kitchens we love

Old World Elegance

Mark William Photography

Cooking for a crowd

Whether it’s designed to or not, the kitchen always ends up as the de facto gathering place in the home. This award-winning Corrales kitchen, built by Norm Schreifels of Sun Mountain Construction, was very purposefully designed to accommodate a large, extended family and a rotating file of hungry guests. “When they cook, they cook!” says Schreifels. Echoing the sumptuous, Tuscan flavor of the rest of the home, the kitchen features custom, knotty alder cabinetry topped with deeply veined Chocolate Bordeaux granite; a brick-lined ceiling cove; oil-rubbed bronze fixtures; and a custom copper hood. A walk-in pantry is tucked behind the range wall, and a butler’s pantry keeps clutter in the main kitchen out of sight. In addition to ample counter space, there are two huge islands, each with a sink and ample prep and seating space to accommodate the crowd that inevitably gathers to cook, dine, and socialize.

Builder: Sun Mountain Construction,; Cabinetry: Wild Wood Cabinetry & Design; Granite: United Stoneworks,; Appliances: Builders Source Appliance Gallery,; Pendant Lighting: Turn On Lighting: Sinks & Fixtures: Doc Savage; Backsplash Subway Tile: Stonewood Flooring,


Southwest Sophistication

Photograph by Jonathan Tercero–Narrative Media

Jewel in the crown

The remodel of Kathryn and Les Garson’s Santa Fe kitchen started with one very special appliance. When they moved from California to New Mexico, the Garsons brought with them a cream-colored, duel-fuel La Cornue range. “It’s like a piece of jewelry for the kitchen,” Kathryn notes. “Everything backed into that one piece.” Working with Boni Armijo of Building Adventures Unlimited and interior architect Savannah Montgomery, the Garsons knocked out a load-bearing wall in order to open the kitchen to the family room, cladding beams in ¼-inch steel to replace the support and reorienting the entire layout of the kitchen to focus on the La Cornue. The goal was a very rustic feel, handily achieved with the addition of a butcher block–topped island, copper sinks, custom cabinets packed with functionality and specialized use, and a beautiful painted tile backsplash that brings a sophisticated elegance to this Southwest-style space.

Builder: Building Adventures Unlimited,; Interior Architect: Savannah Montgomery, Montgomery Home; Appliances: Builders Source Appliance Gallery,; Countertops: Captain Marble; Cabinets and Butcherblock Countertops: Wood Design


Fun + Family-Friendly

Photograph by Peter Ogilvie

A bold new look

When life gave Kris and Tiphini Axtell lemons, they whipped up some lemonade. Water damage stepped up the timeline for remodeling their home in Santa Fe’s Casa Solana neighborhood, and one of the areas renovated was the kitchen. With four kids in the house, the Axtells wanted something bright, bold, and modern in that well-used space. Architect and contractor Carlos Kinsey changed up the layout a bit to include a functional island with an ice maker and kid-height microwave drawers, a full-sized refrigerator, and a full-sized freezer. Two backsplash walls pop with geometric Cle concrete tile. “The tile makes such a statement that we needed to make everything else kind of neutral,” Kinsey explains. Incorporating white made the most sense in that regard, and the team employed it in the simple shelves, the exposed serveware, the downward-facing sconces, the countertops, and the carefully placed upper cabinets. But how fun is this: The lower cabinets are painted a rich teal—visually suggestive, says Kinsey, of a waterline.

Architect and Builder: Kinsey Architecture & Construction; Appliances: Builders Source Appliance Gallery,; Countertops and Cabinetry: H and S Craftsmen/Counter Intelligence; Windows: Pella Windows & Doors,


Contemporary luxe

Photograph by Liz Lopez

Gray, Gold, gorgeous

Tammy Grady Thornton thinks about houses a lot. As one of the principals of RayLee Luxury Homes, she sweats the details for her discerning clients. So when it came to building her own home, she knew exactly what she wanted. “I craved light, bright, and airy,” Grady Thornton says. “My home is truly a sanctuary for me. It makes me feel instantly relaxed, especially with three kids and working full-time in this industry.” The kitchen in her Corrales home is especially stress-reducing, in a soothing palette of whites and grays with subtle gold accents. A gorgeous, tongue and groove wood hood, stained in a natural gray wash, is Grady Thornton’s Southwest take on shiplap. Bold, spherical pendants hang above the nearly 17-foot-long island, which is topped with Calcutta Gold quartz counters and has a built-in wine fridge. It can seat up to six comfortably, but with stools removed offers even more functionality for entertaining, which Grady Thornton does often. “It’s perfect,” she says, “for those standing-around-the-island type of parties.”

Builder: RayLee Luxury Homes; Appliances: Builders Source Appliance Gallery,; Countertops: Stone Systems; Flooring & Backsplash Tile: Ray’s Flooring; Lighting: Turn On Lighting; Sinks: Plumb-Mechanical


French Country Charm

Photograph by Chris Corrie

view to a thrill

There’s not a Talavera tile in sight in this lovely Santa Fe kitchen, a collaboration between architect and contractor Kim Unger and interior designer Martha Braun. A creamy palette with golden limestone accents speaks to a warm, French country vibe, which works beautifully with wide-plank white oak floors and unstained, Southwest-style coved ceilings. Finished in a dark mustard hue to set it apart from the ivory custom cabinetry, the large, marble-topped island is counter—not bar—height, for a more intimate dining experience, and most appliances are discreetly covered to re-create the feel of une cuisine in the sunny French countryside. One glance out the arched picture window, however, belies that sense of place. The majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains are of course wholly New Mexican, rising into view like a three-dimensional mural to be enjoyed from almost every vantage point in this warm, inviting space.

Design & Build: Kim Unger, Architect and Unger Corporation; Interior Designer: Martha Braun; Appliances: Builders Source Appliance Gallery,; Cabinetry: Ernest Thompson; Countertops: Arizona Tile; Lighting Fixture: Allbright & Lockwood; Flooring: RL Marek & Co.; Windows: JELD-WEN


Modern FarmHouse

Photograph by Kim Jackson

singing the blues

A renovation of their living room kicked off a kitchen remodel in the Albuquerque home of Guido and Leeann Kemp. The Kemps worked with interior designer Patti Harrell Hoeck, who felt the classic and timeless blue and white theme of the living room might resonate well in the kitchen, too. “It was a natural transition,” says Harrell Hoeck. “It made sense for the house to have a vernacular.” In the interest of convenience, only the doors and drawers of the crisp white raised panel cabinets were replaced. The countertops are new, though: engineered stone that reads like concrete, and warm walnut on the island. But it’s the cobalt and white patterned Talavera tile that defines this space. Deliberately sourced from multiple vendors to add diversity to the patterns, the tile forms counter-to-ceiling backsplashes on two walls, with a subtle pale blue tile, cut into tiny mosaic pieces at the designer’s request, breaking up the Talavera. The owners’ own collectibles and family heirlooms (in blue and white, naturally) grace the counters and shelves of a kitchen that successfully balances, says Harrell Hoeck, “what’s refined and what’s rustic.”

Interior Designer: Patti Harrell Hoeck, Patrician Design; Countertops: Rocky Mountain Stone,; Faucet: Doc Savage