Veteran Las Cruces homebuilders Wayne and Kiki Suggs design their own dream home
Sitting together in their new living room, Wayne and Kiki Suggs can’t help but smile as they describe the process of designing and building their sprawling Pueblo-style home in Las Cruces. With over 30 years of marriage behind them, and nearly as much experience building Southwestern houses for their company, Classic New Mexico Homes, the Suggses are an ideal husband-and-wife team. Kiki is an artist with a knack for integrating vintage and reclaimed finds into a home design; Wayne is a master craftsman with the skills to make a new home feel centuries old.
After decades of building homes with others in mind, designing their own dream house was really pretty simple. “Kiki and I have the same taste,” explains Wayne. “We’ve been designing and building for so long that the design just came together really well.”
They bided their time since purchasing the five-acre Talavera site in 2002, waiting for the perfect set of circumstances. “We’d been saving and looking and planning,” says Wayne. “And dreaming,” adds Kiki.
After a decade of thinking about their fantasy home, the couple say it took less than a week to actually design it. After all, they’d spent years visiting small towns around New Mexico, touring historic homes in the Mesilla Valley, and staying at historic B&Bs, all the while studying New Mexico architecture and gathering ideas.
The home pays tribute to adobes traditionally built in the early 1900s. Authentic treasures can be found in every room. “We wanted the house to feel old, like it had been here for a long time,” says Kiki, who took care to finish out the details with a true vintage feel. The kitchen ceiling is constructed of whitewashed decking, a technique traditionally used in old homes to lighten up a room. Reclaimed hardware graces the cabinetry. The master bathroom was designed around an antique mirror cleverly converted into a door for a hidden linen closet. Many of the light fixtures are so old they still had cloth wiring and had to be rewired. In the backyard, just off the pool, sits an adobe horno, a traditional Pueblo-style baking oven that can be used to make breads, pizzas, and Dutch oven recipes.
One could surmise that a home with so much incorporated history wouldn’t be as functional or efficient as a more modern build, but this marvel is a model of smart building. Woodworking craftsman Greg Duff, who builds nearly all the cabinetry for Classic New Mexico Homes’ projects, is an artist when it comes to making sturdy, new cabinets look beautifully aged. His touch is in every room of this home, and the Suggses admit a renewed appreciation for his talents. “Greg has built a lot of cabinets for our other clients,” says Wayne. “Everybody says how great they are, and we always thought they were beautiful. Now that we’re living here and actually use them, we see how well they work. They are just wonderful.”
Photovoltaic panels and a graywater system allow for guilt-free living and working. The home also includes the office and shop where the duo works side-by-side to make the design magic happen for their customers. While many married couples wouldn’t survive working in such close proximity, Wayne and Kiki thrive on it. “We don’t always agree on everything, that’s for sure,” Kiki laughs, “but we have so much fun.”
Although few and far between, some disagreements naturally arose in their own home project—the style of the powder room being one of the more memorable. “I wanted it to be very Victorian,” explains Kiki, “so I found an 1880s Eastlake dresser for the vanity and restored it.” She then added a tin ceiling dating back to the 1850s, reclaimed from a building in Socorro, and hand-painted the floor with a design relevant to the period. “Wayne wasn’t sure about the room at first, but he came around,” says Kiki, who had to do some compromising herself when she learned about Wayne’s dream amenity.
“I really wanted a swimming pool,” explains Wayne. “I work so hard, and in the middle of the summer I want to come home and just fall in the pool and relax.” After a little bartering, Wayne agreed to sell his vintage, 1962 Fender Stratocaster guitar to pony up the extra cash.
Kiki now admits she enjoys the pool, and that it really wasn’t a hard concession to make given the surroundings. Wayne’s mother, Bobbie Suggs, incorporated a colorful xeriscape befitting the setting and style of the home. A porch dotted with rocking chairs and benches wraps around the entire backside, with an authentic kiva fireplace cozied into a corner. And it’s all uniquely positioned to take full advantage of inspiring views. “You have your Organ Mountain view to the east and your sunset view to the west, all from the same place, which is kind of hard to accomplish,” says Kiki. “But we got it.”
The same could be said for the entire project. Wayne and Kiki “got it” just right, down to the finishes and final details, and one thing they unequivocally agree on is they are in love with the final result. “And we’re never moving again,” adds Wayne.
Design and Build
Cabinetry and Woodwork
Doors and Windows
Pool and Spa
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