When visitors comment on the seamless transition from the outdoors to the interior of his cliff-top Jemez Springs home, owner/builder Mark Feldman doesnt even try to suppress his grin.
The compliments are sweet confirmation that Feldman has succeeded in bringing indoors the stark beauty of a rugged New Mexico building site rimmed in Jemez-red bedrock and golden volcanic tuff.
The drama of the site is so great, you want to honor that
natural beauty, says Feldman, founder of Albuquerque-based
High Desert Construction. This house is all about dramatic
Its a very deliberate look designed to give a contemporary, modern feeling, says Feldmans wife, Dede, a state senator. The site is very stark, and the house is in keeping with the site. If you look directly across the canyon, its a sheer cliff. There is no room for frivolities. No room for anything extra. Its a desert sort of look and the desert allows no compromise.
Set on a two-acre lot crisscrossed with two major arroyos that
carry water off the mesa top, the homes very foundation is
sunk into the bedrock that breaks the surface around the building
site. The natural terrain slopes with a differential of 20 feet,
and Feldman is quick to give credit to his gutsy, but careful
local excavator John Kennedy, who took care of much of the preliminary
In the Jemez Valley, the easy, flat lots are gone, says Feldman, who has designed and built nearly a dozen homes in the Jemez area over the past decade. Im not afraid to build on steep, difficult sites.
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