Perfection in place
Editor & Associate Publisher

In the 1930s, Albert Simms and Ruth McCormick Simms—two serious power players on the New Mexico scene—had an inspired idea about how to live in Albuquerque, or at least on the fringe. They imagined a country estate, a working farm, and for Ruth especially, a center for politics, art, and culture: their perfect place.

They found the perfect partner in John Gaw Meem, an architect inspired equally by a sense of place—20th-century New Mexico—and by human need and aspiration. Meem knew he was creating art in bricks and mortar. Excited by his clients’ lofty ambitions, he drew the building widely acclaimed one of his finest, the stunningly grand Territorial Revival composition of La Quinta, which would host balls and other public events, an art collection, and a library. Across the lawn, Meem lovingly rendered a charming, authentically interpreted remodel of the existing historic ranch house, a low-slung, modest Pueblo-style home. It’s a lush, sprawling, diverse, lived-in, fully realized hacienda, as comfortable in its maturity as your favorite uncle.

Master work, sure, but it’s not architecture alone that makes Los Poblanos Ranch on Rio Grande Boulevard a magic spot. That sense of enchantment derives from the intention and attention of both architect and residents, right down through the current owners, Penny and Armin Remby. They’re running Los Poblanos as a bed and breakfast, lavender farm, and venue for public and private events. The place still oozes an anachronistic, pastoral gentility. As I spent hours there with photographer Jack Parsons, I was struck by its perfection. Everywhere I looked, I saw something beautiful: the buildings, the peacocks, the trees, the views of the Sandia Mountains framed by a Meem-drawn corner, the rows of lavender in the farm fields.

 

Photo © Jack Parsons
See Home of a hundred perfections

Because I wanted Los Poblanos for myself—in fact, I’ve wanted it since I was 12—I had to wonder, how do you find one of these? Or buy it? Or create it? After many hours of ruminating about this place, it occurred to me that these questions explain the motivation behind the Homes of Enchantment Parade, an event that draws thousands of people to central New Mexico to tour a hundred new houses in practically any setting you can imagine, from mountain foothills to new neighborhoods to valley hideaways. We’re all looking for the same thing, a place that reflects back to us our best idea of home.