An El Paso restaurateur’s elegant bachelor retreat
Mike Meyers spent hours, days, years even, trekking his then-vacant land high in the foothills of the Franklin Mountains. During his walks, Meyers contemplated and visualized architectural and design elements and allowed the ideas for his planned new home to percolate. The result of those labors can best be described as a fusion of Spanish Colonial, Tuscan, and Alpine retreat in a 3,537-square-foot residence perched like a medieval castle on the Franklin slopes. The daytime views of El Paso’s Upper Valley and Mt. Cristo Rey are stunning, but nighttime offers a particularly dramatic sight: a billion shimmering lights setting fire to the sister cities of El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico.
Meyers says he sought to strike a balance between rusticity and urbanity. “Not like a mountain cabin, but a house that belongs in the mountains,” is how he characterizes his home. The massive stone fireplace in the living room, Saltillo tile flooring, granite and marble countertops, and all the other natural design elements suggest an affinity to the sparseness of the Chihuahuan Desert environment.
Meyers bought the property in 2005, but architectural plans weren’t finished until early 2011. Construction began soon after, taking nearly a year to complete. Because the house rests on a severe angle of the mountain, a whopping 29,000 tons of fill material was required to create the foundation for the structural platform.
Meyers is a practical man, and his mountainside home is a testament to that sense. He abhors ostentatiousness. Thus, his taste for creative expediency extends to nearly every aspect of the design elements of his home—what he calls a “user-friendly space.”
“When we went to work on the design of this house, I wanted it to be not necessarily an open floor plan, but all usable space,” Meyers says. “I had a very specific idea about this house, and that’s part of the reason I chose the builder that I did.”
Said builder, Dan Ruth of Millennium Homes of El Paso, turned out to be a kindred spirit, and he is equally proud of the final product. He encouraged Meyers’s unlimited participation in the custom home process. “Mike was totally involved in the design and the selection of materials and accessories,” says Ruth. “The house is unique in design, in architecture, and in execution.”
Meyers jokes that being single also permitted him to have enormous input into the most minute design details of his home, including fixtures, paint color selection, tile, granite, marble—even the plants and shrubbery. A native El Pasoan and restaurateur, Meyers has traveled extensively; with a keen eye for detail, he incorporated his favorite elements from countless restaurants, public buildings, and hotel rooms into his design.
The home’s entryway eschews the grandiosity typical of Tuscan architecture in favor of a more inviting space. Transitioning into the front foyer is a courtyard featuring soft plastered walls, an open roof defended by slender dark vigas, and a hardy stone veneer. Light wicker furniture with plump red cushions invites the visitor to linger around a gas fire pit with granite surround. The double front doors depart a bit from the home’s otherwise laid-back vibe: Exquisitely formal, they feature glass and carved wood in a style that’s distinctly Spanish Colonial.
As is often the case with architecture, solving design conundrums is the key to a successful build. Due to limited space and strict building codes, a typical round or kidney-shaped swimming pool was not structurally feasible. Meyers opted instead for a lap pool, a sleek rectangle of shimmering blue just meters from the craggy mountainside. The pool hugs the southern side of the home, serving as both a fitness center for the homeowner and a recreational center for his family and friends.
Abundant windows take advantage of the tremendous views. Ironically, the view of Mt. Cristo Rey lies hidden behind the massive living room stone fireplace. Meyers cleverly attached a real-time camera to the outside wall, and now a perfect view of the famous landmark is as simple as switching on the television to a specific channel. “Sunsets over Mt. Cristo Rey are really spectacular, and I don’t have to miss one, even sitting on my living room sofa,” Meyers says.
Perhaps the design element that best illustrates Meyers’s love of efficiency is the house’s programmable environmental controls. Whether he is lounging on his plush living room sofa sipping a glass of merlot or miles away managing one of his several restaurants, Meyers’s home’s lighting and temperature are easily and conveniently modulated through his smartphone.
Ultimately, Meyers sought—and achieved—a home that suited his desire for both functionality and elegance. With those two essentials achieving equilibrium, the result is a true work of art. Says friend and builder Dan Ruth, “There is really nothing up on that mountain like it.”
Design and Build
Pool and Spa
Tile and Stonework
Lopez Custom Woodworks
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