My once and former venture was a lighting showroom. There are thousands of great lights today but I love to design custom pieces when we can’t find something perfect. These pink crystals are for an ultra feminine dressing room, lined with pink mirrors and iridescent wall tiles.
A bright living room wanted a sleek but funky rendition of a chaise lounge. Something fun and comfortable for a sunny reading area near a fireplace in the winter sun.
We needed window coverings to solve a special problem of light and privacy. A twenty foot window looks out over pastures with mountains in the distance. But a public road cuts through the view a hundred feet away. Woven linen with both sheer striped rows and solid areas give the owners a view of hill and dale, but provides privacy and sun control. The regular “S” curve header echoes the contemporary feel of the home while providing enough softness for the bedroom.
OTHER CUSTOM PIECES
Fireplaces Media centers Stone tables Room dividers Bedding Decorative pillows Table Lamps Wall treatments
Half circle Sofas to fit a round side room or go around a table Doors re-crafted from antiques to fit media casework
Bring us your quirky problems and offbeat requests, we’ll wrangle them!
Adding some exterior color and shapes enhances and differentiates.
Santa Fe can be called the land of “brown and round,” a moniker applied by a contemporary builder, Michael Hurlocker, who set me free to do color on exteriors. His subdivision called La Mirada, outside city limits, is where we’re free to use color as well as realize other limits not possible to do in the city, in other highly regimented areas.
Color is important in these homes, but so is the use of form and shadow, executed in these homes by architect Robert Zachry. Adding color and texture further differentiates the buildings. As does the plantings. Further than buildings and garden walls, we work with landscape professionals on perfect plantings to balance and accent the exterior palettes.
Commercial exteriors are areas to get more involved in. One pictured here is the Aroma Coffee roasting facility. With its large round entry the architect approximated the scale of a giant cup of coffee. Turning the metal panels on the horizontal gave a fresher take on a commercial metal building. Colors from the autumn mountain scape help it blend into the environment. You can get a fantastic custom cup of coffee here, but it’s easier to taste at many local restaurants.
The best exteriors reflect the interior focus and the aesthetic of your home or the message of your business.
We like to do small to medium commercial projects. And have learned a bit about what is important to business owners.
Timeliness: A commercial design project, so different in terms of clients and client needs, needs to move quickly, unlike the Apple stores on which the company invested years of planning. This included the meticulous Steve Jobs scrapping all his plans after seeing a better way. But there is no denying that the Apple Store layout and finishes show both efficiency and beauty in a crowded and popular destination shopping spot. So I examined his process.
Special-ness: Apple stores offer a Genius Bar for technical support, and free product workshops for the public. The Apple Stores have, according to an article in The New York Times, been responsible for “[turning] the boring computer sales floor into a sleek playroom filled with gadgets.” These stores have a standardized appearance with white or light wood tables and a minimal design. The sales folks walk around with tablets and there is not much wait time at all to buy and get going.
Special-ness and your business: Why not? Why be pedestrian when it costs no more, with good design, to be special. For example, my own personal services business design highest gripe is ugly manicure salons. So I won’t get into big trouble, I don’t go around town taking phone snaps of ugly salons, or heaven forbid, unclean workstations. But wouldn’t you, and your customers, prefer to be here, at the salon in the photo? It does not cost more to be tasteful. It takes design guidance to get to where you want to be. And can cost less.
Looks Expensive! You may be looking at this and thinking “wow, this looks expensive!” I guarantee that it could easily be less than the grotesque pedicure all-in-one-soak-your-feet-and give-you-a-brutal-back-massage contraptions we encounter in pedicure stations. Yes, this has custom upholstery (a good thing) but the little sinks are pretty standard small sinks, as are the gooseneck faucets. This is for the small service business owners: Let’s talk design, for function and beauty, for increasing customers and for their happiness and satisfaction.
One example, not such a small business: Lucchese leased a 1899 bank building on the east side of the Santa Fe Plaza, to move from a small location two blocks off the plaza. An upscale western, not cowboy, environment was the goal. Comfort, spaciousness, ease of fittings, a sense of the history of the company were part of the design program here. It’s nice to feel a sense of that history while being fitted for $1000 plus boots. We added blow-ups on scrim of famous folks doing exactly that, and had a lot of fun in the process. As well as portraits of the founders, and memorabilia from company archives.
Based in your calm or spicy colors, your most special art, your own personal objects — all especially woven together in a retreat designed for nurturing.
Bedrooms really are where we retreat, for rest and sleep, to fun with a partner, to healing from wounded feelings. So both comfort and soothing things we love are really important here. The bedroom is the ultimate place for expressing our private selves.
Colors we love run the gamut from classic whites and off-whites, to calming blues, or reds and oranges that may complement tribal art collections, and black and white that works so well with photography in the gray scale. I personally love to use darker colors, as they are so restful. But many of the shots in this web portfolio show light wall — many of these bedrooms are in houses built “on spec” where the walls were purposely left pale, allowing new owners to personalize a room, adding their own color.
Large bedrooms are a luxury in themselves, and allow for sitting areas and fireplaces. Smaller bedrooms can be a challenge but respond well to one large piece of art, good colors for the owners, and luxurious bedding.
The flooring in a bedroom is also important. It’s one of the few rooms where carefully chosen carpet can be the perfect finish. And if a hard surface is desired, perhaps as a continuation of all the rest of the house, which is common in contemporary homes now. The right area rugs finish these rooms with a level of plush comfort.
Choosing the perfect bed is vital. The mattress is such a matter of personal taste, but the style of the bed itself might be minimal and no more than a beautiful wood plank headboard. Or a wonderful clean style four poster, with maybe a canopy frame, left undraped. Great ones come in colored steel as well as wood. One of my favorites is an upholstered headboard and maybe footboard. We’ve used ethnic textiles and very clean wools and quilted pieces for upholstered headboards, and make them locally.
Add gorgeous bedding and get ready for sweet dreams!
Kitchens, designed for gatherings,
balanced with sleek surfaces and functional layouts
“Edy Keeler cleverly designed & orchestrated a most beautiful and functional home kitchen renovation. She seems to have an infinite resource of brilliant solutions….which was essential in my situation. Edy’s clarity, sense of wit and considerateness maintained a positive focus for the duration of the kitchen renovation.” -E P
Many motivations exist for designing a new kitchen. Obviously, construction of a new home means kitchen design. Or simply a need to refresh and introduce more modern appliances to an old, worn kitchen. Another is needing a larger space to accommodate a modern family. Maybe an updated look with new finishes, while leaving the layout and appliances the same. One cause I’ve encountered was a mold infestation that necessitated ripping out flooring, cabinets, wall coverings — everything that was making this client ill. An extreme situation.
Even without the extra condition of mold, a kitchen renovation ranks as potentially the most stressful type of home improvement. As for the process, what we strive to do is minimize destruction, maximize reusing whatever desired, and stay on schedule. No-one enjoys eating every meal at restaurants, or cleaning up in a sink area improvised in a guest bath!
After meetings to create a good layout, we talk about surfaces to create the feeling and function. Often we are presented with a countertop that the client loves. For example, a rainforest marble, not a granite or quartz, that usually would be rejected as too porous a surface for a kitchen, but might work fine if sealed to be be very stain resistant. Here with an agreement that the owner will adhere to a maintenance schedule including professional sealing.
Sometimes a space is small and cannot be enlarged. So we will figure out how to accommodate a table and chairs or whatever else is desired that is reasonable in the space. Working with a talented cabinet maker we can still include a prep island with a couple of neat barstools. Or a special feature like a tall section of cubbies for wine storage. Another frequent wish, near the stove top, is a tall pull out pantry unit for spices, oils and other cooking supplies.
Appliances and plumbing fixtures are located at quality vendor showrooms. After new plumbing and appliances are installed, paint colors may be the last thing to coordinate. We always test right on the walls, and it often with two or even three iterations to get it perfect. We end up with colors complementary to the adjacent rooms or halls, with maybe an accent color on soffits or ceiling. The effect is to tie all the surfaces in the room together and create warmth and interest.
Owners are always pleased to get back to their life, their pursuits,
How many bathrooms do you have and what size are they?
Here is a checklist to determine the use and character of the bath.
Large spa-like Master Bath
Master Bath, but not so large
Smaller Guest Bath
Guest Bath that doubles as powder room
Powder room, limited family use
Family bathroom, which may may be the only bath one in the home
Styling Your Bath
Are you a traditionalist who wants to create a style in line with your classic John Gaw Meem home on the east side of Santa Fe, or your classic Old Town home in Albuquerque that is quite the Spanish Hacienda? There are so many materials today that work in those styles, that the real trick is narrowing them all down to make choices that will endure. If your goal is rich color and warmth, but in a contemporary mode, that’s great too: the vast tile selections of today will support any color direction you might want to take.
Or maybe you are looking for dark and sexy—drama with lots of special features? There are tubs and showers with lights and aromas, and wall coverings and surfaces that are dark and moody, that I love. Is your dream bath a light and white spa that makes you feel ultra healthy and spotlessly clean? Such a popular mode! There is much beauty to select from here, countless dream pictures in magazine editorials and advertising for tubs and lavatories, faucets and tub fillers.
In remodeling, a home may be older, and rather than continue in an old adobe style or Territorial style manner, clients want to break with style and have a very contemporary bath. This can work, or not. It takes the right finishes that bridge the divide between traditional Santa Fe or Northern New Mexico style, and still feels contemporary. New, clean and pristine goes a long way to updating any style.
This same approach works with traditional homes from other eras and locations. Craftsman, Prairie, California Ranch, New England colonial, Log home — for all, we can update bathrooms that reference their authenticity, but look quite modern at the same time.
After narrowing down your style, we then shop for a.) fixtures and features and b.) surfaces and lighting. Again, the choices are never ending. My job is to pre-narrow the field, and help you make the right choices. We love to do that!
Add luxurious toweling and step into your most private retreat.
Why a story? I was a lit major in college, in large part due to Saturday trips to the “grownup section” of the library with my dad. All this was balanced with a keen hobby-like interest in home design, from my mother’s constant redecorating.
So, when I engaged with a novel, I always wanted to know “What does this room look like? What does it feel like? Even, how does it smell, how does the air taste? Great writers impart that directly with description, or in mood driven dialogues. Then when I morphed many years later into design, the story aspect of a dwelling stuck with me.
The big question: What does your home say about you, and do you feel it supports you? Is it really your story, or some idea you saw in a magazine or TV show, that may or may not be you. There are questions I like to answer just from being in a home. Basic questions about the life being lived in the home.
If I answer some of these questions just by being in an environment, or by knowing the inhabitants, without interviewing, the design work is of one sort. If I can’t answer these questions, I will ask lots of questions, and it is another type of work. Both are rewarding — interesting and completely engaging.
Who lives here?
And what do the individuals do?
What are their ages?
If it’s a couple…who is she? Who is he? Who are they together?
And then, what do they do together? Do they entertain, pursue hobbies, read, watch movies or TV, race out the door in the morning? Return, ready to relax?
If there are kids….what are their ages? Girls or boys? Avid students, sports team members? Engaged young kids or distant teens? Or grads, returning to the nest?
And why does it matter? One of the best possible things about my job is to figure out the very best of a home’s likely story, and to help the owners see and realize it in the environment in a beautiful, handsome and comfortable way. This means to find and create whatever helps them feel they are living, working, creating and playing in their own story, or even their own fantasy, and not someone else’s prescription, or fantasy, for a good life.
What story will your home tell?
Texture, furnishings, color, surfaces—all play a part in creating mood and function.