The foothills around the Santa Fe Opera are the backdrop for some of the most spectacular views of both the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountains. So, when Catherine of Clemens & Associates Inc. was chosen to redesign this residence’s exterior spaces (on the tail end of a major home renovation), she knew the end result must be equally awe-inspiring. Catherine created a design that distinctly blends an aura of antiquity with Moorish architectural elements, framed vistas, exquisite accents and lush plantings into a sublime mélange of comfort and signature style.
The centerpiece—and most challenging aspect—of Catherine’s vision was the existing pool courtyard. It originally featured a brick surround that was framed by a sunken area that abutted two portales on either side of the pool. Catherine recommended raising the pool area to create a seamless, leveled flow of tumbled bricks across the space. An adobe wall was added to the courtyard’s open end for the purpose of maintaining the view of the mountains, while blocking the road for enhanced privacy. A water feature consisting of an adobe wall accented with hand-painted tiles and a marble bowl hand-carved in Italy was also added for dramatic effect. As with the other exterior spaces, the pool is framed by many attractive containers featuring shrubs, perennials and annuals.
Adjacent to the pool area is cozy circular seating area built into the hillside and consisting of an alcohol-fueled fire pit, flagstone paving, ample seating (featuring custom cushions) and perennial beds. This rustic, yet well-appointed space is a perfect setting to enjoy the expansive New Mexican skies and starlit nights.