$1,795,000 - Surrounded by traditional adobe architecture in the heart of Taos, this gem of contemporary architecture embodies both artistic vision and contemporary design.
MODERN ART IN THE HEART OF TAOS
Surrounded by historic buildings and traditional Taos adobe architecture, this gem of contemporary architecture embodies both artistic vision and contemporary design. Located within walking distance from the Taos Plaza, the compound sits on three lush, park-like acres near the end of Morada Lane, adjacent to the historic Mabel Dodge Lujan House and home of the late Taos artist Victor Higgins. Navigating the narrow lane to the property is a classic Taos experience, conjuring images of times past. You know when you’ve arrived at this “Modern Adobe” and living-art space, which is in a class by itself: suspended walkways, floating circular decks, massive skylights, angled planes, high curved ceilings and an indoor water feature. From its unique and beautiful architecture to the meticulously manicured grounds, water features and sculpture, the entire property is a work of art.
MAIN HOUSE Made of both traditional and modern materials, the “modern adobe” main house was designed by world renowned architect Jeff Harnar of Santa Fe and artist-owner Charles Henningsen. Built in 1990 as both the artist’s residence and gallery, the space has both a grand flair and an intimate sense. The walls are built of steel beam reinforced cement with exterior adobe appeal. The home is designed with excellent passive solar gain and outfitted with radiant heating in the floors. The interior walls are finished with stained Italian fresco plaster in tasteful pastels reflecting the Southwest pallet and accented with clear glass (block and windows) and silver highlights (railings and fixtures).
Floors feature English and Spanish marble and finely finished oak wood. In-set, low voltage halogen lighting is specifically designed to illuminate featured artwork on the walls and tastefully light the space itself. In the first and second floor gallery hallways, glass brick lights are embedded in the marble floors. This home-gallery also boasts six fireplaces and five exterior doors, wrap-around balcony, master and guest bedroom and bath, and outdoor patio, walk-in storage and closets.
KITCHEN AND BREAKFAST NOOK The kitchen is finished with whitewashed wood cabinets and drawers, granite tile counter top and back splash with matching granite island. There is a double steel sink, hidden outlets under glass front cabinets, built-in wine rack and brushed steel, high-end appliances that include a Dacor gas range (made in America), SubZero fridge (also made in America), and a Gaggenau oven. A pantry provides more storage and hide-away hook-ups for gas/electric washer and dryer. There is proper cooking ventilation and above-cabinets and overhead lighting as well as windows. Glass brick and four vertical windows are part of the passive solar design and also provide an aesthetic backdrop for an exotic indoor garden with stone fountain in the kitchen’s informal dining area. The kitchen exits to the hallway, living room, and back patio with a small steel sink and lockable liquor cabinet by patio entrance.
MAIN LIVING ROOM, GALLERY AND DINING AREA The grand, high ceilings of the main living space and gallery feature custom-sculpted, blue laminated beams above and give it an almost cathedral-like feeling. A four-foot skylight runs the entire length of this room, letting in lovely natural daylight. Below, in this open plan space are the dining area and central living room area with fireplace and, perfect for dinner parties and receptions or quiet evenings. Fine hand crafted wood built-in shelving units are tucked between deliberate wall space designed to showcase art. An “exposed” staircase with custom, sculpted steel railings leads to the second floor and wrap-around balcony looking down onto the living and dining areas below. Floor to ceiling drapery mediates light from the the passive solar, southwest-oriented windows, perfect for sunset viewing.
MASTER BEDROOM AND BATH The master bedroom features oak flooring, a small Kiva fireplace, his and her closets, swamp cooler and a beautiful, full-wall built-in wood trastero with double doors made of inlaid burl wood, stained dark blue-green. South-facing French doors open onto a second-story outlook. The master bathroom features his and her sinks, a “walk-down” tub, open shower and a glass wall divider. A reflective wall of mirrors, personal lighting, gold Kohler fixtures, a black and teal color motif and Spanish marble floor give this room style.
CONTEMPLATION ROOM Located
on the third floor, this special room provides a bird’s eye
view of the famous Taos skies, mountains and landscape. A restful space for quiet
contemplation, it has
marble floors and a glass pyramid-shaped
“skylight” embedded in the floor overlooking the second floor enclave.
LIBRARY - STUDY
The west end of the compound features a quintessential library-study with oak wood flooring, floor to ceiling built-in wood bookshelves and large windows in between bookshelves. The study exits out to the covered front patio and main front entry area and surrounding grounds.
Tucked away on the North side of the building is this convenient little office, a comfortable place to keep your office work, computer and equipment. Its high ceilings give the small room a spacious feel and the large windows let in an abundance of gentle northern light.
STUDIO Designed as a 2,500 foot, one of a kind, state-of-the-art darkroom and studio, this extraordinary space has a separate entrance with its own marble entry way. Constructed primarily of cement, the studio also has large windows to let in natural light and glass brick walls for light exchange. Studio amenities include kitchenette and full bathroom, sinks in what was the “chemical room” and a full studio ventilation and heating system.
GROUNDS The landscape design of this property embraces and highlights the natural beauty of its location with water features and a park-like abundance of trees and grass. The groomed grounds enfold the main compound and outbuildings in natural beauty. The property hosts a seasonally flowing “Acequia Madre” (part of the traditional, regional irrigation network) which flows from the nearby mountains, to a year-round stream and sizeable fishpond. Large native and exotic trees shade the grassy grounds, outdoor seating areas, patios and outdoor hot tub.
MAIN ENTRANCE & PATIO
The covered, sculptural, main front entrance and patio of the main compound greets visitors with striking architectural forms and beautiful water feature.
ROOFTOP OVERLOOK PATIO
The partially covered second story patio features artful railings, pebbled tile floor and built-in Bar-B-Q grill and is equally suited for quietly enjoying Taos sunsets or hosting rooftop parties.
OUTDOOR HOT TUB
Up a short path and across a small bridge over the acequia is the 1000 gallon, semi-covered hot tub, hand-built by a local Santa Fe craftsman.
Although, I have been aware of Chuck Henningsen’s art for a while, it wasn’t until he had created his masterpiece that I appreciated his artistic vision. Ironically his masterpiece or the flagship of his works was not a colorful and striking photographic piece that he is renowned for, it was his home/studio and repository for his graphic art. Chuck’s vision brought to life by well-known and award winning architect Jeff Harner who has created an architectural masterpiece and a fitting showcase for Chuck’s artwork. This home has become the best example of Taos’ new style and has coined the term “contemporary adobe”. This avant-garde design has become a groundbreaking architectural contribution to Taos’ residential real estate landscape; in fact the term “contemporary adobe style” has found its way as an addition to join the approved architectural styles for the Taos Historic District design guidelines. Those who find contemporary architecture too stark, will be pleasantly surprised by the softening effect of pastel colors and feminine curves that mingle hand in hand with the modern design as well as the immaculately manicured grounds with pond, stream, waterfall and other calming features reminiscent to a Japanese garden. The adjacent and untouched Pueblo lands add yet another level of unique Taos tranquility. As a long time builder, I can’t imagine how much it would cost today to replicate the amazing architectural details, the massing of many varied materials all of which have been masterfully blended into a one of a kind gem of a home. I consider this truly an unrivaled residential refuge in downtown Taos.
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