Yes, You Can Go Home Again

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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 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. He pulled up in an old Ford-150 pickup truck with bondo on the front quarter panel and a New Mexico license plate. Despite this, they got married. 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 was a writer and editor for non profits as well as working in PR for films. The husband worked 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 and when you would least expect it, she bought what would become Casa Otra Vez.

The house was a bit of a wreck, but 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 Louie, their cat Panda, 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 the non-working hot pink jacuzzi tub.  In went new tile, sinks, countertops and a dream shower. Up went the painters to the cathedral ceilings, repainting walls that were  4 shades of umber to resemble dirt.  Down came a 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, Alice, 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 moved her dining table downstairs. She got to know local artists and collected their art. Slowly, it evolved into a much loved home with a heart.


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.