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2011 - Volume 2 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
Article: Joe Burgess
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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Ben and Yolanda Arriola had built one home in El Paso, but decided to remodel the kitchen. While attending open houses in search of kitchen ideas, they stumbled across a valley home located on a small lake. The house needed work, but the lake was the unexpected factor that turned it into a “must-have” property. “Okay, I’ll move,” stated Yolanda, and that was the end of the conversation. What had begun as a quest for kitchen ideas suddenly expanded into relocating to a different house…one that required a major renovation and landscape makeover. With the right contractors, however, anything is possible.

    When you discover a lakeside property in El Paso, Texas, you gotta grab it and you gotta do something special with it!
  "I like to help my clients maximize the property views with proper orientation
of the house"

Javier Carrera,
Carrera Group, Inc.

Design & Build
Architectural Planner
Carrera Group, Inc.
Javier Carrera

General Contractor
New Horizon Home Builders
Ramon Garcia

Bathroom Fixtures
Direct Buy

77 Stone

Best Buy
Copenhagen Imports


Carpet Casa & Tile

Stained Concrete
Silver Springs Pool & Spa

Jack White Building Specialties

Faux Finish
Stephanie Conroy

Heating & Cooling
EP Temp Line

Interior Doors
Artistic Entryways

Silver Springs Pool & Spa

Mosquito System
No Mosquitoes, LLC

Pre-Wire, Security
& Audio Visual

El Paso Audio Video
by Design
CV Electric

Pool & Spa
Silver Springs Pool & Spa

Porch Shades
ACS of El Paso

Tile & Backsplash
Emser Tile and
Natural Stone

Windows & Glass Walls
Pella Windows & Doors
Originally three structures of adobe and concrete block, the property had been remodeled as a home, with only tiny window views of the lake. The Arriolas contracted with architectural planner Javier Carrera and builder Ramon Garcia. Yolanda’s instructions were to transform the property into a Miami beachfront home and it had to be completed by Ben’s forty-somethingth birthday. The Arriolas requested input from the planner, opening the door for creativity. Javier not only sketched out his vision for the property, but also built a scale model so that there would be little doubt as to the final outcome.

“We formed an exceptional team,” states Javier, “consisting of the two owners, the architectural planner and the builder. We met almost daily for updates and to discuss any issues that had arisen.” The planner and builder treated the project as if it were commercial due to the long spans for beams and the weight supported by columns.

Ceilings were raised, the pink toilets and tubs – those had to go, walls were removed along with wallpaper and carpet and even the powder room was relocated. The kitchen was gutted and carefully redesigned with detailed input by the Arriolas, who share cooking responsibilities. Commercial appliances were installed with 30-36 inch depth instead of the usual 24 inches and included a chrome restaurant griddle, two convection ovens, a combination convection/microwave/standard oven and a warming drawer in the kitchen with two more located with the outdoor kitchen. A special wall allows the refrigerator front to be flush with the other appliances. A Vinotemp wine closet was installed in the space between the living and kitchen areas, holding around 320 bottles.

The upgrade that gave the previously blasé home a magnificent touch was the installation of two folding glass walls between the great room and the outdoor pool and lake areas. With a height of 10 feet, the lakeside glass wall opens 30 feet wide and the poolside wall opens 18. The patio addition provided another 2000 square feet of space covered by an extension of the roof, giving ample room for a large group to comfortably indulge in the picturesque setting. “We agreed early on about the lake-side glass wall,” says Yolanda, “but the designer convinced us that the installation of a second glass wall on the pool side would make the design exceptional. I am so glad we listened to the designer!”

Radiant floor heating was added to the living and kitchen area and even under the granite countertop of the breakfast bar. When do you remember ever resting your arms on a granite countertop that wasn’t cold! The acid-stained concrete floors were tastefully finished, both inside and extending onto the entire wrap-around patio.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez of Silver Springs Pool & Spa handled the acid-stained concrete and designed and landscaped a backyard fitting for the remodeled home structure. The pool incorporates an infinity edge overlooking the lake. Dark tile was used to line the pool and dark cantera forms the deck. In the pool at the opposite end from the lake is a spa with four infinity edges, creating the illusion that the spa is floating on a glass mirror that appears to seamlessly merge with the lake. Two fire pits frame the lake end of the pool and a floor level fire pit warms the patio outside the bedroom. LED pool lights and hanging tree lights contribute to the dramatic resort-like appearance. A mister spans the entire length of the patio roof, cooling the area in warmer months, and a mosquito system diverts the mini-pests away from the entire yard.

Modern art and furnishings have been thoughtfully placed throughout the living areas. The Arriolas have acquired artwork from wherever they have traveled around the globe, but with sufficient forethought to maintain a coordinated, stylish décor. A 9-foot free-standing water feature graces the front entry.

Remodeling the 7500 square foot home required about a year to complete. Abundant use of spray foam insulation helped achieve a 5-Star Energy Rating for the house.

Ben and Yolanda, owners of Southwest Career College, settled in El Paso 13 years ago. They met in Guadalajara and lived in several U.S. cities before settling in El Paso. Their children include Ben and his wife, Dulce, both of whom are now part of the family business, and Chris, who is graduating from New Mexico State University. ///
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