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For The Home

Cultured Pearl

Author: Gussie Fauntleroy
Issue: August, 2009, Page 68
Photography by Alex Vertikoff

Although reduced in size to allow for a wider hallway, the guest bathroom makes a statement with sparkling tiles and a pared-down, jazzed-up look, which includes Contemporary brushed-nickel fixtures.
Annual Remodel Issue

From hardworking good-looking kitchens and baths to lovely landscapes and areas for outdoor entertaining, this issue celebrates a variety of remodel successes. Turn to Page 68 for details about the eye-catching bathroom pictured here, and the rest of the home as well. But don’t stop there. We offer bright ideas galore throughout the pages ahead.

A major renovation respects the bones of a 1976 adobe gem

A giant “necklace” of ceramic beads is draped over the limbs of a towering cottonwood tree in the front courtyard of this home near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The necklace hints at what can be found inside the recently remodeled residence: a playful spirit of color and art counterbalanced with comfortable spaces and clean Contemporary lines.

The home’s new look is the result of a major renovation—the most recent of several—that updates an original 1976 design by the late George Pearl. A distinguished Albuquerque architect, Pearl was known for combining a Contemporary aesthetic with traditional New Mexican materials and architectural elements.

Here, that translates to walls deliberately placed at odd angles, and an effect of spatial compression and expansion as one enters a shallow entrance hall that spills into the larger, open areas of the kitchen and living room. At the same time, the adobe home contains such traditional elements as large ceiling beams (vigas), generous outdoor living spaces, and portales, or covered porches.

In designing the remodel, architect Richard Schalk, AIA, and contractor Tim Rizek aimed to maintain Pearl’s approach while giving the house an even more Contemporary look. Among the homeowners’ goals were enhancing the experience of their art collection, opening living areas for gatherings of family and friends, and increasing the flow between indoor and outdoor spaces.

A deep, curving portal (pictured in progress, top, left) borders the home’s front courtyard, which surrounds one of several spreading cottonwoods gracing the property. The portal creates a welcoming private entrance while also affording access to another intimate courtyard, outdoor living areas and expansive grounds behind the house.
The project’s main components included the addition of a double garage, which visually anchors one end of a courtyard, and a curving portal leading to the front entrance. Around the property, cottonwood trees shade well-tended gardens, patios and intimate courtyards, and border a large sunny back lawn. The homeowners bought the acre-lot in 1981, in part for its location in Los Ranchos, a centuries-old farming village along the Rio Grande.

Inside, the kitchen was revamped and opened to a new light-filled great room, which was created by enclosing a large courtyard. Other changes included widening the home’s primary hall and adding a master suite, office and a second master bath (“his”) at one end of a generously sized walk-through closet.

The home’s interior design balances clean, fluid lines with pops of color, texture and eye-catching furnishings and art. Warm shades of purple and gold predominate, with a sprinkling of Moroccan touches adding intrigue. Natural light pours in through numerous skylights, several with deep sides embellished with sparkly, iridescent glass tiles. The look was accomplished through a collaboration between the homeowners and Bree Lovelady, a Denver-based interior designer.

“It was so much fun working with Bree. She was very attuned to the possibilities,” the wife relates. Pointing out previous additions to the house, she laughs and says, “It’s been a work in progress. I think we’re done!”

At one end of the great room, the homeowners’ love of color and iridescent tile is reflected in a one-of-a-kind wall mosaic that was a collaboration between the lady of the house and an artistic friend.

Hand-painted chandeliers by Ulla Darni accent the great room, which was created by enclosing part of a courtyard garden. A picnic-style table with a bench and banco underscores the home’s casual comfort.
A curving half-wall (bottom left) separates a second dining area from this intimate living room. The home’s renovation added generous wall space for the owners’ extensive art collection, including this mixed-media collage/painting by Erin Currier. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out to the courtyard.
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