This 1970’s frame-stucco house located in one of Santa Fe’s early master-planned communities in the north hills near downtown had few remarkable architectural features and was begging to make its own history. Seeing promise in the small, dark, and compartmental spaces, one being an atrium with a dirt-floor, the homeowner and her son, a designer/architect, sought to create a harmonious, open and light-filled living environment.
To achieve this, the fundamental design needed elemental change proffering its set of challenges. The existing floor plan was reconfigured to strengthen connections between living spaces and the entire interior was demolished with the exception of a few walls and living room beams. Bathrooms, closets, and many walls were relocated, interior doors were reoriented, ceilings were raised, and exterior door entrances and windows and were enlarged. Skylights were enhanced and concrete had to be jackhammered to relocate plumbing and electric/heating systems. The traditional kiva was reconstructed into an angular fireplace off of which natural light can play. Desiring flow between the kitchen and main living space inspired a novel solution in which the kitchen entrance was expanded to allow for custom-milled cabinetry to extend from one room into the other and seamlessly meld the two. The atrium’s dirt floor was sealed and its glass-block wall removed to then be crafted into a library nook. In turn, the den became an office allowing for both rooms to house a large book collection.
Bringing light into the bathrooms was one of the largest and most costly of challenges. To achieve this, it was apparent that the master bath/closet had to be flipped and new windows were added to exterior walls. The original guest bath was comprised of two separate small rooms, which were combined into one spacious and airy one.
The homeowner is a native of New Mexico and recognizes how the built environment here has evolved over the many years. After re-examining such history, craft has always been integral to the Santa Fe home aesthetic. In keeping with that premise, authentic materials were consciously chosen, such as clay tile, doors hand-built by a local woodworker, natural wood floors, and custom-designed cabinetry. Pulling from the Georgia O’Keefe minimal, western aesthetic, windows and doors frame the outdoor, natural world and a muted color palette allows for a lighter, brighter interior warmed by white oak floors. In keeping with that aesthetic, dark elements were strategically placed to contrast with and ground the lighter hues, such as traditional windows with mullions, a glass-paned, master bedroom door, dining cabinetry, and beams.
This whole house remodel featuring interior design by Victoria at Home took sixteen months to complete and exemplifies an invitingly spare, indelible beauty reflecting modern-day lifestyle in the high mountain desert.
Decor Photos by Daniel Nadelbach @NadelbachPhotography
Pre & Post-Construction Photos Ray Padilla-Hernandez @rph_photographysfe
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