inspired design is all about perspective
East Coast transplants Heather and Bruce passed over coveted lots in their south Las Cruces neighborhood with views of the Organ Mountains, opting for the privacy of a plot tucked among the sand and brush of the desert hills. Without the mountains to distract, this family sees only the quiet beauty of the untamed landscape through the windows in the back of their home. That appreciation of natural simplicity echoes throughout the home that Heather, the university architect at New Mexico State University, designed and built with GL Green & Associates.
Keeping in mind their lifestyle—which includes a 3-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter—Heather focused on stylish functionality and ease of use. “I’ve incorporated a lot of different elements [from] my practice back East that I just wanted to experiment with here,” she explains. While the home is decidedly modern, it doesn’t overlook the rugged and natural beauties inherent to life in New Mexico. Each clean-lined space is softened with an intentional curve, like the sculptural, freestanding bathtub in the master suite. A juxtaposition of earthy woods and natural stones warms the home’s contemporary, metal accents.
The façade, an intriguing mix of contemporary elements—flat roofs, a large overhang, and exposed slate—offsets the use of materials familiar to homes in the area. Heather calls it “a reserved modern.” Inside, the modernist vibe intensifies with an efficient floor plan, intentionally crisp lines, and a neutral color palette dominated by “welcoming grays.” Inside and out, Heather wove a careful narrative joined by repeating shapes, lines, and materials. “The entire house is very open, so we kept everything consistent, from the cabinetry, to the trim, to the colors, to the tile,” she explains. “It was important to have everything run throughout.”
To that end, the cedar and pine ceiling elements on the interior extend outside to the porch overhang. The only exception to Heather’s consistent choice of wood appears on the front entry door. “It’s a knotty pine you would find in this area,” Heather explains. “We purposely left the graining exposed; eventually it will weather really beautifully on the exterior side. It’s my nod to the Southwest, an homage to our new home.”
One of Heather’s favorite features, the aluminum and glass garage door, appears to glow when lit up at night. It’s a concept she borrowed from time working in Virginia, but while the style there was ultramodern with sleek silver metal, for her Southwestern residence Heather chose a warm bronze and repeated it across the exterior window trims, finishes, and hardware. On the interior space, she embraced the more modern look, replicating the concept but with satin nickel.
Compared to other homes in the neighborhood, this one’s size is modest, yet its contemporary layout maximizes space. Heather’s design reduces hallways and includes well-planned storage areas. She also incorporated creative multiuse spaces, like a laundry/mud room that does double duty as an office space as well as a lofted play area that keeps her kids’ messes from immediate sight. After dark, the loft’s front-facing view offers a sea of city lights, a nod to their more urban roots from back East.
The heart of the home, however, is the open concept living space, a large rectilinear room dominated by an electric fireplace at one end and a stylishly efficient kitchen at the other. In the latter, Heather went with low-profile, stainless steel appliances carefully selected for ease of use around busy family and professional lives. The double refrigerator-freezer was purchased with bulk shopping in mind, while the Bosch dishwasher’s third tray creates 33 percent more storage space. In lieu of base cabinetry, outsized drawers accommodate better organization and access. Without the distraction of outlets, which are hidden beneath the kitchen’s cabinetry, a tile backsplash glows with ceramic and stainless steel tiles hand-selected by Heather to amp up the room’s personality.
Wide sliding doors open the living space onto the back patio where concrete slabs lead out to an unusual landscaping choice. Coming from an area where home swimming pools are a rarity, Heather and Bruce haven’t decided if they’d like to include one here. Instead, they’ve used metal edging to outline the rectangular shape of a lap pool in their backyard. It currently serves as a visualization tool, but is also measured and divided for horseshoes, cornhole, and bocce. The geometric proportions harmonize with the home’s overall design, making it an interesting focal point in one of two different outdoor living spaces. (The other is a secluded, half-indoor, half-outdoor courtyard with a fireplace and a 6 x 7–foot sunken spa.)
It all ties together in a design that unifies Heather and Bruce’s urban familiarity with the rustic charm and the slower pace of desert living. “Most of the things in and on the house are really simple,” Heather says. “We used materials that you can get easily, but we experimented and did some things that maybe Las Cruces isn’t used to seeing.” Thinking outside the box elicited a fresh perspective from the architect as well, who notes, “It took seeing things a little differently to make it our own.”
GL Green & Associates
Stone Masters Countertops
Entry Door, Shower Door, and Interior Trim
Rawson Builders Supply
Fireplace and Outdoor Grill
Western Stoves & Fireplaces
Flashing and Sheet Metal
Sheet Metal Products of Southern New Mexico
Gates and Chimney Cap
Fabrication’s Our Initiative
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Tile and Stone Installer
Maravilla Custom Tile