18 Vista Hermosa
In a town that has become the epitome of cowboy chic and whose most prosaic structures convey Spanish Pueblo Revival style, 18 Vista Hermosa is a standout. Designed and built by architect/builder, Rob Ritter, this home's sleek, rectilinear walls - not readily recognizable but unequivocally adobe - present a minimalist interior that has been likened to an "urban art museum" rather than a Southwestern-style retreat in the Tesuque hills. Huge glass walls frame the priceless views of the Jemez Mountains and dramatically convey the edict for simplicity that is expressed consistently and masterfully throughout the home. The grid motif is recurrent in square-cut Indian sandstone floors, square-cut beam and plank ceilings, custom-designed angular corbels, uniform walls burnished with beeswax, cubist nichos, a stepped indoor fountain, cabinets and doors masterfully constructed from Philippine mahogany and African padauk wood. Such artistry reveals a harmony of place that is both serene and refined and sensationally understated despite its rigorous intentionality. A rooftop mezzanine rises above a one bedroom casita. A sweeping patio, rectilinear courtyard staged with sculptures and a fountain lead to magnificent vistas in all four directions. This home is not just a house, it is an experience with every detail of construction and design - from skylights to superbly wrought ironwork - crafted with exceptional artistry, integrity and perfect frankness.