naturally modern in Corrales

living room
View Gallery 12 Photos
living room
butlers pantry
home gym
bathroom chandelier
concrete pads
outdoor fireplace

by Ben Ikenson
photographs by Amadeus Leitner

for love of location a couple tears it all down and rebuilds from scratch

Often with contemporary architecture, the spaces produced can feel impersonal, cold, sterile, museumlike. Such is not the case with Lisa and Todd Kruger’s new home, a palatial, contemporary masterpiece set on nearly two lush acres with stately, 120-year-old cottonwood trees in the idyllic community of Corrales, near the banks of the Rio Grande.

“I think we did a nice job of contrasting the beautiful natural surroundings with a modern but very warm and welcoming home,” says Lisa, who, along with her husband, was closely involved in the design and materials selection processes. “And we feel blessed to be able to enjoy our beautiful surroundings in the home of our dreams.”

In 2006, Todd, an unmarried real estate broker at the time, purchased the property and the 3,000-square-foot, traditional ranch style home that had been there since it was built in the 1950s.

“We wanted something more modern and open.”
— Todd Kruger

“Having been raised in Nebraska, he loved the grass and trees, so his first priority was cleaning up and redoing the yard,” says Lisa, who herself grew up on a sprawling cattle ranch in south central New Mexico.

Lisa and Todd met in Albuquerque in 2010 and were married the following year.

“After our son Preston was born in 2013, the 1950s closed-concept block home no longer met our needs and we started looking to move,” says Todd. “We wanted something more modern and open.”

The couple found a place with beautiful views of the Sandia Mountains overlooking the Rio Grande in an upscale subdivision on Albuquerque’s West Side. They put their Corrales home on the market for just one day before deciding, “there was no place better for us than our current location, so we took it off the market.”

The Krugers, who own a real estate investment company that specializes in flipping homes, consulted with a builder they’d worked with in the past on remodeling their Corrales home. “The place had been remodeled so many times in the past,” says Todd, “and he eventually helped us realize it would cost just as much to simply start over, from scratch.”

So, in February of 2018, the old home was demolished and the next 13 months were devoted to the design and construction of a new home. Because the old home had been level with the irrigation ditch behind the property, the new homesite had to be built up four feet to avoid potential flooding, requiring more than 170 semi-truck loads of rock and dirt fill.

With initial conceptual support by veteran architect Ron Montoya and his grandson Michael and general contracting by Andrew Tricarico, of Tricarico Builders, the Krugers were closely involved throughout the entire undertaking.

“It was a very hands-on process for every detail, both seen and unseen,” says Lisa. “But perhaps one of the most memorable parts was having our church friends over during the framing stage to write Bible verses on the studs and slab.”

Upon the project’s completion they had their dream home – a modern, 5,600 square-foot, solar-powered abode with three bedrooms, each en suite, a self-contained casita and a home gym with hot tub and sauna.

Indeed, a resort-like retreat with plenty of open space, soaring ceilings and natural light, the home welcomes visitors with an expansive and luxurious covered outdoor living area overlooking the lush grounds and old cottonwood trees, an ideal setting for large parties or intimate gatherings.

Inside, the home is divided into two wings that partially enclose a rear courtyard. One includes a spacious office and the casita – a guest quarters with its own kitchen and living room. The other wing includes the master suite which connects to the home gym and spa, a bedroom and adjoining playroom for the Kruger’s son, a semi-open living room with 18-foot ceiling, and a kitchen and dining area, with access to a concealed, fully-functional butler’s pantry.

Throughout, the flooring consists of giant two-by-four-foot slabs of weathered-looking porcelain tile that extends through the entirety of the home, totaling some 8,000 square feet that seamlessly connect the outside with the inside.

“My biggest concern when building was maximizing the beauty of the views and creating indoor-outdoor settings to actually extend the living spaces,” says Tricarico, who is also a personal friend of the Krugers. “In Todd and Lisa’s home, you see this with the wrap-around front outdoor living area as well as the fountain and garden in the courtyard.”

“…there was no place better for us than our current location.”
— Todd Kruger

The orientation of the home and the massive eight-by-ten-foot windows certainly do capitalize on the views of the property and the venerable cottonwoods, as does the ten-foot-high, multi-slide corner door system that opens to the spacious patio.

“We knew we wanted large spaces for entertaining, inside and out, as well as lots of windows and skylights for natural light,” says Lisa.

While the massive windows flood the home with sunlight and furnish commanding views outside, what warms the spaces within is a combination of materials and muted earth tones. All the ceilings and walls, for instance, are finished with a natural clay plaster, which provide a soft counterbalance to the interior’s clean geometry. In the kitchen, the countertops and island are comprised of leathered Taj Majal quartz; the dining area is adorned by a wall of decorative leaf-themed mosaic tilework; and throughout the home, matching walnut veneer built-in closets, floating nightstands and vanities all bring a sleek-yet-rustic, almost Scandinavian, touch.

The Krugers have been living in the place now for 18 months and couldn’t be more pleased.

“It was all worth it,” says Lisa. “When we’re asked what we like best about [the home], we often answer ‘everything.’”

Tricarico Custom Build

Ron Montoya Design Inc.

Builder’s Source Appliance Gallery

Buffet Tile

Cabinetry, Built-ins, Closets, Nightstands, Range Hood
Ultimate Custom Cabinets

El Desierto Granite & Marble

Doors, Sliding Window Wall
Santa Fe Door

Mountain West Sales

Fixtures, Sinks, Tub

Emser Tile

Steve Shelly Landscapes

Tongue & Groove Patio Ceiling
Wood Moulding Specialties

Wall Finishes
Solamente Natural Plaster

Andersen Windows/Chaparral Materials,
Storefront Specialties & Glazing