Spanish in the Southwest

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by Danielle Urbina
photographs by Brian Wancho

New design and local craftmanship bring a ranch-style home up to date

The owner of this West El Paso home has always had an eye for art and unique architectural details, so when he decided to remodel and add more space to it, he worked closely with Juarez architect Nemorio Lopez to ensure the new abode would not only be stunning to look at, but comfortable and functional for his young family.

Sprawled over a large Westside lot overlooking the Franklin Mountains, the ranch-style home is over 50 years old. At the time the homeowner and his wife purchased the house, it featured more traditional interiors with French neoclassical design. They felt the location was perfect, but desired something different for the interiors: a Spanish Revival–inspired design, similar to homes in California. They wanted their new home to reflect their love of the stately style and its beautiful details, such as sturdy wooden beams, wrought iron accents, and rich textiles.

With Lopez chosen as the architect of the remodel, the two went to work putting together plans for every corner of the home. The starting point? Ceilings. “Nemorio and I designed the ceilings together, starting with the Spanish coffered ceilings,” the homeowner says. “I love beams, so [Lopez] came up with this idea to re-create the ceilings similar to the ones from museums in Spain.” Every ceiling in the main living areas is different—from the entryway’s Southwestern-inspired ceiling to the weathered beams in the living room.

The homeowners wanted their new home to reflect their love of Spanish Revival style and its beautiful details, such as sturdy wooden beams, wrought iron accents, and rich textiles.

Another important part of the design process was creating one open and flowing space from the formal living room all the way back to the outdoor living area. Walls were knocked down so that the kitchen would become the center hub, complete with a butler’s pantry and nearby mudroom for backpacks and shoes.

The large, super functional kitchen was created with the family’s needs in mind. “I wanted a kitchen that would be very easy to work in,” the homeowner explains. “We don’t have a large freezer because we like to eat as fresh as possible, so instead, we have two large refrigerators.” The wood-fronted refrigerators match the kitchen’s Shaker-style cabinetry and complement the countertop and backsplash materials.

To give the space an added element of visual interest, the homeowner had a hood custom-made with a bit of industrial flair. Bands of gleaming copper are in sharp contrast to the black steel; both colors pick up accents in the metal light fixtures hanging over the island.

Every ceiling in the main living areas is different—from the entryway’s Southwestern-inspired ceiling to the weathered beams in the living room.

When necessary, the kitchen is a workhorse, especially when the homeowner has a chef over to prepare large meals for entertaining. “He can easily cook for 100 people at least,” the homeowner says. Other special features include high-end appliances, an espresso machine, and a wine fridge.

It’s in the two living areas—both the formal and everyday living rooms—where the homeowner’s various art collections add color and character. Though framed Peter Lik photography, paintings, and bronze sculptures are standouts, the homeowner says every rug in the house is equally special. “All of the rugs are like art,” he explains. “They’re each handmade from Pakistan and other areas; every one has its own personality.”

Ultimately, this home was remodeled for daily living, and the homeowner put a lot of effort into making other spaces throughout the home practical and fun for his children. “All of this is about family—the space, the gardens, the outdoors—I went from 2,000 square feet to much more in this house just for that,” he says.

Up a set of stairs is a “little man cave” built specifically for the kids. Inside, toys and books are easily accessible from various bins and shelves, and comfy couches are perfect for cozying up. The focal point, though, is an enclosed space with bunk beds that sometimes serve as a hideout for the little ones.

In the master bedroom, the homeowner made sure to design a space that would feel like its own sanctuary. “I wanted something dramatic for the master,” he explains. “The room’s theme was based off an oak accent wall and the fireplace we added to it; it’s a relaxing area with the added seating.”

Essential to the lifestyle of most El Pasoans, an outdoor living area with exceptional mountain views is a favorite spot for the family to hang out—even during the cooler months. “I wanted an outdoor patio with a natural wood fireplace,” the owner explains. “Usually in the winter I like to burn cedar wood from Las Cruces—it smells amazing.” The spacious patio is also the spot for family events, birthday parties, and holiday gatherings.

For the homeowner, what started as one huge project turned into a lovely, artful home that showcases design trends as well as his family members’ personalities. Though he and Lopez worked hard on the design, he says he often marvels at the amount of work that went into it—from the flooring and cabinetry to the ironwork and custom details. It was all done by local craftsmen, the individuals he praises for truly making their house a home.

“I appreciate everyone who worked on the house,” he says. “I think it’s so important for people to know that this quality of work is available right here in El Paso.”



Nemorio Lopez

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