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Back Issues
2009 - Fall Edition
Interior Design
Feature Home
Article: Bob Skolnick
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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This Hacienda, like many other special houses, is the cumulative work of several talented people. The structure started as a private home for a local businessman and his growing family. Later, it was restored by another local businessman who saw the hacienda as an ideal place for his company to entertain its many national and international business visitors.


Mark L. Hilles

Interior Designer:
Citron & Associates

Logo Design:
Voodoo Blue Studios


Metal Lighting & Iron Work:
Tozani Hierro
Guadalajara Mexico

Metal Work:

Custom Sconce Lighting:
Rick Guerrero

Wall Finishes:
Mary McIntyre

Audio Video:
HB Electronics

Nash Landscaping

Kay Lauchausen Gallery

Gallery Kartis
In the mid 90's, Bruce Woelfel, a local businessman, contacted Architect Mark L. Hilles about a dream that he and his wife, Gerry, had of building a home in El Paso's Upper Valley. Bruce and Gerry had a growing family with two children, Gabriel and Katie. The Woelfel's commenced to search for the perfect ground to build on. They looked at several different locations and finally decided that a site in the rural area of Doña Ana County was the one for them. It had relatively good accessibility, yet was far enough out to resist the oncoming development.

Gerry and Bruce had dreamed of creating something from the earth and from the Rio Grande valley itself. As they began the design process, they agreed the home needed to take the raw adobe material and be creative with the massing of the house. As they began to lay out the house, they worked with various wings that extended off the main entry living area. The focal point of the house was the back terrace and pool area. Bruce had been a champion swimmer and this house needed to have a beautiful pool. The Woelfel's had lots of friends and being able to enjoy the house with friends was an important criterion for the design. As a result the home was designed to have an open and flowing plan.

There was no question from the start that the home was to be a true adobe. Bruce oversaw the construction and made sure that no corners were cut, and that it was an authentic adobe structure. What also made the house unusual was that it was a two-story adobe, which is somewhat rare and requires sound design and engineering. The soils report indicated the need to take special precautions on the foundation and so the structural engineer designed a very robust foundation with a tremendous amount of rebar and concrete. The adobe materials were all native, mixed and fired in the Canutillo area. There were thousands of adobe blocks used in the construction. The vigas and columns were all milled nearby in the Sacramento Mountains. Special care was given to each trade's craftsmanship.

Several years ago, another prominent local businessman, who had recently founded Dos Lunas Tequila, purchased the property. The hacienda had the nucleus of an entertaining headquarters for the company. The growth of the business is dependant on distributors from all over the United States and associates from Mexico coming to the area to visit and taste. The hacienda had great potential for this use and the owner engaged Bob Citron to create the entertainment environment that was necessary.

Bob Citron was trained at the famous Traphagen School of Fashion, now a part of Fashion Institute of New York. He also attended short summer courses in France at Ercole de Beaus Arts Decoratifs of Paris. Bob has worked in New York, California, New Mexico, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Australia. In California, he was a designer at the 20th Century Fox studios. From California, Bob moved to Santa Fe to work for the Santa Fe Opera. After Santa Fe, he moved to El Paso to work as a designer at Charlotte's Furniture Store and later went into private practice as a designer for high-profile doctors and attorneys in the U.S. and Mexico. Two of his design works in El Paso include Café Central and Dominic's Italian Restaurant.

All of the interior areas of the hacienda were refinished and resurfaced while maintaining the true adobe integrity. A new kitchen was installed, a bar area for entertaining and a state-of-the-art audiovisual system. The front of the house was re- landscaped with a tropical feel and flowing Koi pond, which was fully restored. The front entrance was bounded by a uniquely authentic adobe wall with large iron gates. Handcrafted in Guadalajara, Jalisco, near the distillery, the gates are adorned with the Dos Lunas logo and agave ornamentation.

Particular attention was paid to the patio and pool area, which was intended to be one of the entertainment focuses. A significant outdoor kitchen was added for guest events. A portal with surrounding palms was positioned at the far side of the pool area for live entertainment. An extensive colored high-intensity LED light system played on the evening pool and on numerous palms. A water feature was added and the entire area was finished with custom design agave lights that set the stage for tequila tasting and entertaining – the guest staples. The chimney and rear stairs rising from the patio and pool also provided an opportunity for the exterior design personality. The exterior porches offered shade as well as the design element they presented. On the front of the house the main arched entry created an inviting and unmistakably strong initial visual impact upon arrival.

Today this original adobe family home is now a center for tequila aficionados in the U.S. and beyond, including distilled spirits importers and journalists from as far away as the People's Republic of China, Brazil and Germany. The hacienda today is a perfect place to gather and enjoy associates, music and, of course, Dos Lunas Tequila. ///
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