outside in and inside out

This corner window design became the catalyst for several other design ideas throughout the home.
View Gallery 10 Photos
This corner window design became the catalyst for several other design ideas throughout the home.
open living room kitchen dining
living area
open conceppt kitchen with service pantry
waterfall wooden countertops
floating vanity
primary bathroom

by Vicki Martinez
photographs by Fotovan

in the foothills of the Sandias, extraordinary architectural elements and superb style sense capture the essence of New Mexico

Before the start of their high desert home build, David and Havi Graeber lived in Scottsdale and spent many, many months touring Arizona homes, picking the design elements important to them. During a personal trip to Phoenix, the Graeber’s builder, Scott Ashcraft of Las Ventanas Homes in Albuquerque, took time out to visit several homes with them to get a first-hand sense of what the clients wanted.

“This was a true design-build,” says Ashcraft. “I worked with the client on initial style ideas and basic layouts, then we met with Ron Montoya for the final plan design. There were a few iterations as we incorporated several of those elements [from Arizona] into the home we ultimately designed.”

One of those design elements is the can’t-miss front corner window with its sculptural impact that sets the home apart among other contemporary Southwestern-style homes. It foreshadows the fine attention to detail both outside and in the home. To achieve this look, aluminum cladding on the outside and wood on the inside inside wrap a three-inch round steel support post, integrated into the design. The cladding is evident in other exterior details, and the wood accents carry throughout the home. “During the design process, it became evident that we wanted that stacked look of the windows to incorporate a horizontal element in the design from outside,” says Ashcraft.

Cantilevered overhangs at the front of the house, over the garage and above the front entryway, underscore the crisp straight-lined aesthetic derived from the front window design. The overhangs, a black powder-coated galvanized metal, not only echo the horizontal accents but serve a secondary purpose, moonlighting as a subtle light source. Fitted with downward-pointing recessed lights, the overhangs emanate a soft evening illumination without creating light pollution or disturbing neighbors.

lines, layers and light
The sharp, linear lines of the exterior carry to the inside of the home but are softened by warm wood accents, layered textures and plenty of natural light. Fieldstone, prominent on the home’s front façade, wraps a floor-to-ceiling column, adding an earthy, textural component to the great room.

Rather than traditional exposed beams, paneled ceilings of fine-grained, softwood pine add a natural warmth throughout. The same ceiling treatment adorns the outdoor patio covering creating cohesiveness between the home and backyard.

An additional detail, one that allows the Graebers to fully bring the outside into their home, is a set of sliding glass doors that open from the dining room into the front courtyard. “The weather is so beautiful much of the year that we wanted to bring that into our home,” says Havi. With the pocket door opened to the outdoor patio and sliding glass doors opened to the courtyard, a brilliant New Mexico breeze blows through the house.

“The weather is so beautiful much of the year that we wanted to bring that into our home.” — Havi Graeber

And, with a final nod to what Havi jokingly refers to as “indoor-outdoor confusion,” the outdoor metal-and-light overhangs make a slightly altered appearance in the bathrooms with a warm undercabinet glow that softens sleek, right-angled cabinets. “Lifted twelve inches off the floor, we put accent LED lighting under the floating cabinets to lighten the feel but emphasize the modern look,” says Ashcraft.

great spaces for gatherings and get-togethers
Despite the large open-concept space, each section of the great room has a comfortable, inviting feel made possible by the perfect combination of materials, colors and textures.

In the living room, the fireplace banco extends past the fireplace, anchoring to an adjacent wall. Sturdy enough to provide additional seating for guests, the offset horizontal feature conveys a smooth, rusted-steel vibe.

During the design process, the Graebers spent a lot of time conceptualizing their kitchen. “We thought about the way we live,” says Havi, “and that’s how we set it up. In our family, everyone congregates in the kitchen no matter what we’re doing. And we all like to ‘put our hands in the pot.’ We have wonderful cooking spaces for everyone—our two daughters and son and my husband and me. We can each have our own spaces but still cook together.”

The Graeber’s choose a dual-space kitchen design because “when you have your kitchen as part of a great room, you still want it to look clean and dressy,” explains Havi. Most of the “messiness” happens behind the scenes in the back kitchen or baker’s pantry.

Emphasizing the kitchen as a hub of the home sits an exquisitely crafted, custom-made statement piece island. Juxtaposed between brushed-metal high-backed barstools and the sleek island cabinetry with quartz countertop is a lightly stained, solid post oak waterfall countertop. This visual masterpiece features a rivulet of burnt-orange epoxy flowing down the center, adding a vibrant pop of color.

This and other wood accents soften the sharp lines and add warmth to a kitchen with many modern touches, while reflective surfaces—high-gloss laminate cabinets, quartz countertops and glossy ceramic backsplash tiles—embolden the sunshine, bathing the area in brightness.

Lifted twelve inches off the floor, we put accent LED lighting under the floating cabinets to lighten the feel but emphasize the modern look.
— Scott Ashcraft

The great room is a wonderland of windows, celebrating the New Mexican sunshine. Clerestory windows installed above the 16-foot-wide, 10-foothigh pocket door act as additional conveyors of light while calling attention to the home’s horizontal accents. “Windows were important design elements in many of the homes we toured in Arizona,” Havi says. “We think New Mexico has some of the most amazing views so we made sure to take advantage of every single view from inside the home with a lot of windows.”

A few steps beyond the pocket door reveals the glory of the area and an amazing (secret) aesthetic. Unless it’s pointed out, it’s easy to miss this design concept because of what’s not there: the northwest corner of the covered patio is without a support post. “To eliminate that post and float that corner of the house, we cantilevered two heavy steel I-Beams,” explains Ashcraft. To maximize the majestic views of the Sandia Mountains, the Graeber’s designed a picturesque panorama, uninterrupted.

“Scott and his team were very collaborative, and he was able to merge our design ideas with his technical knowledge to get us this beautiful space,” Havi says. “The house accomplished what we set out to accomplish. We use it the way we intended.”


Las Ventanas Construction

Home Designer
Ron Montoya Designs Inc.

Builders Source Appliance Gallery

Bathroom/Kitchen Countertops
Creative Countertops / Quartz

Bathroom Tub/Sinks/Fixtures
Doc Savage Supply

Beams/Tongue & Groove Ceiling
Builders FirstSource

Blinds/Flooring Tile & Wood

Visions in Cabinetry

Mountain West Sales

Front Door/Sliding Window Wall
Pella Window and Door

Gates/Metal Fabrication
Say Ironworks

Interior Doors
Pat’s Doors

AccessAbility Design & Construction, LLC

Bright Ideas, Inc.