THE VERY FIRST ISSUE of Enchanted Homes rolled off the press at the top of the millennium. I was just getting started as a webmaster in the nascent world of online publishing in New York. That same year, the one and only real vacation I’ve ever taken would introduce me to the Land of Enchantment; an event that would spark a long lasting love affair with a magical place called Taos. Two decades later I find myself carefully leafing through the archived issues of this storied publication in preparation for the 20th Anniversary issue you see before you. How Enchanted is that!?
What began as a small real estate guide in both dimension and page count (see Then & Now page 30) has matured over the past 20 years into 80 pages of engaging stories and enticing one-of-a-kind properties set into the rugged charm of the Sangre de Christo Mountains and surrounding areas.
Join us as we walk down memory lane and revisit some of the many homes that have left the deepest impressions on us over the years, with photos and editorial from the issues they originally appeared in.
– Paul Gutches, Managing Editor
1. CHUCK HENNINGSEN: A COMBINATION HOME & ART GALLERY (EH69: 2009)
Henningsen worked with the brilliant Santa Fe architect Jeff Harnar to design this 2,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art darkroom and studio which they carved directly into the ground. Afterward, a gorgeous 3,500-square-foot, three-story, modern home was added on top, with attention to shape, pattern, color and materials that testify to Henningsen’s stated desire to “live, breathe and produce art”.
The interior is awash in marble. Passive solar elements bring in light from all sides. Fireplaces of various design are strategically placed throughout. A dearth of right angles in the floors and walls keeps the eye searching for a place to land. This is a castle for the curious; a space that heightens the senses and delivers surprises around every bend.
2. THE FARRS’: DESIGNED BY ED SANDOVAL (EH50: 2007)
John and Leslie Farr traversed their land in the Weimer foothills for years before realizing how perfect a view they had been blessed with; a breathtaking sweep from Picuris Peak to the south to Taos Mountain in the north, and the town below. Carson National Forest bordering the east served to seal the deal on the location as the perfect site for their home. Famed Taos artist Ed Sandoval designed this two-story hacienda to take full advantage of their good fortune.
“We’re really outdoors people, so we wanted the house to be indoor and outdoor. We wanted it to be as traditional as possible yet modern-traditional so it was convenient and easy
to keep.” – Leslie Farr
3. LUMINA HOUSE: A NEW MEXICAN EDEN (EH70: 2009)
A creek seductively meanders through this natural paradise of fruit trees, lush gardens and waterfalls, connecting several buildings, each of which exert their own unique character along the way. For owner/artist Felicia Ferguson it was love at first site.
After Felicia acquired the property, the interior of the primary dwelling (not pictured) was gradually fashioned into a viision of her own design with the help of Taos architect Karen Kornbau, a team from ESQ’s Lath and Plaster, and expert painter Sarah Robinson. For Ferguson, it’s attention to detail and a taste for the eccentric that makes a place special.
4. THOM WHEELER: CATWALKS AND CUPOLAS (EH79: 2009)
One-of-a-kind. Playful. Large. Artistic. Adventurous. These are but a few ways to describe sculptor and painter Thom Wheeler’s whimsical adobe home.
To say that a visit to Wheeler’s property is stimulating would be a gross understatement. The property consists of a 3,400-square-foot main house, a two-story guest house with catwalks, cupolas, a two-car attached garage, large terraced patios, an indoor-outdoor fireplace and a wraparound lawn.
In the art studio, vaulted ceilings with huge 22” diameter vigas comingle with arched stained-glass windows for a gothic lodge sensibility all it’s own.
5. CHRIS MAHER: A KITCHEN FIT FOR A MASTER CHEF (EH92: 2013)
Master chef Chris Maher sees cooking as a bonding experience which he uses to great effect in teaching the many students who visit his home. “I designed the kitchen for a big group,” Chris mentioned. “I wanted enough space for people to work in. But first and foremost it had to be for my pleasure.”
The kitchen has a large Wedgewood stove he bought from his landlord in Hollywood for $1. He said it benefits his cooking, but not in quite the way you would expect.
“ I like it. It has a great aesthetic. It makes me feel good.”
6. MARJORIE OLSEN: PERFECT LITTLE GEM (EH99: 2014)
Set against an expansive sky and nestled within a mountain fortitude, a small home gives space to the beauty
of our natural environment. “In the winter, the passive solar gain keeps the house toasty warm,” says Olsen. Off the living room, double French doors lead onto a flagstone patio constructed by Brett Hale. “This is my art,” she says.
7. DEBBIE & MIKE HOUX: SKI IN, SKI OUT (EH100: 2014)
The Houx residence is a modern ode to the classic ski chalet done in glass, steel, and concrete, but it isn’t cold by any stretch of the imagination. The vast south facing glass structure makes an effective passive solar greenhouse for heating the home even in the dead of winter. Ski-in Ski-out never felt so good!
8. BRAD HOCKMEYER: BRAD AND JANET’S MODERN FARM (EH104: 2015)
Full of play and wonder, this striking two-domed home on six lush acres in the historic Los Cordovas valley presents itself like a tipped over ceramic pot pouring forth a mosaic flagstone pathway. The couple built this as a modern farmhouse that is gentle on the earth, healthy on the body, and pleasing for the spirit.
The super-insulated steel-reinforced concrete domes are nearly indestructible. Soft greens and matte textures serve to blend the home congruously into the rolling riparian landscape of Northern
9. CHRIS & ELIZABETH MIXSON: A SENSE OF RYTHYM (EH108: 2016)
A large yet subdued Territorial style home, the Mixson’s El Salto residence is a visual commitment to the ideal of sustainability. The property is powered by one of the largest residential solar arrays in Taos County, and the grounds are designed with native trees and plants which require no irrigation. Everywhere you look there is a sense of balance and rhythm that is welcoming and comfortable; deferring emphasis to the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
10. KIMBERLY ARMSTRONG: THE MAGICAL CHARM OF TAOS IS CALLING (EH124: 2018)
A funny thing happened on the way to Sedona for Kimberly and her late husband Chef René Mettler. As with so many who wander through this land, Taos beckoned and they never left.
A labor of love, the couple renovated this historic Ranchos de Taos compound over many years. A heavy pair of antique wooden gates swing open momentously to reveal an enchanting courtyard designed for entertaining. The landscape delights with a surprising mix of brick, flagstone, decorative rock, ceramic pots, and topiaries. There are koi ponds, high conifers, leafy trees, stone walls, wrought iron fences, wooden benches, and outdoor fire pits to gather around and spark the imagination.
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