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2011 - Volume 1 Issue 2
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
Article: Joe Burgess
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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A sanctuary for family and friends – that was the intent of the owners of this Ventanas feature home. They approached architect Jeffery Huff, owner of Design Alliance, with the request for a home that fit their lifestyle, which included guests and frequent visits from out-of-town family. “The owners are native El Pasoans,” Jeffery stated, “but had European ancestors who had occupied hacienda surroundings in one of Mexico’s rich mineral districts. They specifically asked for Spanish colonial revivalism, a combination of Spanish, Moorish and Mexican architectures.”


Design Alliance
Jeffery Huff

Bathroom and
Kitchen Fixtures:
Moe Freid Marble
& Granite


GAC Tile & Stone


Heating and Cooling:
Garrick Group

Insulated Concrete Forms:
Reward Wall Systems
Tierra Verde
Building Supply


Classic Landscapes

St. John
Sprinkler Service


Pre-Wire and Security:
HPS Audio & Video

Cost Plus Pools

Window Concepts

Interior Doors:
El Paso Wood Products
Jeffery was the final choice because he was the only architect contacted that truly understood the architectural elements being requested and who had field experience with builders and contractors. Design Alliance focuses on custom home architecture.

The family had chosen to make El Paso its residence and wanted a home that would not only create the comfort and energy levels they sought for themselves, but also be a place for family to congregate and for their children to bring their friends. It was to be their dream home and indeed, there are elements, both inside and out, that are unique to this valley home.

The pie-shaped, 1.38 acre lot was the only one in this particular neighborhood that had not been developed. It allowed a relatively narrow entry space to the 6,000 square foot structure, which in turn, opens up onto a spacious, but secluded, outdoor setting on the backside of the house that even includes a view of the Franklin Mountains.

The lush garden entry patio immediately establishes the atmosphere for this Mediterranean-like villa. A variety of shrubs and trees, interspersed with a water feature and statues, are the appropriate welcome to this warm setting.

Insulated concrete forms (ICF) was the choice for wall construction of the two story structure. The owners wanted a solid building with thick walls providing a tight envelope for energy conservation, low maintenance and dust control. The concrete in ICF walls becomes one with the concrete slab, creating a tight seal around the bottom perimeter of the home, and combined with Weather Shield® windows and doors, there is little opportunity for dust or pollen entry and nothing to feed mold and mildew. The exterior walls deliver both the structural integrity and thermal mass of thick concrete and the thermal resistance of the insulation forms that sandwich the concrete. The home was oriented toward the mountain view, but the garage was situated to help shield the hot side of the home. The finish stucco is a brownish color tagged Abiquiu by the owners – the New Mexico home of renowned artist, Georgia O’Keeffe.

The interior of the home is intended to appear lived in and to provide the character of a historic dwelling. The owners searched for Spanish artwork and artifacts, as opposed to typical Southwest décor, and made frequent use of arches throughout the house. With floors and baseboards of clay tile, the walls were given a hand-trowelled, rough plaster finish. Colors painstakingly chosen by the owners included a yellow mix for the kitchen area that they called flan and a deep reddish color in the office referred to as enchilada red.

The owners tried to make use of every available space, including the area over the garage. Even the area over the pantry has a pull-down ladder to a storage area. The arched walkway between the entry and the kitchen has dark-wooden cabinets for storing dishes and place settings.

A round table was used in the octagonal-shaped formal dining room for the ease of conversation. It sits under a groin vault ceiling. A room that might normally be used for formal living, was designated as a library/office with built-in bookshelves.

The master bath includes a sitting area and small bar with a coffee maker and cold drinks – a great place for planning the day while applying the finishing touches at the vanities. The shower easily accommodates two with separate shower heads and controls. The room also opens into an exercise room and to the outside patio. The spacious master closet has a taller than normal island for the tall owners.

The owners added a large cabana across the head of the pool that includes a gallery with a large artistic water feature, a replica from one of California’s historic Spanish homes; an outdoor pool table room; outdoor living space with a fireplace and an outdoor dining area. The cabana is in addition to the outdoor kitchen/patio area originally included on the back of the house.

One other feature that must be mentioned is the secret garden. The walled in space includes fruit trees, a fountain and raised vegetable and perennial planters in the shape of a Celtic cross. ///
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