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2012 - Spring Issue
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
Article: Jessica Muncrief
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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Along with awe-inspiring natural landscapes and stunning sunsets, it is the rich cultural history of New Mexico that has helped garner the moniker, "The Land of Enchantment." Wayne and Kiki Suggs of Classic New Mexico Homes are helping to preserve this historical spirit by building custom homes that reflect the authentic past of the region, while still offering all the modern amenities which we have come to appreciate in the 21st century. Wayne says, "We strive to give homes a certain feeling that is old and authentic. We are building new homes, but they almost end up feeling like restoration projects. In the end you really can't tell what year the home was built in." Coupling this with their passions for environmental sustainability and energy efficiency has earned Classic New Mexico Homes a reputation for creating unique custom homes that reflect the conveniences of modern living with an appreciation for the beauty of the past.


Design & Build:
Classic New
Mexico Homes


Appliances & Fixtures:
Morrison Supply Co.

Audio System:
Precision Sound
and Video


Classic New
Mexico Homes


Design Center

Holguin's Electric Co.

Quality Firewood
& Materials


Hand-plastered Walls:
Cielo Vista Construction

Four Seasons
Heating & Cooling


Speedy Plumbing

Ridgetop Construction

Septic System:
Johnny's Septic

Juan Garcia Tile

Trails End Woodworks
One spectacular example of the Suggs' work is a sprawling, pueblo-style home nestled against the Organ Mountains. Since delving into the world of adobe construction in the 1980s, the team at Classic New Mexico Homes has perfected the integration of this ancient building practice into modern day construction innovations. This building method involves creating two, 10-inch thick, stabilized adobe walls with a four-inch gap in between. This gap is filled with the conduit for electrical, plumbing and security systems and then tightly filled with polyurethane spray foam, allowing no air infiltration. The end results are walls 24-inches thick that help keep the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

To add even more comfort through modern technology, the Suggs also installed an energy efficient 19 SEER HVAC fresh air system that continually circulates the air inside by pulling fresh air from the outside every few minutes and can add humidity to the inside air. Other technological and eco-friendly amenities installed throughout the home include a centrally installed sound system programmed to run off of the owners' cell phones, a grey water system that produces irrigation water, solar vents, gigabyte Ethernet smart wiring throughout the home for Internet video streaming, a discreet video surveillance system, and fiber optic conduits to every room that can easily be accessed as new technologies become available on the market.

The cozy, rustic feel of the home's interiors belie all the modern innovations tucked secretly away. This truly authentic feeling is credited to Kiki Suggs, who serves as Classic New Mexico Homes' interior designer. It is readily apparent upon entering this home that she has a natural talent for restoring classic looks, often through the use of reclaimed materials which give the home a true sense of history. "It is a good feeling to recycle and do something for the environment," notes Kiki, "And the more old building materials we can incorporate, the more authentic and older the home feels. We're always finding items in unusual places. Sometimes we find antiques, sometimes we buy pieces new and I give them an aged look," she says. Eye-catching, antique tin ceilings hand-painted by Kiki, grace the powder room, pantry, and dining room. The tin ceilings originally came from the Fair Trade Store, which later became the Bonanza building in Socorro built at the time when the railroad first made its way through New Mexico. The floors in the kitchen, extra room and loft office are constructed of gorgeous red and white oak that was reclaimed from an old barn. Likewise, the lumber and beams throughout the home were sustainably harvested from New Mexico wildfires and salvaged from 20th century adobe houses, some of which were condemned to make way for Interstate 25 as it was being built.

In keeping with the historical feeling, a traditional floor plan with a formal dining room and the kitchen separate from the living areas was adopted. The kitchen was designed around old wooden beams that the home owners had been saving. Intricately carved by local artisan Hector Telles in the 1980s, the beams were cleaned, refurbished and installed with stunning effect as horizontal elements throughout the kitchen and informal dining area. Blue and yellow accent cabinets, detailed tile work, and a bright yellow
La Canache French range create a welcoming, Southwestern ambiance. The refrigerator is hidden behind paneled cabinet doors with an additional refrigerator in an enormous walk-in pantry. The adjacent eating area features a striking hand carved dining table built from 100 year old Douglas fir wood trusses salved from a condemned adobe home in Socorro.

The living room has flagstone flooring, 17-foot high, wood ceilings and spectacular views of the mountains. Leather and wood furniture are placed comfortably around an adobe fireplace with an intriguing stone lintel accent. The overall effect is cozy and inviting. The focal point of the room is a beautiful wood staircase hand carved by Dan Maken that curves up to a loft office and features a secret passageway beneath it for the children to play in. Maken is also the visionary behind the ornamental wood nichos in the adjacent formal dining room.

Reclaimed double doors open into the master bedroom, which the owners purposely wanted to be smaller than the average master bedroom to create a more intimate and comfortable space. An old church pew under the blue shutters on the window only serves to enhance this feeling. The attached master bathroom is perhaps the most impressive room in the house. It features delicately hand painted tile floors and an old-fashioned claw foot bath tub. However, the real stunner is the perfectly round shower that was built around an amazing tile mosaic on the floor. To make the shower perfectly round, Wayne and his team had to get a little inventive. They placed a pipe in the drain and created an ingenious swivel system with 2x4s that rotated around and moved up as the adobe wall was built continually higher. Under the skylight in the dome ceiling, they placed decorative cross beams brilliantly adorned with old world mosaic tile with a waterfall showerhead right in the center.

The final result of two years of planning and almost a year of construction is a home resplendent with technological amenities that are so discreetly placed they do not hinder its authentic, historical charm. It is truly nothing less than spectacular. Wayne sums it up best when he says, "We were very fortunate as builders to be involved in a project like this. It was a once in a lifetime experience to build a one of a kind home. We can't say enough how proud we are to have been involved." ///
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