Yes, You Can Go Home Again
Every house has a story.
Casa Otra Vez was designed by the late North Valley architect and builder Hap Crawford. Known for his mastery with adobe, hand hewn finishes, and wood crafted details., the house is precisely what people imagine when they think of New Mexico. It's a little piece of magic in a southwestern urban setting.
But the backstory of how we came to be here and restoring it is as interesting. It starts a few decades ago, when a nice young man from Albuquerque met a busy young woman in Los Angeles. They got married, and he would always say, "New Mexico is really nice." They would visit New Mexico to visit his father, but his wife, never thought of moving. They lived in California for decades, raising two kids, working, and all the stuff that makes up life. She worked non profits, writing, editing, and PR for films, the husband in the busy hospitals of Los Angeles.
One day, she went to visit their brilliant scientist daughter at UNM. Visit by visit, she was smitten by the city and found herself, as her own late-mother had before her, falling in love with the desert. On a dreary day in December, when it was rainy and grey, when you would least expect it, she bought what would become Casa Otra Vez. The house was a bit of a wreck, and needed work, but she could tell -it had 'good bones.'
"See? I told you New Mexico is nice," said the husband, bemused that the house she bought by herself was in fact, only 2 miles from his father's home.
The wife, shook her head. Amnesia, apparently.
The new owner and her husband drove their aging dog, their cat, and a truck of furniture across the desert to their little townhouse. Because the husband was from the North Valley, well of course ...all they had to do was put out the word, and other North Valley folks came to help. He wasn't just some guy from California, but a local boy coming back.
A legion of North Valley carpenters, plumbers, electricians, tile setters, and a swell decorator, helped them pull it all together. Out went a hot pink jacuzzi tub (installed sometime in the 1990's) that didn't work and remodeled the bathroom, installing a beautiful spacious shower. Up went the painters to the cathedral ceilings, repainting walls that had been painted 4 shades of umber to resemble dirt. Down down came a huge porch covering made of telephone polls that was pulling down the stucco on the adobe walls. Slowly, she got to know the neighbors, the neighborhood, the shops, theaters, galleries and the restaurants. The owner made daily treks on the ditch trails, and spent lots of time walking her dog on the Rio Grande. She threw parties for the neighbors, and even adopted another dog from the local mountains.
The owner put a little of this and a lot of that into the house. She thought of her late mother Anna, when she put Anna's dining table downstairs. Slowly, it evolved into a much loved home with a heart. This house has a lot of her heart, and more to the point, her late mother's heart too. The owner went to visit all the local artists, and bit by bit, it came together.
With the help of our managers at Southwest Suites, we hope you enjoy the house as much as we do. Welcome to Casa Otra Vez.
left: Top: Owner, Kanani.
Below: World traveler and inspiration, the owner's late mother Anna, who grew up on Kauai.