$2,500,000 - The home had to stand on its own artistically and have movement, even if no furnishings or art were placed inside. The result is a home that can only be called livable art.
MAIN HOUSE - No English word can adequately describe the attraction the seller of this home felt about the property on which it sits even before deciding to buy it. But one Spanish word does so perfectly: querencia - a place of serenity and comfort, a spot to which a person is inextricably drawn repeatedly because only there is that person truly his or herself.
"There was something pulling my soul that told me this was home." the seller said. "I loved the land, I loved the views. There was something that was just so wonderful about the freedom and vastness."
The house she and her husband would build in collaboration with renowned local architect, Bill Hoffman, would have to be equally natural and remarkable beyond words. Details evolved day by day during construction with one guiding principle: the home had to stand on its own artistically and have movement, even if no furnishings or art were placed inside.
The result is a home that can only be called livable art.
Interior - Sand-colored diamond plaster walls combined with 96 windows and 18 skylights create a luminescent ambience throughout the home, which has little need of direct lighting. Designed to bring the natural surroundings inside, every main room has a view of Taos Mountain, if not surrounding gardens, too, either through glass doors or windows, all of which are screened and can be opened.
Sharp angles are kept to a minimum, replaced by curves where possible. Rounded stair-step half-walls, arched doorways and pass-throughs, a barrel vaulted ceiling down one corridor, and even coved plaster ceilings between round vigas create an architectural flow that gives a cashmere-like softness to the interior’s hard surfaces.
Floor tile throughout is made of quarried limestone tumbled in Italy but that originated from beneath a historic French vineyard. It is said that some fine red lines in the otherwise neutral-colored stone are the result of the area’s red grapes. (Leftover tiles were used to make a dog shower in a mud/storage room to the right of the home’s main entry.)
Custom cabinets in bedrooms, baths, the kitchen, and even the pantry and closets are made of blonde-colored maple, in keeping with the lightness of the home.
Kitchen/Dining Areas - Though generously outfitted and large enough for any gourmet cook, the kitchen will welcome, rather than intimidate, those of average culinary abilities.
Sub-zero appliances, dual ovens and a central cabinet-style island with a second built-in sink make this area user-friendly whether cooking for one or 100, while providing clear views to a back portale and the mountains beyond.
Its location in the heart of the home, where it is open to the main living area, a formal dining space as well as a breakfast nook surrounded by windows and a kiva fireplace, makes serving all spaces simple and prevents “cook isolation” from family and friends.
The kitchen’s butcher block island, handmade from the hardest wood of a maple tree, also allows others to socialize nearby or help with prep work. Limestone countertops and glass-fronted cabinets add a subtle luxury that fits perfectly with both the casual ambience of the breakfast nook and the more formal dining space that can accommodate a long table.
Vented skylights that open and close electronically between the living room and dining areas flood this main portion of the home with natural light and fresh air.
A walk-in pantry has custom cabinets like the rest of the home, in addition to electric outlets that could be used for a wine cooler or other refrigeration.
Master Bedroom - Walk through a cozy reading nook cradled by two diamond plaster bookcases and into the master bedroom, which has its own corner kiva fireplace. A glass door opens to a “secret garden” with a water feature, all made private by high surrounding walls. A picture window takes in mountain views as well as an aspen grove and acequia that runs through the back of the property.
Master Bath - The garden is also visible from the bathroom, which has a corner jetted tub, separate glass shower and dual vanity, adjacent to a clothes closet that resembles a full-sized room with floor-to-ceiling custom cabinets. They are but one example in the home of function meeting art. Flat pull-out shelves allow for easy folding or laying out of clothes, and tight glass panels keep dust away from hanging garments. It is all next to the main laundry area, which has its own custom wood ironing board that folds up onto the wall near the washer and dryer.
Guest Room - Visitors also receive resort treatment in their room, placed with privacy in mind at the opposite end of the home from the master suite and away from the living and kitchen areas. Here again, a glass door provides stunning views and access to the back portales, gardens and a pond area. A cushioned banco next to a picture window provides comfortable seating for reading, relaxing or quiet conversation.
A laundry area for guests is hidden behind more custom cabinets, closet lights come on automatically when the doors are opened (as they do in all closets of the home), and a guest bathroom with a view of the front orchard contains a “tea-for-two” tub for romantics.
Office - This space, the unique placement of which takes in views of both the front and the back of the property, has been used by the owners as an office, but it could easily be transformed into a third bedroom. A closet space is cleverly outfitted with custom phone jacks and electric outlets to hide electronics, but clothes racks could easily be installed. A powder room is conveniently located just around the corner.
GUEST HOUSE - An outdoor path of Arizona flagstone leading to a two-tiered stairway guides visitors in style and comfort from the main house to the guest house even during colder months as radiant heat has been installed in those outside areas as well as inside.
Situated above a garage, this studio home feels like a luxurious treehouse, hugged closely on its north portale by a globe willow and Austrian pines.
A south portale offers expansive views of the front of the property. Between the two portales, this retreat, modeled after the main home in its architectural details, light and color, contains a full-sized kitchen and bath, custom cabinets, a Murphy bed, a large central living area surrounded by windows, its own clothes washer and dryer, as well as an antique-looking corner gas space heater. Unlike the main home, floors are made of bleached walnut.
Artist Studio - Located beneath the guest house, this space is ideal for either the professional artist or a dabbler in creativity, whether working with paint and canvas, wood or clay. Let your imagination and inner child (or a few young children) play freely, while still having access to the functional and practical - custom cabinets and countertops, a half-bath and a door to the garage for additional storage of materials.
Yoga Studio - When it’s time for meditation, aerobics, yoga, Pilates or dance, put down a few mats on the bamboo floors, and let the mind and body be fully present. A window fills the space with outdoor light, so even here, the connection with the outdoors is not lost.
OUTDOOR LIVING - Few properties exude a sense of harmony between the inside of the home and its surroundings as gracefully as this one. Usually there is some disconnect. But due to the natural light that floods the interior, a oneness with the outdoors is created. Multiple sets of 9-foot French doors lead from the living area to a back portale with a kiva fireplace and cushioned banco in one corner, while a rounded flagstone patio that extends well beyond the house walls provides an expanse for multiple pieces of outdoor furniture. The space is perfect for intimate parties or entertaining a large number of guests.
An acequia runs through the back of the property, and when dry, fills with California poppies. Two footbridges of wood decking welcome a stroll to the farthest part of the property where an aspen grove creates a wall of gold in the fall. A nearby water-catchment pond fills with water from the home’s roof when it rains due to an ingenious drainage system that funnels water through an interior piping system as opposed to having runoff from the copper-lined canales.
The rock-lined acequia, in combination with the flora and fauna, as well as Taos Mountain create a naturally painted backdrop for outdoor living. Walking paths serve as easy guides over the entirety of the grounds, and a parking area blocked from view by large trees along the driveway can comfortably hold about 20 vehicles.
Gardens - While manicured perennial flower beds containing native plants such as lavender, Russian sage, salvia, yarrow, Shasta daisies, Apache plume and a variety of grasses surround the home and dazzle the senses with vivid colors and smells, a vegetable garden in the front helps feed the soul and stomach. Plantings include lettuce, kale, broccoli, beans, snap peas, onions, squashes, radishes, beets, cauliflower, pumpkin, corn and all types of herbs. Though the garden is not certified organic, the owners have been careful to use only organic fertilizers, soil enhancements and untreated wood for the boxes. A “Monet Garden” of irises and lilacs paints a nearby section of the grounds in purple, and a front pasture containing alfalfa blows wistfully in the breeze further from the home. Although the current owners do not keep them, chickens are welcome on site.
Orchard - About 24 fruit trees bloom annually in the front of the property, which is designated as agricultural. Owners can enjoy the tastes of summer right off the branch, picking apricots, nectarines, apples, pears, sour and sweet cherries, as well as peaches.
Wildlife - Though the property is just a few miles from Taos’ main thoroughfare, a variety of animals abound here. In fact, it is a bird watchers paradise, with too many species to list here, but you are sure to see hawks, finches, hummingbirds and trees filled with stunning streaks of black and white from magpies taking respite in the shade. Coyotes, roadrunners, bear, elk, deer, rabbits, chipmunks and prairie dogs have also been spotted, some with more frequency than others.
My name is Pavel Lukes and I am Broker/Owner of Dreamcatcher Real Estate Co. Inc. I was invited to visit Casa de Luz with the intent to market the property. Even after 21 years as a Taos Real Estate Broker, I had no idea this secluded and well-hidden marvel of a property existed. Upon entering of the home, I knew instantly, I was in for a treat. Meticulously manicured grounds with the exquisite presence of the main house in its midst, flanked to one side by a two story guest house with garages, studio and Yoga room. My initial instincts did not fail me as I started noticing some architectural details very seldom seen along with some never seen before, i.e. copper downspouts from the canales which were cleverly built into the exterior wall of the house, for discharge into the landscape. This was merely the beginning, as I soon realized that this home was the perfect marriage of beauty and function. What a great idea to have a drive through garage? It was apparent that extensive forethought and planning went into the creation of this residence. Exemplary collaboration between the owners, architect and builder was evidenced by the very functional floor plan, which is well suited for modern living while taking full advantage of views, light and space. The exquisitely finished smooth plaster added finished touches to the sculpted walls, half walls, sky light surrounds and Nichos. The cabinetry grade and finish application too, was just over the top, a testimonial to the owners impeccable taste and their immaculate planning. All in all, this property just may be the Taosí finest residential property, period. Lucky will be the buyer who will acquire this gem and I just hope that the current owners can come close to finding a suitable replacement at their new California destination. That, however will be a challenge for their California Broker, who will also be under my microscope, to assure that my clients receive Dreamcatcher standard of service. This, however should not be a problem as their California Broker is my brother Rudy Lukes. You can reach me at 575-770-1116, firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the form below.