When people think of adobe, they most likely picture traditional Pueblo style ruins crumbling back into the desert floors of Arizona and New Mexico.
Where I grew up, many friends and some family lived in elegant Territorial-style adobe haciendas ― with creaky floors, period artwork, and furnishings that reflected the regional Arizona style.
Back then they just seemed like really old houses. Today, I have a whole new appreciation for these homes, many on Historic Registers, with their five-foot thick walls, exposed beam ceilings, cool tile floors, and mesquite wood-burning fireplaces.
I love traditional architecture and every once in awhile I see something old that has been beautifully transformed into something new, or something new, skillfully designed in the old traditional style. Here are two beautiful adobe homes that I would like to share.
The first Adobe built in 1957 is located in the beautiful foothills of Tucson's Santa Catalina mountains. The transformation is by Studio Encanto.
Studio Encanto is an award-winning interior design firm founded in 1985 by Christy Martin who specializes in Spanish Colonial Revival, Santa Barbara Mission, Contemporary, Santa Fe and Old Ranch interiors.
The bones of the house had not been disturbed and the location was perfect for a fresh take on an old style. A large wall that once divided the living room and dining room were removed.
Red quarry tile was tiled over with ungrouted travertine squares, set running bond. All the knotty pine walls were covered in a clean, cool shade of white.
The kitchen is a calm, cool, confident mix of contemporary and traditional.
Paired with a neutral palette, this residence feels like a spa in the desert.
Christy Martin’s passion has served her well. In 2004 her work on Linda Ronstadt’s Tucson residence was featured in Architectural Digest, in 2005 she was featured as one of the Top 40 Designers in This Old House magazine, and in 2006 Phoenix Home and Garden honored her as “Master of the Southwest."
photos by Robin Stancliff
This next house sit's on twelve acres next to a tree-lined arroyo in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Living a bit of a Bohemian life these days, Ryannan Bryer de Hickman and Designer-Builder husband, Jim Hickman, have called Santa Fe, New Mexico, Montecito, California, Boulder, Colorado, and the Texas Hill Country home.
For more than 20 years, he built custom homes in Santa Fe using the traditional Pueblo style of architecture. However, being big fans of Modern Mexican Architects, Ricardo Legorreta, and Luis Barragan, they decided to build their last two homes there in the Modern Mexican style.
Hand troweled plaster tinted with pigments from Italy give a beautiful finish to the walls.
Clean lines, open shelving and two islands make this beautiful kitchen a pleasure to work in. Not to mention the Thermador Range and Sub-Zero Refrigerator! Take note that in both kitchens, valuable workspace and storage have been integrated deep into the thick adobe walls.
Concrete sinks in the bathroom.
Double adobe walls and radiant heat in the concrete floors throughout.
These houses are very comfortable during the cold winters and the hot summers. An added extra, probably my favorite part...this property had a small old adobe one-room house on it when they bought it. Ryannan turned it into a little art studio. Love the exposed adobe brick walls.
The photographs of this beautiful home are compliments of Ryannan Bryer de Hickman. She is a fabulous photographer whose portfolio varies from The Santa Fe New Mexican to The New York Times.
She is also the author of Sotto Il Monte, a Lifestyle Blog about Food, Wine, Architecture & Interior Design, Gardening, Viticulture (winemaking...I had to look it up), Art and Travel.