactly the wrong direction—Joseph Custom Homes replaced 16 feet of wall with pocket sliding glass doors from Piñon Window & Door and constructed a 20-by-24-foot raised patio with tile from Arizona Tile to match the indoors. Now the Gambles have an incredible view of the seventh tee box of the Four Hills Golf Course. “And that,” says SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Above: The addition of a sliding window wall was a game-changer for this remodel. The homeowners now have a golf course view from their kitchen, dining room, and outdoor patio.

Bryan Spurlock

Far left and left: An artful backsplash using tile from Architectural Surfaces, Inc., complements the custom hood. A bar area was created separately from the kitchen. To give it its own identity, fun and functional features were added like the glass rack and chile-shaped copper sink.


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Miriam Joseph, ASID, “completely changed the way they live in their home.” “Indoor/outdoor living in good weather and having the outdoors clearly visible in winter is easily my favorite feature of the new kitchen,” Rod says. Cathy loves the gigantic Coliseum granite–topped kitchen island. “Ten people can gather around it!” she marvels. As for the breakfast nook, these days it gets more use as a wet bar, complete with a whimsical, S-shaped copper sink. “Home is an oasis,” says Rod. “It’s like living in a resort.” Joseph Custom Homes,

downsizing to luxury

Amadeus Leitner

When Cale and Filly Reeder decided to return to their New Mexican roots after 25 years in northern California, they downsized considerably in square footage—and yet gained space where they use it the most: the kitchen. The family spent most of their time in their former home cramped together in a kitchen nook, Cale recalls. So from the moment he walked into the open floor plan of The Legends at High Desert in Albuquerque, Cale knew: “Yep, this is it!” “The design of the home lends itself to entertaining, and the kitchen is the most important part,” says Scott Ashcraft of Las Ventanas Homes, which is currently building at The Legends. “The open transition between kitchen, dining room, and living room creates a gathering space with a really great feel.” “In our last house there were rooms we never used,” Cale recalls. “The thing I love about this home is that the kitchen, dining room, and living room are all in one. I can be cooking while my daughter is in the dining room on her laptop and my wife is on the couch watching a show. I’m with them, spending time together.” The center island, with its white Radianz quartz countertop, has a 36-inch-deep elevated breakfast bar that creates a natural gathering spot. An intriguing tile backsplash, smoke gray cabinetry by Albuquerque Cabinet Brokers, wood-look porcelain floor tile from Floorscapes, and high-end Bosch appliances enhance the contemporary design that’s bathed in light from windows and skylights—another of the Reeders’ favorite features of the kitchen. “Our designer asked what I wanted to do with all these windows,” Cale recalls. After years of living with shades drawn in northern California, he quickly assessed the privacy of The Legends layout and replied with certainty, “Absolutely nothing. I want all this natural light coming in.” All things considered, this was one smart move. Las Ventanas Homes,

Tall ceilings, contemporary lighting, and skylights brighten this clean-lined kitchen at The Legends. A kicky, colorful backsplash behind the stove (above) pops against the gray tile and cabinetry and white Radianz quartz countertops.



Vida Buena

by Jessica Muncrief




André and Keith West-Harrison of Albuquerque’s Urban Fresh Cosmetics, with Priscilla, Pig of the Desert.

“The myth that natural products aren’t as effective simply isn’t true. You can find that fit.” —Jacqueline Asher Urban Fresh Cosmetics


ow can you tell if that cosmetic you’re thinking about putting on your face is natural? “When you’re shopping for beauty products, read the label,” advises André West-Harrison, cofounder of Urban Fresh Cosmetics ( “If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, put it down and move on.” West-Harrison and his partner Keith run an urban farm in Albuquerque where they develop their line of

Kind Organic Beauty

Kind Organic Beauty on Candelaria is a chemical-free salon.


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Jasmine and Green Tea Bath Bomb from Urban Fresh Cosmetics

organic and natural skin, hair, and bath products. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and West-Harrison says it’s because going natural is, well, just natural. “My grandmother was part Native American, and she used tomatoes, aloe, and herbs to make salves and creams that soften the heels or soothe the skin,” he remembers. “To liken it to a fashion term, we say natural beauty isn’t the new black—it’s the original black. It’s what people used to use, and with consumerism and cost and time, it somehow got away from us.” From food to beauty products and cosmetics, the words “natural” and “organic” are popping up on shelves in every aisle. Clearly consumers are craving a more wholesome lifestyle. But what does it all mean, and why does it matter? Jacqueline Asher, president of the hair care line Tijeras Naturals ( based in Albuquerque, recognized four decades ago that it mattered. “When we started in the late ’70s and early ’80s there wasn’t a vast selection of natural products to choose from,” she recalls. “Today, we’re finding more and more people are allergic or just sensitive to different ingredients. Sulfates, which create the lather in shampoos, and parabens are causing health problems. Chemical fragrances are another big concern.”

Urban Fresh Cosmetics

Choosing beauty products with organic and natural ingredients is a return to basics

Kind Organic Beauty only uses products from companies dedicated to minimizing the impact on the environment.

Kind Organic Beauty

Diana & Terri... making great things happen!

Simply put, a natural product’s ingredients come from plants, animals, or minerals—things found in nature. To earn an organic label, a product must have USDA certification verifying that the ingredients were cultivated without the use of chemical fertilizers, hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics. Natural and organic qualities are not only desirable for health reasons, but industry insiders attest the beauty results are pretty impressive as well. “Our line is color-safe, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and phthalate-free, yet they are high-performing products,” notes Asher. “They can be, and are, used in high-end salons, plus they are accepted in the natural health industry. So the myth that natural products aren’t as effective simply isn’t true. You can find that fit.” Michelle Garcia Dunn, owner of Kind Organic Beauty (, one of the only chemicalfree salons in Albuquerque, agrees. She says going natural is a lifestyle choice with far-reaching effects. “The salon itself has no chemical smell, which is huge,” she explains. “I have many customers who don’t color their hair, but come here because they don’t want to breathe in something that is potentially harmful while getting a haircut.” Dunn notes that besides not exposing the skin and body to chemicals, her team has found chemical-free color maintains the integrity of the hair better than ammoniated color. “Once people realize that these products are better for themselves, better for the environment, and, now, pretty readily available, it’s an easy choice.”

New Mexico Bank & Trust is a full-service bank with knowledgeable staff offering the finest in construction financing.

Diana Lucero, CGA, CGP, CAPS VP, Construction Lending NMLS#539895 505.830.8103 | Member


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Natural shampoos by Davines and other beauty products (here and below, right) at Kind Organic Beauty.

Itching to start a yard or home improvement project? Do you live within 30 miles of the Greater Albuquerque area? If your answers are “yes”—you could win some cash*! • Use a Kirtland FCU Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit • Take before and after pictures of your project

• Write a 500-word (max) description of what you did and why

Urban Fresh Cosmetics

Don’t wait — RENOVATE! Earn a $500 or $1000 Reward

Our membership is more inclusive than you think. Visit, call 505-354-4369 or stop by our branch locations to learn how you can become a member. *Visit to view the complete set of rules and judging criteria. Each winner’s tax liability, if any, is the sole responsibility of that winner. Late submissions will not be considered. Finalists who refuse supervised access to their improvement project for the purpose of assessment will be eliminated from the competition. Kirtland FCU employees and their family members are not eligible.

Argon Oil Shampoo Bar from Urban Fresh Cosmetics

Kind Organic Beauty Kind Organic Beauty

Design Studio

by Cristina Olds

Hardware Renaissance

Anagha Dandekar, president

Courtesy of Hardware Renaissance

Three local businesses create specialized home products and décor


tarting and growing a successful home décor business in New Mexico can be a challenge, especially considering the wealth of creative talent in the area. When local artisans invest their expertise in the Land of Enchantment, their specialized skills and products lend value to the home industry and the state’s economy. Su Casa recently spoke with three local companies designing handcrafted, customized, and functional products that fill a special niche for builders, designers, and homeowners.


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Lise Watkins

Danny Hart creates his light sculptures from 500-foot rolls of wood veneer. This alder and pine wood fixture is part of the Bridge collection.

Courtesy of Hardware Renaissance

invested in New Mexico

Born into one of India’s leading business families, Anagha Dandekar learned about running a successful company directly from her parents as she was growing up. Dandekar came to the U.S. in 1989 to pursue an MBA, and soon started an online retail business selling Indian art. After moving to New Mexico to marry her husband, Dandekar recognized the potential for creative pursuits here. “The landscape, history, and art in Santa Fe released a creativity [in me] which was bubbling just under the surface,” Dandekar says. In 2001, she launched Hardware Renaissance ( with the late David Coe, a local woodworker who saw a need for hand-forged

Sculptural door handles from Hardware Renaissance’s Art Nouveau collection require the expertise of specialized artisans. Above, left: Iron strike-bar latches are based on historic styles that have been updated to fit contemporary homes.

iron hardware to complement his antique-reproduction doors. Through her family connections in India, Dandekar sourced highly skilled metalworkers, engineers, and foundry technicians who manually fashion each piece of the company’s hardware from steel or bronze. “I wanted to create beautiful products and build a brand that stands for quality, just like the artists’ paints that my father developed in India decades ago,” Dandekar says. The contemporary and classic hardware is sold locally at Allbright & Lockwood and Santa Fe By Design and has been used commercially and privately around the world, including right here in Santa Fe by La Puerta Originals. Hardware Renaissance produces all its entry sets, pulls, accessories, and other parts completely by hand using traditional blacksmithing techniques and custom patinas. With a focus on recycled materials and a commitment to environmental practices in their India and Santa Fe manufacturing facilities, the company produces what Dandekar calls “art posing as hardware.”



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Danny Hart

This lamp, part of Danny Hart Design’s Hive collection, is constructed from birch veneer.

Fiberspan Concrete Elements

Phil Bigelow and Kellie Shelton, co-owners

Phil Bigelow is a lifelong entrepreneur who’s run a variety of businesses, from pool plastering to designing garden ornaments. While building his own Pueblo-style home in Arizona, he started experimenting with molding custom vigas and developed a unique technique he later turned into a niche business in 2004. Co-owned with Kellie Shelton, Fiberspan Concrete Elements ( designs and hand-casts long-lasting vigas, canales, and lintels that look like real wood but lack the many problems that plague traditional wood building materials. In 2014, Fiberspan relocated to Santa Fe, where the couple recognized a need for a sustainable solution to the issues particular to Southwestern-style homes. “Traditional wood canales begin to deteriorate as soon as they are installed,” Shelton says. “To last more than a few years, they must be painted and caulked regularly, and many homeowners replace them only after there’s extensive and costly damage to the walls, roof, and ceilings.” Bigelow designs custom molds with authentic-looking wood grain into which he pours CSA cement, a mixture he calls a “greener choice” because it uses less energy to produce than Portland cement, and it’s so durable Fiberspan guarantees it for 25 years. Layered fiberglass mesh and wood-colored pigments in the cement reinforces the strength and authentic appearance of the product. In just a short time, Fiberspan has been well received by local Santa Fe builders including Erin Williams Homes, Woods Design Builders, Prull Custom Builders, and Tierra Concepts for newly built and remodeled homes alike.

Danny Hart Design While studying architecture at UNM, Danny Hart ( designed his first light fixture for a class assignment. “The project was to make a wall sconce out of wood,” the 2007 graduate says. “I built a curved linear piece that people really liked, and I caught the bug for light and sculpture.” Hart works as a carpenter for Albuquerque’s Mateo Builders and designs his proprietary wood light sculptures from a home studio. He creates nine different designs by layering edge banding, or wood veneer, over rigid frames built from scrap wood. “I attach one layer of edge banding at a time and rivet it to the predrilled frame,” Hart explains, “so every layer ends up being a little different, and no two lights are the same.” Hart’s minimalist lights—a blend of craftsman and contemporary styles—have been welcomed as a means of updating interiors remodeled by Mateo Builders. Hart customizes the light sculptures to complement clients’ existing décor and space and even installs the finished fixtures himself. After his house was burglarized last year, Hart started making wood necklaces and earrings to restock his wife’s collection of stolen jewelry. He sells his geometric jewelry on Etsy and at IMEC, a gallery in Nob Hill that also carries a few of his light sculptures (look for them prominently displayed in the front window). “I’ve spent a lot of time in the past building inventory for craft fairs,” Hart says. “This year my focus is on getting my lights and jewelry into more shops and boutiques.” 64

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Cracked vigas will sometimes channel water into walls and cause wood rot and mold, says Kellie Shelton of Fiberspan Concrete Elements. “Our weatherproof canales can even be adapted to downspout rain capture.”

Phil Bigelow

Danny Hart, owner

©2014 California Closet Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Franchises independently owned and operated. Lic# 61344

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50th ANNUAL LA LUZ TRAIL RUN August 2, 7 AM Tramway and FR 333, ABQ $45–$50 Run nine miles uphill with 400 new friends along the iconic Sandia Mountains La Luz trail. You’ll gain 4,000 feet of elevation as you pass through several ecological zones before finishing at the Sandia Crest.

what’s happening?

July through September

SANTA FE BANDSTAND July 7–August 28, various times Santa Fe Plaza, Santa Fe Free Santa Fe’s favorite weekly concert series, with free live performances most Wednesday evenings. The 2015 lineup includes local favorites like Nacha Mendez and Matthew Andrae and nationally known artists Juice Newton and Peter Rowan. Come on out and dance the night away on the Plaza.

ZOO MUSIC CONCERT SERIES July 10, 17, 24, 31, 7:30 PM ABQ BioPark $3–$10 Bring a picnic and watch live music from the grassy lawn at the Zoo every Friday in July. Folk, jazz, and bluegrass acts on the schedule include Humming House, Peter White, Chatham County Line, and Brian Culbertson.

2015 USA ROLLER SPORTS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS July 11–August 1, various times Albuquerque Convention Center Free World-class athletes of all ages compete in this three-week national event. Inline speed skating, rink hockey, and figure skating are some of the fast-paced roller sports on the docket. 37th ANNUAL ANTIQUE INDIAN ART SHOW August 16, 6–9 PM August 17–18, 10 AM–5 PM Santa Fe Community Convention Center $10–$17; $75 opening party The largest and oldest antique Indian art show comes to Santa Fe, featuring museum-quality art and artifacts such as masks from the Northwest coast, pottery and jewelry from the Southwest, beadwork from the Plains and more, all for sale directly from dealers. ROUTE 66 SUMMERFEST July 18, 2–10:30 PM Central Avenue, ABQ Free The main artery of Nob Hill closes to traffic for a mile along Old Route 66/Central Avenue where 25 music acts perform, including national headliner Roomful of Blues. Mingle with the community and check out vendors, food trucks, kid-friendly fun, and more.

EDGEWOOD ARTS AND MUSIC FESTIVAL July 24–26, various times Wildlife West Nature Park 87 N Frontage, Edgewood $15–$35 Performers of bluegrass, swing, Irish, and other acoustic genres play on indoor and outdoor stages during this annual festival, headlined by hot national acts the Quebe Sisters and James Reams & The Barnstormers. Free camping in the park.

Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau

FREEDOM 4th July 4, 3–10 PM Balloon Fiesta Park, ABQ Free Enjoy the state’s largest fireworks show while celebrating Independence Day. There will also be activities for kids, food and microbrews, a car show, and national country music duo Thompson Square headlining the live entertainment.

SANTA FE INDIAN MARKET August 22–23 Santa Fe Plaza and downtown Santa Fe Free; some ticketed events The annual Indian Market, held downtown and around the Plaza, is the largest intertribal fine art market in the world. With over 1,000 of the top Native artists participating, it’s an ideal opportunity to peruse and collect top-quality art in every medium. Also enjoy cultural events, live performances, dancing, and film screenings throughout the two-day event. continued on page 76


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considered to be in a state of extreme drought, particularly in mountainous areas. Unfortunately, it adds up to potential disaster for homes, businesses, ranches and farms as the weather warms and dry conditions set in.


With all the spring rains the prairie grasses and weeds grow and as the summer temperatures rise it doesn’t take long to dry out any moisture which has been gained in the winter and spring months, turning forests, open grass prairies, and Bosque areas into tinder boxes. With such conditions, disaster is only a lightning strike or care less person away. In remote locations, where there are no fire

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – May 26, 2015 - According to the New Mexico Drought Monitor’s February 24, 2015 report, more than a quarter of New Mexico is


hydrants or other water sources and where response times are longer than in urban locations, fire often rages out of control before fire fighters can arrive, consuming everything in its path. In response to the danger, a local company, Perry Supply, has developed a simple yet effective solution. Locally owned and operated since 1958, Perry Supply has served the state as a leading plumbing and HVAC wholesaler. Management and employees know and understand the dangers and problems related to fighting fires in the state. Leveraging their knowledge and expertise, the Perry team developed a new system, the Firelyzer Fire Suppression System, designed to give property owners an effective and affordable means of fire protection.

The system consists of a water storage tank, gas or electric powered water pump, and fire hose. Home owners can choose the amount of water storage, ranging from 550 gallons to 3000 gallons. Tanks can be placed above or below ground, with manual or auto-fill options. Water can be stored indefinitely and will be ready for immediate use. With lengthy hoses and up to 100 feet of directional spray, the Firelyzer Fire Suppression System gives property owners peace of mind with an immediate and effective means of suppressing fire and protecting property. The system also provides a backup water supply for fire fighters.

For additional information, contact Perry Supply at 505-884-6972.

Su Cocina

still life

the robust laugh of a man who enjoys his craft—and his liquor to boot. Langwell greets us in the tiny bar that fronts the space and also serves as retail shop for Left Turn’s products. He immediately pours us short samples of his gin and vodka and then shakes up two tasty drinks: an authentic Tom Collins and an interesting twist on a Manhattan called a Martinez, both made with his Old Tom Gin. “I got a chemistry set for Christmas when I was 15 and spent the whole day experimenting with it,” Langwell recalls. “I built a tiny still and brewed up a half test tube of vodka on my first try. As a kid I read the series of Foxfire books, which was sort of a hillbilly encyclopedia and included a section on moonshine and how to make your own booze. I was fascinated at an early age.” A few “starter” careers, a couple of wives, and four kids later, Langwell finally found the time to pursue his early interest. In late 2013 he transformed the workshop of his former machine shop into a distillery, and he was off and brewing. “I’m the first licensed distiller in Albuquerque and consider myself to be self-taught,” he says. “My Old Tom Gin was the first product I produced, followed by La Luz Vodka. I also have a piñon rum I’ve just released (Rojo Piñon Rum), as well as a blue corn whiskey that will be out this spring.” The educator comes out as we delve more into our spirits. “Do you notice the difference in the flavor of the gin? It is a ‘wet’ gin rather than a dry gin and was popular in England before the prohibition there. We actually add a bit of sugar and 12 botanicals to the recipe to give it its unique taste.” A tour of the production room reveals what looks like a tidy laboratory for a mad scientist, complete with a towering copper still resembling something out of a Jules Verne adventure. “My friends call it the Willie Wonka Whiskey Machine,” Langwell admits. “I’m proud to say I built the still myself by hand. I had to hand-hammer the dome from the inside—it took 180 hours—and weld all of the sections together.” Indeed, it is a gleaming work of art. Langwell points out the huge fermenter tanks and giant mixing reservoir that resembles a Hobart on steroids. The recipe

Left Turn Distilling brings a new spirit to the Duke City

The “Willy Wonka Whiskey Machine,” otherwise known as Left Turn Distilling’s hand-hammered copper still.

by John Vollertsen

Photographs by Sergio Salvador


he term “whiskey still” conjures images of old tin vats up on stilts, bubbling over wood fires, hidden away from the Feds up in the hills. These days, however, modern distilling devices are gorgeous things made from hand-hammered copper and shiny stainless steel. And at Left Turn Distilling in Albuquerque, the elixirs that spring forth from these sparkling contraptions are things of beauty themselves. Left Turn (which got its name from a classic Bug Bunny observation) is on an unassuming stretch of Girard Boulevard, just off Candelaria, in a warehouse district clearly in transition. The modest entry door does not prepare you for the wonderful world of intoxicants that exists behind it. Joined by friends and fellow spirit enthusiasts Erik and Linda, I’m excited to learn about a facet of the beverage world I know nothing about. Erik is a part-time volunteer and apprentice to Brian Langwell, Left Turn’s owner and distiller extraordinaire, and our host and educator for the day. The affable and instantly likeable Langwell certainly looks the part with his bushy beard and 70

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Left Turn Distilling Turn owner and ownerLeft Brian Langwell distiller Brian Langwell

Above: Seated at the small bar that fronts the distillery, a patron samples the newly released Rojo Piñon Rum. Piñon gives the product its distinctive nutty flavor.

for one batch of the rum starts with 250 gallons of water, 350 pounds of molasses, and 250 pounds of brown sugar. The addition of 27.5 pounds of piñon will give the rum its distinct nutty notes. The trick, of course, is coaxing a pure clear liquid out of a vapor created when added yeast eats up the sugars that make up the starting mash. Vodka and gin production is a 14-hour distillation process with about 20 percent of the starting liquid discarded. The rum will be fermented for 10 days; the blue corn whiskey will require only three. A second, smaller still sides the big one and is used for the vodka. In one corner is a freezer chockfull of herbs, spices, and other goodies that are blended for the dry infusion step, while in the middle of the room sits 2,500 pounds of roasted New Mexico blue corn headed for the whiskey hopper. Langwell knows his business and talks enthusiastically about his calling. No longer married, he laughingly confesses, “My work ethic gets in the way of having a personal life. I’m here all the time.” Nevertheless, his current venture ensures he has no shortage of friends. A simple bottling machine helps Langwell and his small staff get the juice in the bottle; the labels are applied by hand. “When we get ready to bottle I invite volunteers to help. We bring in some pizzas, but everyone’s reward is a bottle of product. We will produce over 1,000 gallons of spirit this year,” he adds proudly. Although Langwell grew up in the mountains above Albuquerque and had a granddaddy who was a preacher, he has (happily for us) left his temperate youth behind to produce some very tasty local hooch. And I’ll drink to that! Left Turn Distilling, 2924 Girard NE in Albuquerque, Tasting room open Tuesday through Saturday from 3–9 PM.

Proudly made in New Mexico, Left Turn Distilling’s Old Tom Gin is a “wet” gin that contains some sugar and a combination of 12 botanicals.

Langwell enjoys educating guests about the making of his products.

These two chilled cocktails are guaranteed to keep the summer heat at bay—and the party rolling.

Tom Collins 3/4 oz simple syrup 3/4 oz lemon juice 1-1/2 oz Old Tom Gin Club soda Fill a 12-oz Collins glass with ice. Pour in the simple syrup, lemon juice, and Old Tom Gin. Top with club soda. Stir and add a lemon twist.


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Martinez 1-1/2 oz Old Tom Gin 3/4 oz sweet vermouth 1/4 oz Curaçao (orange liqueur) Dash of bitters Mix all ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice. Strain into a sherry glass and garnish with a lemon twist.




by James Selby

so nice on ice Chilled summer whites offer delicious reprieve from the heat


verall, Americans prefer red wines to white, but when summer’s heat is at its closest, most inescapable pique, a cold, classic white wine—bracing, aromatic, and complex—can provide a world of relief. Historically, Arneis, a white grape indigenous to Italy’s Piedmont region, was planted to blend into the

renowned reds of Barolo and Barbaresco. It was even nicknamed “white Barolo.” But in the 1970s savvy producers realized how rich and textured Arneis could be when bottled on its own. The best district for

growing the grape is the Roero, where two brothers run the breathtakingly beautiful Malvirà winery. Their single vineyard versions are elegantly intense. Susan’s Fine Wine and Spirits in Santa Fe carries the

Malvirà Roero Arneis Vigna Trinità—focused and gorgeous, it has a flinty energy to its flavors of juicy peach, citrus, and jasmine. Austria’s brilliant white wine from Grüner Veltliner grapes have become increasingly sought after. Schloss (“castle”) Gobelsburg, founded in 1171, pays homage to the property’s organic customs, allowing the nature of the grape to shine. Dry as bone, Gobelsburg’s Kamptal Reserve Grüner Veltliner “Tradition” reveals essences of silky melon and spicy watercress within a peaty minerality that’s like cold water over stones, while weaving a sensual, plush mouth-feel to a driving finish.

In general, the world’s finest Chardonnays come from Burgundy, in France. Chablis, among the most distinctive, delivers value for first-class quality. Redolent of the fossilized seashells that inform its soils, and with piercing acidity, Chablis makes exhilarating hot-weather wine, ideal with oysters, shrimp, avocado, even fried foods. Winemaker Patrick Piuze is an emerging star, handcrafting terroir-driven wine at all price levels. His celebrated Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos” is paradoxically vibrant and tangy, yet lushly dense, suggesting undertones of chalk, pear, and orange liqueur. Jubilation Wine & Spirits in Albuquerque carries both the Patrick

Piuze Chablis and the Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliners; ask general manager Tasha Zonski-Armijo to point them out when you visit. The less traveled road, the poem says, makes all the difference. So when the road leads to white wines this summer, put some on ice to chill. After all, the poet was Frost. James Selby has directed wine programs in New York, New York; Portland, Oregon; and Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives and works as a wine consultant and writer. 74

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Courtesy of Malvirà; Courtesy of Michael Skurnik Wines

terroir (noun, French)—A group of regional vineyards or vines that share similar appellations, soil types, weather conditions, grapes, and winemaking techniques.

Editor’s Pick

Beeline Barware


Señor Shaker Yeah, yeah, I know. I should work out, or meditate, or do yoga. But I’m of the opinion that a really bad day is best fixed with the application of a tangy, ice-cold margarita—especially in the summer. When the pressures of life and job leap into the red zone, my husband and I find ways to laugh about them any way we can, and lately, Señor Shaker has been a great antidote for stress. Made of mirror-finished stainless steel, our sombrero-wearing, mustachioed amigo helps us shake up some 22 ounces of margaritas, vodka martinis, and other chilled cocktails of an evening. We’re waiting for a few other signature shakers from Beeline Barware to come out soon, like the Shiver Me Shaker, a crusty pirate. Likewise, fans of Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Doctor Who will soon be able to gleefully geek out over their cocktails with colorful, collectible steins and mugs. (I’ll be right there with you.) ¡Salud! —Amy Gross $29.99, Beeline Barware,

The charming Señor Shaker lets you prepare up to 22 ounces of your favorite chilled cocktail.



continued from page 66

the sky

VIVA NEW MEXICO CHILE FESTIVAL August 28–30, various times Wagner’s Farmland Experience 1420 Desert Willow, Los Lunas $5–$10 Celebrating the state vegetable and its agricultural traditions, this party features family fun, live music, contests, pony rides, and much more.

77th ANNUAL NEW MEXICO STATE FAIR September 10–20, various times EXPO New Mexico $7–$10, kids 5 and under free Rodeo events, live country music acts, Indian and Spanish village arts and culture events, animals, carnival rides, and of course that famous Fair food.

on their backs


ne of the most beloved and often-seen birds of New Mexico is the bluebird. The bluebird’s striking blue coloring catches our attention, brilliantly reflecting the turquoise sky so representative of our state. All three species of bluebirds found in North America occur in New Mexico. The western bluebird, which resembles a small robin, has an azure blue back and a rusty red breast. Its cousin, the mountain bluebird, has a sky blue body on top and a paler, lighter blue and white underbelly. The eastern bluebird found throughout much of the United States is very similar to the western bluebird, but in New Mexico is confined to the far eastern reaches of the state. The females of all three species are much paler in their coloration and brownish grey.

Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau

11th ANNUAL OLD TOWN SALSA FIESTA September 13, 12–7 PM Historic Old Town Rio Grande NW and Central NW Free–$5 Salsa bands, dancers, and crafts for kids. Taste and then vote on your favorite homemade salsas.

¡GLOBALQUERQUE! 10th ANNUAL WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL September 25–26, 4 PM National Hispanic Cultural Center 1701 4th SW Free–$35 Workshops on music, folklore, and crafts for the entire family, plus three stages where international and regional stars perform.


S U C A S A S u m m e r 2015

Dan Williams, NM Dept. of Game & Fish

Tucked into a wooden nesting box, up to a half dozen pale blue eggs are carefully watched over by bluebird parents.

just winging through by Tom Smylie

Bluebirds add brilliant color to the New Mexico landscape

Bluebirds are about seven inches long and are easily observed flying or resting on treetops and sitting on telephone and fence wires. The western is mostly seen in the transition zone of oak and piñon/juniper woodlands and into ponderosa pine conifer forest. In contrast, the mountain bluebird can be found in all types of forest and woodlands, but prefers the higher elevation of the open mountain habitat of meadows. Being high and long-ranging flyers, bluebirds can be seen in fall and winter wandering in lower elevations and in the open country of the plains in search of their primary foods: insects, wild fruits, and berries. Although they rarely come to bird feeders (due to their diet preference of natural food), bluebirds will readily use manmade nesting boxes. They’ll use old woodpecker holes and other cavities, where they’ll raise two broods of four to six siblings in May and June. It’s no wonder these birds often appear in Disney movies. Easily identifiable, brilliantly colored, and gentlemannered, bluebirds are a delight to all. Often when I see one, I think of the quote from the nature writer, Henry David Thoreau: “The bluebird carries the sky on its back.” Tom Smylie, from Edgewood, New Mexico, is a retired wildlife biologist affiliated with the World Center for Birds of Prey.

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San Diego

Vida Buena

by Jackie Dishner

The sun, sand, and surf high desert dwellers love to get away to



San Diego’s area beaches, like the one at Torrey Pines State Reserve in La Jolla, draw thousands of visitors daily, including plenty of surfers (below) eager to check out the waves.

ranted, Central and Northern New Mexico have some of the most beautiful summer weather in the country. But sometimes folks in the Southwest just need to see the surf. Easily driven in a day or via a quick flight from Albuquerque International Sunport (Southwest offers several daily nonstops), San Diego’s damp ocean breezes are a welcome alternative to the dry air of the high desert. New Mexico residents with an aching thirst for fun, fresh scenery and beautiful beaches hang out along this part of Southern California’s more than 70 miles of coastline during the summer. High desert denizens thrill to the sounds of the surf—San Diego’s is the closest to Albuquerque—and revel in summer temperatures that top out at about 80 degrees. Though it’s hard to avoid the touristy fun (San Diego Zoo, LEGOLand, the Gaslamp Quarter), San Diego’s biggest treat is the ocean. Pacific Beach, for sure. Its almost fourmile boardwalk, from North Pacific Beach to South Mission Beach, attracts families, couples, and singles on foot and on wheels. Clad in flip-flops or rollerblades, crowds meander along the concrete path bordered by palm trees and patches of ice plants. Every morning, surfers in black neoprene weave in and out of the crowds, sometimes on bikes with surfboards in tow, hurrying to catch early waves. Sun-bronzed locals in dark sunglasses hoist blankets, coolers, and umbrellas from the trunks of their cars, scrambling to claim a patch of real estate on the warm seaweed-coated sand. Couples cuddle on blankets amid volleyball games and Frisbees. The lines start forming early at restaurants like World Famous (great for brunch), Kono’s Cafe (try their breakfast burritos, served all day) and the Iron Pig Alehouse, where barbecue is king. From one end to the other, wrapping its way around the Pacific Ocean and over to Mission Bay, where the Catamaran Resort sits, attractions line the boardwalk: a cliffside park, the tidy row of blue and white rental cottages (since 1929) on Crystal Pier, and the wooden roller coaster at historic Belmont Park. On the side streets in between, people sign up for surf lessons, rent bikes, and check out the tightly packed cottages, envisioning their next vacation in the area. Visitors might rent a beach cruiser and cruise the boardwalk, grab a cup of

The beach at Coronado Island. Above: Seaport Village.

From top: Courtesy Paradise Point; Seaport Village; Brett Shoaf, Artistic Visuals; Del Mar Village Association

Ultra-fresh seafood, like this poached halibut dish from Tidal on Paradise Point, is a welcome culinary treat for normally landlocked visitors.

fair trade coffee at The Swell Cafe, or sample craft brews at Amplified Ales or Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Off Mission Bay, noted for its bird watching opportunities, is Paradise Point, the 44-acre, tropical island resort founded by Hollywood producer Jack Skirball in the early ’60s. Movie set artifacts, such as the porpoise fountain from Cleopatra (1963) are scattered around the island. It’s now a resort and spa property operated by Destination Hotels, where guests can rent boats or bikes at the marina, hail a water taxi to SeaWorld, and enjoy custom spa treatments made from any combination of the 600 exotic plants grown on the island.

Desert denizens thrill to the sounds of the surf and revel in summer temperatures that top out at about 80 degrees. For those who need to moor a boat, the San Diego Harbor is a popular destination. From towering hotel windows, guests are greeted to the picturesque view of the Coronado Bay Bridge in the distance. Down below, the wharf along Harbor Drive carries visitors past a sea of sailboats, then steps up to the San Diego Convention Center, the Maritime Museum’s Star of India (the oldest, active sailing ship in the world), the boutiques, gift shops, and restaurants at Seaport Village, the USS Midway (public tours inside), and over to the Embarcadero Marina Park where the fishermen hang out. Consider a day trip to any number of San Diego County’s beach cities: Carlsbad to walk through the flower fields; Coronado Island for a tour of the historic Hotel del Coronado; Del Mar to watch thoroughbred horse races; La Jolla to get a glimpse of amazing residential architecture and witness surfing at secluded Marine Street Beach; or Torrey Pines to play a game of championship golf. You might take the Coaster commuter train all the way to Oceanside to visit the California Surf Museum or watch a surfing competition. By weekend’s end, guaranteed: Your thirst for adventure (and cooler weather) will be well quenched.

Visitors to Southern California flock to Del Mar just north of San Diego for miles of pristine beaches and horse racing at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Vida Buena

by Donna Schillinger

grassroots entertainment Summer lawn games offer multigenerational fun


While croquet (above) is best played on grass, bocce (shown here) can be played on grass, dirt, or even gravel.

scar Wilde called simple pleasures “the last refuge of the complex,” which may explain the enduring popularity of croquet. Stirring nostalgic images of seersucker suits, bowler hats, and parasols, iconic outdoor games of yesteryear such as croquet, bocce ball, and horseshoes, are a great way to bond with family and friends while enjoying the long summer evenings outdoors. “Everybody loves croquet,” says Gloria Moss of Moss Outdoor in Santa Fe. “It’s a quiet, simple activity you can play whether you’re six years old or 90.” In 1852, Irish “crooky” arrived in England and quickly gained popularity as the first outdoor sport in which the sexes competed on equal footing. Launching the game into mass popularity by manufacturing complete croquet sets, London’s John Jaques and Son (now called Jaques of London) still remains the foremost manufacturer of croquet equipment. Individual players or teams advance colored wooden balls through a course of nine wickets and two stakes by hitting them with a mallet, while strategically preventing others from advancing. Make up the rules as you go along, or play precisely according to United States Croquet Association rules, found at Croquet America ( Hailing from the Roman Empire, the perpetually popular bocce can be played on any grass or natural soil surface by two individuals or teams. The jack or pallino (the smallest ball) is first thrown the length of the 90-foot court and becomes the target. Players then take turns underarm tossing four larger bocce balls per team. Score a point for each ball that’s closer to the jack than the closest ball of the opponent. For a techno twist to this old world game, play at dusk with lighted bocce balls, available at Yard Games ( Horseshoes is a uniquely American pastime along the same lines. continued on page 83

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Santa Fe’s Best Open House AUGUST 14-16 & 21-23, 2015 11AM - 6 PM. Tickets are only $15. Don’t miss the Free Twilight Tour on Friday, August 21st from 4 PM to 9 PM for select homes. For ticket information visit SANTA FE AREA HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION 1409 Luisa Street, Santa Fe • 505.982.1774

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Each player gets two horseshoes, and the object is to throw the horseshoes closest to a metal stake at a distance of 48 feet. A horseshoe that completely circles the stake is called a ringer. Famous outdoorsman Leon Leonwood Bean always kept a set of horseshoes at his hunting and fishing camps, and forged steel horseshoes with solid steel stakes have been an L.L. Bean staple since 1927 (

“Everybody loves croquet. It’s a quiet, simple activity you can play whether you’re six years old or 90.”—Gloria Moss Here’s a project that will keep the kids busy: Lay square pavers or stepping stones in a pattern leaving the grass or pea gravel as the alternating color to create a lifesized, lawn chessboard or checkerboard. MegaChess ( offers board design guidelines as well as teak chess sets with kings ranging in height from eight to 36 inches. Whether it’s a weekend of sharing traditions with the grandkids or a head-tohead husband and wife match, this summer, step outside and let the games begin!

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Su Libro

by Cristina Olds

his own best authority Three masters of architecture and their influence on Southwestern design


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The Architecture of Bart Prince: A Pragmatics of Place, by Christopher Curtis Mead, photography by Michele M. Penhall, W. W. Norton & Company, paperback, $40. Revised and updated 2010.


f you’ve ever seen an example of Bart Prince’s architecture in person— which isn’t hard to do in New Mexico as there are residences located in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Jemez Springs, and Galisteo—you probably slowed your car and pointed it out to your companions. They are one-of-a-kind. Updated in 2010, The Architecture of Bart Prince: A Pragmatics of Place includes five additional houses that illustrate Prince’s growth since the 1999 first edition. More than half the book’s pages are filled with detailed renderings and full-color photos of unique homes in Hawaii, Ohio, California, Idaho, and of course New Mexico, all designed by the Albuquerque native whom many consider to be one of the most creative American architects in the field today. Prince’s style deviates drastically from traditional Southwestern rectangular, flatroofed, adobe buildings. Author Christopher Curtis Mead describes his own home, which was designed by Prince in 1992–1993, as a notable contrast to Pueblo style, “freed from the regional adoboid idiom” while still sampling from popular Southwestern

The author describes his own Prince-designed home as . . . “freed from the regional adoboid idiom” while still sampling from popular Southwestern building materials. building materials such as concrete block, stucco, and sheet metal. These materials serve to protect from and blend with the elements, keeping the design appropriate to the regional environment while speaking to the larger architectural context. The author delves into the fourthgeneration New Mexican’s ancestry to demonstrate how the family history guided the architect’s sense of self. A personal friend of Prince’s immediate family, Mead interviewed his parents who shared family photos and stories. His mother recounts the young Prince’s inclinations to build architectural

models, relaying a memory of her son “dismembering her pantsuit in order to upholster the floors and walls of a model with its bouclé fabric.” As a student at Arizona State University in Tempe in 1968, Prince met architect and visiting

Michele M. Penhall

Author Christopher Curtis Mead and his wife, photographer Michele M. Penhall, live in this Prince-designed Albuquerque home that some liken to an ark, others to a cigar.

The courtyard of the Price home in California utilizes “ribbed columns of laminated wood” and “functional pods wrapped tightly in copper.”

presenter Bruce Goff, who would become his most significant mentor and, later, a collaborator. Other early influences include Frank Lloyd Wright, Lloyd Wright, and John Lautner, but “Prince stands apart from even those architects to whom he is most indebted,” says Mead. Despite his buildings’ most unusual sculptural shapes, Prince is known for designing homes that harmonize with their surroundings while functionally serving the owners’ needs. The overarching vision for his creations is “less about leaving the world behind than it is about that American preoccupation with finding an ideal middle ground between wilderness and civilization, nature and culture.” Ultimately, the author encourages anyone intrigued by Prince to see his creations for themselves, something that Prince fans living in or visiting New Mexico can easily do.

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rank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) was not only one of America’s most important architects, but also a prolific orator and author of 20 books and numerous essays. Frank Lloyd Wright: Essential Texts, a compilation of 21 of Wright’s literary works offers readers a comprehensive overview of his philosophies from 1900 to the late 1940s. The selections were carefully chosen by historian Robert Twombly, author of Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture, who acknowledges the extensive number of books already written about Wright and his long career. But, Twombly says, the previous texts were “user-unfriendly. . . . The objective here is to bring together Wright’s most important statements in chronological order so that students of architecture may trace the evolution and maturation of his design philosophy.” Wright, who didn’t finish high school, Frank Lloyd Wright: Essential Texts, landed a job at an architectural office to edited by Robert Twombly, W. W. Norton help the family finances when his parents & Company, paperback, $28 divorced in 1885. Soon he was working with mentor Louis Sullivan, eulogized by Wright in the collection as “beloved master.” With Sullivan, Wright developed his drafting skills as well as his confidence while working on the Chicago Auditorium Building and other notable projects of the day. After a disagreement with Sullivan in 1893, however, Wright was fired and immediately opened his own studio, developing his experimental Prairie-style houses—150 were built during the next eight years. The book includes Wright’s first published public lecture at the Architectural League of America meeting in 1900, in which he The New Imperial Hotel in Tokyo was one of the largest, costliest, and most controversial buildings of Wright’s career. Built to withstand earthquakes, the hotel was nevertheless demolished in 1967 after only 44 years in use.

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Wright’s theory that structures should appear to grow naturally out of the surroundings would be a topic he would ardently expound upon over his lifetime.

o ark.

Robert Twombly

lm l a m . e S c n e r fe f i d g Bi Above: Elizabeth Gale residence, Oak Park, Illinois, 1909. An example of “simple slab” roofs, the third type from In the Cause of Architecture (1908).

critiques his profession’s commercialization and encourages young architects to develop something distinctly American, like what he was doing with his Prairie homes. Wright’s 1908 definitive essay “In the Cause of Architecture” outlines the unique characteristics of his developing concept of organic architecture. This theory—that structures should appear to grow naturally out of the surroundings—would be a topic he would ardently expound upon over his lifetime. During this time, Wright “was well reviewed and received; he was much in demand as a speaker and essayist; and he established a national reputation,” says Twombly, but that reputation would soon change, to be marked by personal scandal and tragedy Wright would be unable to fully shake. In 1909, Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney left behind their spouses and numerous children to pursue their affair. The couple was socially ostracized, and Wright’s commissions suffered. Further drama occurred in 1911 when Taliesin, Wright’s Spring Green, Wisconsin, residence, was set on fire by a workman who brutally murdered Borthwick and six others. For 14 years after Borthwick’s death, Wright struggled in his relationships and his career; his writing style and his tone changed after these significant life events, and he wrote of loss of faith in his profession. Nevertheless, Wright worked until his death in 1959, with the last decade and a half being some of his most productive years. The last speech in the collection is his acceptance of the American Institute of Architects’ gold medal in 1949, wherein he reiterates the challenge to his colleagues to think independently and touts organic architecture as a guiding principle. “. . . His idiosyncratic prose suggests a form of self-centeredness,” Twombly notes. “One wonders whether he had decided that he was his own best authority.”

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“. . . Meem brought Santa Fe style to maturity,” the author says. “By calming the overly picturesque details and compositions of the style as practiced before his arrival in 1920, and instead emphasizing the sculptural massiveness of adobe, Meem imbued Santa Fe style with a dignified monumentality.”


ne of New Mexico’s most significant Santa Fe–style architects, John Gaw Meem (1894–1933), was actually born in Brazil. In the first of three parts of Facing Southwest: The Life & Houses of John Gaw Meem, we learn that Meem’s American Episcopal missionary father and GermanBrazilian mother sent the 16-year-old to school in the U.S. at the Virginia Military Institute, where he earned a B.S. in engineering by the age of 19. After serving in WWI as a captain in the U.S. Army, Meem contracted tuberculosis, which landed him at Santa Fe’s Sunmount Sanitarium for recovery treatment in 1921. Sunmount, itself an early example of Santa Fe–style architecture, proved to be hugely influential in Meem’s life, along with the many renowned artistic residents he met there. After an intense internship in Denver threatened his health, Meem returned to Sunmount in 1924 and opened an architectural practice with fellow patient Cassius McCormick. Local businesses and the Museum of New Mexico in 1912 were focusing on increasing the state’s tourist appeal, which spurred an architectural movement influenced by Spanish- and Mexican-style buildings and Native American pueblos. As one of his significant projects in 1927, Meem designed a major addition for La Fonda Hotel that is still standing today.

John Gaw Meem was fond of incorporating porches and terraces into his Pueblo-style homes.

Robert Reck

Facing Southwest: The Life & Houses of John Gaw Meem, by Chris Wilson, photography by Robert Reck, W. W. Norton & Company, paperback, $35

Part two of the book details recurring architectural features the author calls “design patterns” that Meem included in his body of work. Known for his entry paths, salas and living rooms, alcoves and window seats, fireplaces, doors, porches, terraces, and more, Meem leaned on these design patterns for consistency throughout his regional architecture. The book’s many photos illustrate Meem’s signature designs and formative styles as demonstrated throughout entire homes. “Although informed by Pueblo, Spanish, Beaux-Arts, and picturesque eclectic traditions, Meem’s use of precedent was never slavish,” the author notes. In the third part of the book, three of Meem’s design idioms are examined via three iconic residences located in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The Conkey residence (1926) epitomized Spanish-Pueblo Revival; Los Poblanos Ranch (1932–1935) and its entertainment center, La Quinta, exemplified Territorial Revival; and Meem’s own home (1937), located near the Sunmount Sanitarium, captured his modernist interests with a new Southwestern contemporary look.

W. W. Norton & Company

“Meem brought Santa Fe style to maturity.” —Chris Wilson

Editor’s Pick


Courtesy of Cool Springs Press

he idea of growing vertically isn’t a new one—Patrick Blanc, for example, has created hundreds of incredible works of growing art around the world— but Shawna Coronado’s new book, Grow a Living Wall: Create Vertical Gardens with Purpose, brings the concept of vertical gardening squarely back to the home grower. Coronado came up with the idea of “growing up” after doing a little math. By turning the growing space of an average window box vertically, she determined she could grow nearly six square feet of plants in one square foot. And what if more people did this? Coronado mused. What amazing things it could mean in terms of feeding the hungry and creating more plants for pollinators! Aesthetically speaking, I love the idea of imparting a bright spot

In this vertical cactus garden, soil secures the cactus roots inside planting pockets so that the plants hang tightly without falling out.

Value and Quality Through Generations of Experience.

Grow a Living Wall: Create Vertical Gardens with Purpose, by Shawna Coronado, Cool Springs Press, paperback, $25; also available as an ebook.

of color on an otherwise blank wall with fresh culinary herbs (which I detest buying at grocery stores) or colorful cactus. Need ideas? Coronado suggests an herbal tea wall or a butterfly wall. All it takes is a framed art wall unit that you can purchase or make yourself—and a bit of imagination. This is a great little book for home gardeners and anyone concerned about sustainable growing. And if you’re “down” with doing a bit of DIY, you’ll love the concept of growing “up.”—Amy Gross Available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and The Poisoned Pen Bookstore,

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Perfect for summertime entertaining, this one-story Mediterranean-style home on half an acre boasts a lush, walled backyard with a covered patio. French doors open to the outdoors from the great room and dining area for convenience, and the chef ’s kitchen includes comfortable bar seating and Wolf/Sub-Zero appliances. Besides three spacious bedrooms and four custom bathrooms, the home includes lots of extras such as multiple fireplaces, skylights, Venetian plaster, barreled ceilings, custom tile work, and an attached oversized garage and workshop area. Located on a cul-de-sac west of the Rio Grande, the residence is just a short walk to the beautiful Bosque trails. List price: $825,000 Contact: Veronica Gonzales, Keller Williams Realty, 505-440-8956,

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grow Spacious inside and out, this 3,189-squarefoot home sits on 6.25 acres of land in Rio Rancho. Custom-built by John Lowe, the home includes a second-floor deck and tons of windows to take advantage of the wide New Mexico vistas. Below the vaulted ceilings, a gorgeous stacked rock fireplace creates a central focus for the large living area. The gourmet kitchen, lined with hickory cabinets and Corian countertops, boasts built-ins and a pantry. The master suite has its own gas log fireplace, a private courtyard with a separate entrance, and a huge walk-in closet. A coyote fence wraps around the partial-grass backyard, and the adjoining patio is shaded by a pergola. The oversized 3.5-car garage has a loft and abundant storage space for cars and more. Price: $789,000 Contact: Mike Cozby, Coldwell Banker Legacy, 505-269-4267,


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Taking advantage of picturesque Santa Fe Baldy rising in the distance, landscape architect Solange Serquis, owner of Serquis + Associates, created a sanctuary space for this Tesuque home that borrowed heavily from the landscape— in several ways. “I’m a reclaimer,” says Serquis, who reused as many materials as possible on the project. The team, which included the homeowner, “picked the metal surfaces to bring harmony to the existing shapes and surfaces.” Fabricated in the same steel as the wall surface it’s mounted on, the waterspout delivers water to Mexican pebbles below with a lovely, soothing sound and a sense of movement. A gong by metal sculptor Bill G. Loyd of Gong With the Wind is a striking focal point. “A gong requires a path to reach it,” explains Serquis, so once again borrowing from the landscape, she reused moss rock pieces found on-site to create a walkway to the gong. Beyond, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains offer their silent, soulful approval. Serquis + Associates, 96

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Su Casa North Summer 2015 Digital Edition  
Su Casa North Summer 2015 Digital Edition