Enchanted Homes

Restored grandeur, modern splendor

The stateliness of a historic home is restored with contemporary gourmet kitchen and six baths


Sometime before the year 1870, Juan Antonio Salazar built afamily home at 230 Ranchitos Road, which is listed in a 1870 Census. Nearby Salazar Road is named after him.

Over the years, the historic grand adobe morphed into Trudy’s Discovery House preschool and subsequently divided into five residential apartments.

In 2009 Peggy and John Hamilton bought the property, gutted it and restored the single-family home to its stately grandeur.

"We’ve done several renovations before. This was the largest. It took 18 months,” said John.

The Hamiltons lived in Albuquerque for 30 years and their children grew up there. “We had visited Taos. John was a skier. When we found this house we decided to buy. We had envisioned it as a second home. We got carried away. It became our primary home. That’s what happens when you start messing with old adobes,” said Peggy. The Hamiltons were attracted to the home because of its location, which is right next door to the Harwood Museum of Art and a few blocks from the Historic Taos Plaza. But they recognized that the building needed considerable renovation. They would eventually take off the entire second story and put in a new second story to maximize the views to the south.

Peggy said, “Our designer was Jed Magee and together we designed this house. John had some input. It was mostly Jed and me. Jim Pollard was the contractor.”

Working with an adobe structural engineer and a master adobe craftsman, the Hamiltons shored up the foundation of the building.

In the renovation process, the Hamiltons decided to work with materials and the décor of the 1920s era. John explained, “That was after the availability of the railroad service to the West. That’s when tile, hardwood floors, and other building supplies that weren’t made here shipped in from the East.”

Peggy added, “But we didn’t want to look like we weren’t from Taos.” So they also made an effort to work with many original designs in the building, such as original beams and corbals.

From their previous renovation experiences, the Hamiltons knew that the plumbing and the electrical systems would need total restoration in a house this old. So they upgraded to conveniences, such as radiant-heat floors, and each bedroom has its own thermostat for climate control.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Taos Real Estate has the property listing (MLS# 102131) for $1.95 million. The Realtor description states: “The 5,473 s.f., five-bedroom and six-bath house beautifully combines old Taos and comfortable elegance with modern amenities.”

Gourmet kitchen for entertaining

The gourmet kitchen includes a 60-inch, dual-fuel Wolf range (with grill, griddle and ventilation system) and two Asko dishwashers. To preserve a simple 1920s look and feel, the Hamiltons have created an uncluttered kitchen.

For example, no extensive cabinetry (which is often the hallmark of kitchens) and no small appliances dot the interior. Instead, the kitchen has adjacent rooms: one serves as pantry, appliance and prep area; another houses a large Sub Zero refrigerator and separate freezer. A butler’s pantry provides room for a large variety of dishes. And a temperature-controlled wine room holds 1,250 bottles.

Enchanted Homes asked: “Who is the cook?” Peggy said, “Not me.” And immediately pointed to John.

He explained: “At one time we lived next door to a couple who were gourmet cooks. They got us into fine dining. I like classic cuisines, such as French Continental and all the new contemporary cooking. I’m self-taught. I enjoy cooking; it’s a bit of a creative outlet.”

The large dining room accommodates 12 for a sit-down dinner. “But we have had up to 100 guests here, using different parts of the house. Of course it’s nice to entertain in the summer when we can sit outside on the back patio,” said Peggy.

The Hamiltons understand quite a lot about creativity. John is on the board of the Taos Community Foundation and the Taos Center for the Arts. Peggy has a talent for home design and décor, which extends to the six baths.

Uniquely designed baths for character 

A notable characteristic of the kitchen is its black-and-white tile floor, which Peggy had always wanted after seeing it in Europe. “I think it’s just so beautiful. I really wanted it in the kitchen and baths and to have different styles of tiles for the baths,” she said.

The Hamiltons embarked on a search for the original hexagon black and white bathroom tile. The older versions of the tile were matte and flat, whereas newer versions are shining and rounded on top. “We found a company in Brooklyn that still makes the old tile,” said John.

Each bathroom’s floor tile arrangement is unique, as well as any standing pieces of furniture. Among the six baths, the design experience is varied and inspired. The bathrooms have double sinks, tilted hanging mirrors, separate toilet rooms and showers. The fifth bedroom contains a claw-footed cast-iron tub and period plumbing fixtures.

A loving attention to detail and a fine artistic eye are the hallmarks of restoration. See for yourself the restored grandeur and modern splendor of this single-family home at 230 Ranchitos Road.



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