an ideal plan

living room open to outside
View Gallery 11 Photos
living room open to outside
exterior of home
contemporary open concept kitchen
beverage pantry
wine display
living room
owners suite
hallway built in niches
bathroom detail
spa and pool

by Paula M. Bodah
photographs by Mark William

This builder’s home, an award-winning contemporary dwelling, is a showcase for his nonstop flow of ideas.

For more than 25 years, Mike Martinez, owner of Quality Builders, has partnered with his clients to help them create their custom dream homes. Recently, he turned his talent and attention to designing and building his own home. His innovative and award-winning project is a showcase of his years of experience and portfolio of visionary ideas.

Martinez is clearly more than just a builder. He’s an ideas guy. On any given day, Martinez is constantly thinking of different design ideas. He jokes that the people he works with often tease him about it. “My electrician gives me a hard time, asking where I come up with my crazy ideas,” Martinez says. “I don’t know; they just come to me. I file them away in my head to incorporate in future projects.”

The kitchen has everything a home chef could want, including a large double refrigerator, plenty of storage and an adjacent beverage pantry.

Take a look at the house he constructed for himself on a pie-shaped lot tucked into a cul-de-sac with views of the Sandia Mountains and the city of Albuquerque. From the front entrance, where an oversized pivot door sits under a cantilevered roof, to the chef ’s dream of a kitchen, to the spacious outdoor entertaining area with its pool, spa and putting green, the 3,558-square-foot house is a contemporary masterpiece that wows at every turn.

Martinez took his innovative ideas and layout for the house to Ron Montoya of Ron Montoya Designs to come up with the award-winning final plans. “Contemporary homes are becoming more popular,” he explains. “I wanted clean lines and unique ceiling angles to maximize the views and take advantage of the unique shape of the lot. I wanted something different from what other people are doing.”

His streamlined design arranges the garage, guest bedrooms and master suite in spoke-like fashion around an open-plan living/dining/kitchen area. Although each wing could be its own box, as in other modern houses, here the design brings the various parts of the architecture forward or backward to create visual interest. A mix of materials—wood and metal, stucco and stone—adds a layer of depth and richness not typically found in contemporary architecture.

Martinez designed his living, cooking, dining and outdoor entertaining areas with seamless flow. The kitchen has everything a home chef could want, including a large double refrigerator, plenty of storage and an adjacent beverage pantry (Martinez’s version of a service pantry). Martinez added beautiful form to go with all that function. The island and range hood, both constructed of stainless steel, are wrapped with floating panels of dark-stained hemlock. “I chose hemlock because it’s a very clean wood without knots,” he says. Accent lighting tucked behind the island’s wood panels ramp up the ambience when company comes.

The guest and owner wings sit apart for privacy for both guests and their host. Guest rooms connect with a shared bath space, each enjoying its own private vanity and closet. The design is fresh and crisp in shades of dark walnut, white and sand, with vanity backsplashes in an eye-popping 3-D pattern mosaic tile. Martinez’s own suite holds a generous bedroom with a sitting area, fireplace and custom ceiling details. In the grand, spa-like bath, a freestanding tub holds court against a low wall of metallic brick tile. Glass-paneled walls flank a steam shower with radiant-heated floors. As with the rest of the home, sunlight floods the space.

The magic is in the details throughout this home, and Martinez didn’t overlook a single one—outside or in. Another builder might have left the wall plain as it rounds the corner from the foyer to the living area, for example, but Martinez added interest with open architectural niches finished in venetian-plaster—ideal spaces to display collections or artwork.

In addition, the metallic-tile column that sets off the entry is another special touch that demands attention. “It’s unique,” he says, “because from different angles and in different light it might look black or dark copper or silver metallic.” And, oh, that front door. It’s a 9 -foot-by-5-foot giant that took six men to install, but opens with a gentle push, thanks to the hinge on which it pivots.

In what might just be evidence of Martinez’s most ambitious idea of all, the living room’s two 16-foot glass walls retract into pockets, opening the space completely to the outdoors. Martinez outfitted the patio with the same porcelain tile he used throughout the house, adding to the sense of flow from indoors to out. The expansive patio holds a kitchen with bar seating and a dining area. Next to the spa is a seating area with fire pit and beyond that, a putting green. The swimming pool sports a water feature that adds to the spa-like ambience of the outdoor oasis.

The home is a perfect respite from Martinez’s active life. In addition to his construction firm, he also owns a framing company that services other area builders. With the current hot housing market, there is no slowing down in those areas. In addition, he has served the community as a 23-year veteran of Albuquerque Fire Rescue. As busy as Martinez is, he has a tremendous team of people that work effectively together, keep projects on track and, more importantly, they help him stay grounded.

This spring, Martinez opened his incredible home to showcase his ideas and the craftsmanship of his team in the local Parade of Homes. His home was a parade-goer’s favorite, taking awards in its category for best kitchen, best bathroom, best outdoor living space and the Premier award. Martinez is grateful for the positive feedback from parade visitors, but it’s the feedback from his peers that matters most. He says, “The best compliments came from other top builders around Albuquerque, who saw and appreciated my attention to detail throughout my home.”


Ron Montoya Custom Designs, Inc.

Quality Builders, Inc.

Builders Source Appliance Gallery

SuCasa Staging
Janet Bothne (Artwork)

United Stoneworks

Bathroom Tile/Kitchen Backsplash
Emser Tile

JC Blinds

Gatewood Cabinets

Custom Painting
Lopez Painting (Venetian plaster and paint)

Mountain West Sales

Floor & Decor

Front Door/Sliding Window Wall
Santa Fe Door

Garage Doors
Mid-Valley Door LLC

Metal Fabrication
Pace Metals

Chinos Fountain & More

LED Lighting
Think! Electric

All Seasons Window and Glass