Hap Crawford: The North Valley's Adobe Master
It was cold, rainy, and a dreary December. When I first looked at what would become Casa Otra Vez, it was in poor shape and had been mercilessly altered. A bright pink jacuzzi that didn't work sat upstairs, and an out-of-proportion pergola made of telephone poles was pulling down an adobe wall out back. Every wall was painted four colors of umber, purple and dark brown, The dryer vented into the kitchen. It was either a stroke of brilliance or a wildly irresponsible financial move, but as a collector of odd little houses, I knew that this was the fantasy of anyone who had ever dreamt of Southwest Style. The dog and I moved in with two beach chairs, and an air mattress and set to restore it.
Hap Crawford was a native son of Albuquerque, an architect who studied at the University of New Mexico, and a U.S. Marine. He was a designer with a distinctive style, who built in the Santa Fe style. He was a natural stylist, going beyond where other designers stopped. What came forth was innate. From the hand shaped adobe bricks, the use of Talavera tiles, rough cut balustrades, wood beams and the whimsical shelf that accents our living room, Casa Otra Vez is an extension of himself. Every feature, from the garden archway to the warm of the saltillo floors, to the hand-shaped kiva fireplace transports us to a calmer place.
He and his wife Charlynne built many homes in downtown, the North Valley, Los Ranchos, and the Near North Valley. From townhomes, condos, offices and houses, he shaped the North Valley style. What makes his work stand out are the hand crafted finishes, and the use of natural materials. Hap Crawford's strong aesthetic was balanced, welcoming and roughly beautiful.
Kanani Fong, 2020
Hap was also a Western Union Boy, a writer, chef, painter, ceramicist, and a silversmith. He was known to be kind and generous to all.
Photo: from his obituary, the Crawford family
Page background: Doves from the Talavera tile set by Mr. Crawford.