top of the club
Picacho Hills Country
Las Cruces, NM
2125 SF - Design & Build, Spec House
reprinted below from: Better Homes and Gardens® BUILDING IDEAS Magazine, Summer 1986
Our winner in the 1,600-2,400 square foot category hails from Las Cruces, New Mexico. It merges two indigenous styles - the fifties ranch and the Indian pueblo. Like its adobe forerunners, this house is attuned to its environment. Big windows on the south side open up the main living spaces to the winter sun, and broad overhangs shade the windows in the summer.
Part of the living room bows out to form a semi-circular sun-room. Windows in the bowed wall track the sun throughout the day; wider overhangs on the east and west sides of the wall fend off the sun in the morning and late afternoon during the summer months. Operable sections near the bottoms of the windows can be opened to let in the desert breeze, which cools down nicely after the sun sets. In cold weather, Trombé walls flanking the sun-room deliver solar warmth to the dining area on one side and the master bedroom on the other.
An imaginative use of color blends the house with its desert setting. Wide bands of soft beige divide the exterior walls into rocklike strata. In the living area, sandstone-hued ceramic tile covers the sun-room floor and the steps leading to the entry hall. Soft pinks and violets of the New Mexico sunset line the cutout openings between the living and dining areas and tint the exposed beams that support the ceiling in the dining room.
Open space abounds in the active areas of the house, yet each room is clearly defined. A change in floor level and the cutout partition channel traffic around the living area, creating an island of relaxation without isolating the adjoining spaces.
An oak baluster between the living room and the sunroom frames glass panels that shield the sunken living room from drafts while preserving a panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley through the sunroom windows. Native stone on the fireplace wall helps moderate indoor temperatures by storing excess warmth or coolness until it's needed. A glass door at each end of the sun-room opens to the 35-foot-long rear deck.
Ample storage space and counter space line the kitchen on three sides, forming a U-shaped work area around the center island. One end of the U makes a 90-degree turn next to the traffic corridor, forming a wet bar/buffet that eases serving chores for beverages and sit-down dinners.
Skylights, a greenhouse window above the sink, and an extra-high ceiling add cool, airy spaciousness in the work area. Tinted glazing in the skylight turns midday sunlight into a rosy glow that's complemented by two-toned laminate on the countertops and the lavendar-hued soffit above the wet bar.
Colored like the pale peach of a desert sunset,
this contemporary Southwest adobe blossoms atop a hill,
offering views of the Rio Grande Valley and surrounding mountains.
Passive solar by design, it is indeed a flower that thrives on sunlight.
Bright home designs don't just look good,
they interact with the environment, almost organically.
Architect Michael Levy, who designed the brimmed beauty, seems to be an adherent to this philosophy. His 2,125 square-foot stuccoed home makes the most of the light and warmth of the intense New Mexico sunshine, while taking full advantage of the panoramic splendor of the surrounding desert landscape.
reprinted from: Better Homes and Gardens® HOME PLAN IDEAS Magazine, Spring 1987