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Back Issues
2012 - Summer Issue
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
Article: Jessica Muncrief
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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When Mark and Gayle Nash started shopping for their dream home, they were surprised to find it in an old neighborhood on the Westside of El Paso. The home, which had been built in the 1960s, was pretty unremarkable, but it sat on almost two acres of land that gradually crawls into the surrounding desert and mountains. "It's a unique piece of land and we've been developing little by little," says Mark. Seeing as he is the owner of Nash Patio and Garden and has quite a bit of experience in designing stunning landscapes, this plot of land was the perfect blank canvas to showcase his and Gayle's love of nature. The existing house was torn down and, in its place, the Nashes have slowly been creating an unconventional home that is the ultimate fusion of indoor and outdoor living.

    Photo Captions

4.) Gayle and Mark Nash
  "The great thing about this house is that we are going to live here forever, so there is no hurry." - Mark Nash

Architect, Interior Design,
Builder, Stonework, Landscaping:
Nash Patio and Garden

Q Cabinets

Classic Granite & Marble

Custom Woodwork:
El Paso Wood Products
Alejandro Fernandez

Q Cabinets

Artistic Entryways

El Paso Imports

Stained Glass:
The Glass Act
Gail Boone
"Everything is custom made because we don't have to finish by tomorrow. We've been working on it since 2004 and it's still not finished." Stone, water and plant life are the defining elements and they are incorporated into almost every detail of the home's interiors. The outdoor area is more than just a patio; there are separate areas and rooms that allow the Nashes to do almost anything they would do inside, including cooking, watching television and sitting around the fireplace. The true beauty of this custom home is that it not only brings the outdoors in, it also brings the indoors out.

Naturally, the main living areas of the home are no less awe inspiring. Inside the home, there are many distinctive and unexpected features. Mark says, "Since we've had the time, we've incorporated unique elements throughout. Every room has a special touch." The entryway has groin vault ceilings and cantera stone medallions. The main focal point of Gayle's home office is a stained glass window that Mark designed and friend Gail Boone of Glass ACT put together piece by piece. The expansive fireplaces are all four feet deep and the one in the living room is actually a reproduction of a fireplace the Nashes fell in love with at the Cathedral Notre Dame during an anniversary trip to Paris. "We took photos and had a local artisan reconstruct it," explains Mark. The guest bathrooms feature stunning woodwork—a bathtub built into a wooden archway with heavy drapes for shower curtains in one, and a shower entrance flanked with wood columns in the other. Even the laundry room is resplendent with huge picture windows overlooking one of the many gardens.

One full wall of the master bedroom is constructed of morterless stone. Doors lead out onto a private, flagstone patio complete with water features and lush foliage. The master bathroom has both a deep tub surrounded with views to the outside and a stone shower reminiscent of a grotto. The kitchen, which has an eye-catching aquarium right above the sink, flows seamlessly into the open living area with 20 feet of French glass doors providing an optimal view of the spectacular backyard landscaping.

"This property is on a slope so the real charm of the outdoors area is all the different levels," notes Mark. The first level features a beautiful archway constructed of brick reclaimed from the restoration of the Plaza Theatre in the early 2000s. There is an enormous koi and turtle pond fed by several mini waterfalls. "I'm an animal lover, so this is the spot I enjoy the most," says Gayle. "I love watching and feeding the turtles. It is a very vibrant and serene place to be." A glorious mesquite tree creating a canopy of shade is a major focal point as well. In fact, there are over 150 trees on the property. "There is lots of shade," notes Mark, "We have so many trees so you can enjoy the outdoors even on the hottest days."

The second level is the epitome of bringing the indoors out. To the left, a full living room including wicker furniture, a television, a fireplace and a built-in flagstone bench; to the right, a complete kitchen with all the necessary equipment for cooking up a patio meal. There is also another koi aquarium and, a particularly nice touch, a small fire pit built directly into the flagstone bar.

From here, the remaining landscape is an enchanting maze of gardens, ivy covered stone walls, ponds, trees, statues and doors. The antique doors lead to secret sanctuaries like a hidden herb and vegetable garden and a grassy common area that all the neighbors have access to. The beauty of Mark's ingenious landscape design is that it features something for all tastes. "We have tropical over here and topiary over there. There is an herb garden and shaded areas for relaxing. We have a plot for growing flowers and even a desert landscape," he explains. The desert garden is particularly charming in that the grass gradually tapers off into the natural vegetation of the hillside. Mark also added pathways and benches. "The desert area sustained some damage during the last freeze," remembers Gayle, "but the desert has a way of healing itself naturally. It's really turning into a nice place just to walk and meander."

As Mark has noted, everything is still a work in progress. The construction of a 90 foot koi pond fed by water falling from cannons built into a stone wall is already under way. Gayle says that a greenhouse is next on the list. "It will be more than just a greenhouse though," she notes, "It will be more of a solarium with a sun room where we can relax and enjoy our morning coffee."

Mark and Gayle have really created something special in this beautiful home. The varied use of materials and plant life creates something eye-catching and unexpected at every turn. It is truly a remarkable and impressive fusion of indoor and outdoor living. ///
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