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.
A native son of Albuquerque, architect, and U.S. Marine, Hap Crawford had a distinctive style, and used natural materials. He was a natural stylist, and what came forth was innate. From the adobe walls downstairs, the Talavera tiles, rough cut balustrades, wooden beams and the whimsical shelf that accents the living room, Casa Otra Vez is an extension of himself. The soaring ceilings, saltillo tile floors, kiva fireplace,everything, starting with the arch over the gate and the courtyard were designed to take you to another time and place when things were simpler.
He and his wife Charlynne built many homes in downtown, the North Valley, Los Ranchos, and the Near North Valley. They are distinctive, a little bit different with flourishes, and hand shaped finishes. While at times it might seem this house is a flight of fancy, Mr. Crawford's strong aesthetic assured it was also balanced, welcoming, and roughly beautiful. It's the southwest version of Japanese wabi sabi. I regret never having the chance to meet him, but his and his wife's legacy lives on with the many homes they built.
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.