Artistic Life: Award-Winning Collaborations

Artistic Life: Award-Winning Collaborations

November 5 – Every August, the much-anticipated Parade of Haciendas takes place over two weekends. I love seeing all the great new products and ideas from the many participating builders, but I really love seeing the finishes and interior design ideas. It’s an event that speaks to my inner designer lizard mind.

This year was just as fun as years past. Soaring ceilings in a contemporary beauty, a Northern New Mexico gem, 3rd floor party patio with stunning views of the mountain range: it’s incredibly impressive what these builders and designers accomplish each year, including this year’s Grand Hacienda winner, Green Star Builders. Their entry, a custom private residence in the historic East Side, was unique in terms of square footage, finishes and overall aesthetic. It’s a home you feel you can move into and don’t need to do anything to. Just bring your bags and your cat and/or dog.

This home appealed to me for many reasons. A Zen-like courtyard hints at the wonders that await inside. When you walk in, there is an immediate feeling of creative thinking. I could go on for days, but the real reason I loved this house was because I was able to see how much the homeowners’ wishes were respected in every decision. It absolutely makes a difference when you are designing and building a home for a specific client. It brings a connection with the customer into the mix. It is clear that a tremendous amount of care and attention has gone into designing the home for this reason.

I was lucky enough to be given a tour through the house by Jesse Grace, owner of Green Star Builders. I’ve got the bottom level of the “why” of it all. This house was built for his old friends. They knew how he worked, that he listened and listened to him. The clients had been on several trips to Japan, and wanted to build a Japanese-inspired custom home, but did not want to ignore the eclectic beauty of the Santa Fe style. Since the house is located in the historic district, Jesse had to conform to the exterior requirements while finding a way to subtly combine the Japanese aesthetic with the interior. Next, careful choices had to be made regarding finishes, cabinetry, built-ins, landscaping, etc. So, a team was built: interior designer Stephanie Hollingsworth, designer Stephen Bailey, and of course, Jesse Grace.

The sturdy entry has a custom entry door made of steel and vertical fir, a floating entry bench, and a custom-designed sconce. There is a layered wood-frame ceiling in all the main spaces and shoji screen-inspired ceilings in the bedrooms. The custom cabinetry is white oak, and there’s a floating powder room counter with bronze butterfly inlays, a Japanese sento (bath) and more. Everything had to be conceived first, then designed, determined, managed and achieved. Jesse and Stephanie believe the success of the design was because they worked musically, allowing everyone in the team to be heard. No ego. Just trust, respect, and the ‘inclusion’ of the team members in the process of designing, building and finishing this home. They put their heart and soul into it, and you can feel it.

Another huge factor in the home’s success is the openness of the floor plan. Designed by Stephen Bailey, it looks good. By the way, I feel like there’s a difference here between an open floor plan concept and openness because of the design choices. There are smart design choices, such as a walk-in pantry that includes a refrigerator and ovens. This gives the kitchen a custom feel, as if it were part of the custom furniture for the dining room and living room.

The house is not very large, and neither are the two bedrooms, but somehow they fit perfectly and flow from the main living space. (Yes, I realize I keep using the word “correct.”) Jesse referred to this floor plan as not having any rooms in a “space” and called the house’s design “correctly sized.” The concept of right size works here too because the outdoor spaces become part of the living areas, giving the house a tremendous feeling of spaciousness and openness. There are beautiful patio doors that simply disappear, a koi pond, custom post-beam steel patio details, and beautiful landscaping. And again, working together and respecting each other’s ideas is why.

Jesse called the care that goes into the home “folding origami.” This seems to be a concept that works. Although Jesse is strict and a perfectionist, he is resilient, Stephanie said. He controls the schedule and still allows time for a careful study process. He doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty soldering and making custom wood sculptures. He seems like a great leader.

I’ve mentioned collaboration before, but this house is a real success because of it. Kudos to the team. I hear homeowners love the results!

Artistic Life: Award-Winning Collaborations

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