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2011 - Volume 2 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
Article: Joe Burgess
Photos: Rudy Torres
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"When I attended New Mexico State University, I wrote a thesis on the Franciscan mission architecture of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Ciudad Juárez,” says homeowner Adair Margo. “I fell in love with the simple beauty of that 17th century church – the first building at El Paso del Norte."

    "I’m very hands on with my design. Every little wall has a purpose…"

Chad North,
CGN Designs LLC

Design & Build
Architectural Planner
CGN Designs
Chad North

Cullers & Caldwell
Dalton Caldwell

Builders Source

Supreme Custom Cabinets

Classic Granite & Marble

Interior Décor

LMC Design Group
Lori McQuaig

Plumbing Fixtures
Ferguson Bath

Sallie Homan, Inc.

Wrought Iron &
Drapery Hardware

Elite Design & Production

Pella Windows & Doors

Window Treatments
Southwest Décor El Paso
“When Dee and I decided to build a new home on one level after 27 years in a two-story home,” she continued, “we wanted it to be inspired by the mission that had come to mean so much to us, especially its carved vigas and baptistery doors. Augustine Castillo, a woodcarver recommended to us by Lori McQuaig, did not understand the carving when he did a sample from photographs. So I said, ‘Augustine, do you have your passport? Because we’re going to Juárez so you can see the real thing.’ Augustine loves to carve wood and when he saw what the 17th century carvers had done, running his hands over the pillars that hold up the choir loft, he understood the depth of the carving and what needed to be done. Now when Dee and I look up at our ceiling or the doors that close off Dee’s bar from the living room….when we look at any of the woodwork Augustine created, we think to ourselves, ‘Why, he caught the fever of the old carvers.’ He really did, and the woodwork is no doubt the single most outstanding feature of our home.”

“The architectural planner, Chad North of CGN Designs, had already designed a home with an inner courtyard for the lot Dee chose for us because of its eastern location in the development and its view of the mountains,” Adair related, “and we made adjustments to Chad’s plan to get exactly what we wanted. One of those was moving the garage from the front of the house to the back, something Dee insisted on.”

The inside of the new house is more spacious than the previous one, especially the kitchen and closets. The Margos tried to preserve a similar personality and the new design appears to achieve that, but with the added benefit of uninterrupted wall space for artwork. Most of the furniture and artwork came from their previous home, with the light fixtures and some furnishings coming from El Paso’s Galeria San Ysidro.

“We were very comfortable with the team that we worked with in the neighborhood of Villa Encanto,” Adair continues. “In addition to Chad, it consisted of interior designer Lori McQuaig and builders Cullers & Caldwell. We met at the site weekly and they figured out how to accomplish what we wanted. It was a busy time in our lives, but they made it easy, providing options and delivering on time. For a first time building project for Dee and me, it was relatively painless. Dalton Caldwell and his site manager, Ed Caballero, have great craftsmen working under them and they pulled it all together in less than a year.”

“Lori measured and photographed the furnishings at our previous home to help figure out how our furniture would fit and where plugs should go. She also found ironworkers who created the designs we wanted for things like the stair railing outside. Dee and I took pictures of the railing in our old home and they did the rest. Lori’s office also provided the printed instructions for the tile designs in our bathrooms and risers on the stairs outside. She found a different source for our Mexican tile when the one we first selected couldn’t deliver on time.”

The kitchen in the new Margo home is very bright and cook-friendly. Cream-colored talavera tile covers the entire wall behind the stove with traditional patterns of painted talavera interspersed. It is tastefully balanced by hand-carved, dark-wood shelving, a carved medallion - a gift from Castillo - and built-in china hutch. As with every room, there is wall space and shelving reserved for works of art.

A spacious dining room is covered by a vaulted brick ceiling with a clerestory window allowing in natural light. “Dee likes a formal dining room where we can sit around a table with friends. He likes to stay at the table after dinner so as not to disrupt conversation.” Adair admits, though, that the family’s personal social area is the kitchen. “Every Monday night my mother comes for dinner,” she says. “Dee, Adela, my mom and I all sit at the kitchen counter where we enjoy talking about what’s going on in the community and in our lives.”

The patio includes a sculpted stone cross from Juárez brought from the previous home and plenty of space for guests to mingle. The bar that opens onto the living room also opens onto the patio via a large window and tiled counter. “That’s Dee’s design,” Adair said. “He calls it ‘Pilo’s bar’ since Pilo Tejeda serves our guests when we entertain, and Dee has stocked it with everything Pilo needs.” A more intimate covered second-floor space with a fireplace overlooks the patio and has views of the Juárez Mountains, Mount Cristo Rey and the Franklins. “Dee calls it our Mountain Deck and he loves sitting in his rocker and looking at the mountains. If I’m not with him, he’ll call my cell and ask me to come up and join him.”

“We have been in the new home over two years, now, and we are very comfortable with the layout and the valley location. It works well for our family at this time in our lives, and it works well for gatherings with our friends. The designers and builders helped us build a home we will enjoy for many years to come. We had a great team.” ///
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