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   A TRANSFORMATION  From House to Personal Resort
2011 - Volume 1 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
Article: Joe Burgess
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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“It was the land that caught our attention,” says upper-valley resident Don Dickason. “At the time, we weren’t actually looking for a home, but by chance, decided to check out a ‘For Sale’ sign at the far end of a quiet dead-end street in the country club area. We were able to make a package deal for the house and an adjacent three-acre alfalfa field, which borders the Rio Grande on the west side. We later purchased another acre of land on the east side of our house, for a total of five acres. The Texas/New Mexico border passes through the driveway, and yes, we pay property taxes to both states,” Don adds.

    The Dickason business now consists of four divisions:

• Career Placement & Executive Recruiting
Division since 1965

•DM Dickason Temporaries was added in 1992

•The Employee Leasing Division was added in 2000, a Professional Employer Organization (certified in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas), involved with human resource, pay rolling, risk management, workers’ compensation and unemployment claims outsourcing services.

Swimming Pool:
Paradise Pools
Joe Beechler

Nash Patio & Garden
Mark Nash

Sierra Vista Growers

Interior Décor:
Cory Engle

Refrigerators &
Wine Coolers:
Nash Patio & Garden

Gas & Charcoal Grills:
Nash Patio & Garden
“The house was unlivable and we concluded that the whole structure had to ultimately be gutted. Only the brick veneer and the 2 x 6 studs were left standing. Bearing walls in the entry and master bedroom were moved and additions were made to both ends of the house.”

“We lived for six months in an apartment and then moved into a converted garage while the house and new garage were being completed. It was quite a relief when the sawdust disappeared and we were finally able to take over the whole house about 12 months later.”

The house was originally a southern style bed and breakfast in Dallas around 1959. It was disassembled, moved by rail to El Paso and reassembled as one of the first homes in that upper valley neighborhood. In order to match the veneers for the additions to the house, the Dickason’s latched onto brick that had been salvaged from the old Del Camino Hotel. Three fire places were added, inside and outside, for a total of five.

The interior of the home is roomy, with over-sized bedrooms and bathrooms, and the whole house reflects a very functional elegance. It is the backyard landscaping, however, that encourages use of the word “resort.” The pool is about three times the size of most residential pools, making it relative to the expansive back yard land area. “I had envisioned the back yard that I wanted,” Don relates, “and after reviewing many of Mark Nash’s past landscape projects and having exploratory conversations with Joe Beechler of Paradise Pools, I was convinced that Mark could accomplish the results that Martha and I were expecting. We used a lot of spray paint laying out the walkways and pool area, raised patio areas and spacious upper and lower pool decks. We massaged the plan as work progressed and in the end, we got exactly what we wanted.”

In addition to the lush mounds of tropical vegetation and waterfalls that one comes to expect from a Mark Nash project, electronically-controlled misters were installed around the pergolas and both patio wet bars are piped for satellite stereo and television reception using customized outdoor 46” HD TVs. Using Advanced Digital Systems, surround sound was established in the back yard using about twenty woofer and tweeter rock speakers and about twenty more speakers mounted on the house. Speakers are balanced to allow the surround sound affect from anywhere in the pool.

“We insisted on using real rock in the backyard and the moss rock we selected was shipped in from Colorado. A heavy snow storm in Colorado actually delayed completion of our landscape project.”

“Don and I don’t swim as much as we’d like,” Martha relates, “but we certainly enjoy sipping a nice glass of wine around the pool to wind down after a stressful day at the office.” The backyard facilities are frequently used, however, by family members and for employee and many specific community fundraiser functions. The Jacuzzi will handle 12 people for watching the Super Bowl.

The house has five large bedrooms, dens both upstairs and downstairs and an exercise room. The main house has a three-car garage with five more garage spaces next to the two-bedroom guesthouse. The upstairs rooms have private upper decks with an outside spiral staircase down to the patio area.

For the area on the west side, Don originally planned a few par 3 golf holes, but is now leaning toward planting 100 more pecan trees. The Dickason’s already have about 30 pecan trees on the property, in addition to a variety of other trees included in the landscape project. The Dickason’s claim to have planted almost every tree on the property. “It’s what we do on the weekend to relieve the stress from our very busy weekly office routine.” Don personally handles the grass-mowing operations and keeps the salty ground fertilized. Martha supervises keeping all the shrubbery well manicured.

Don and Martha met in 1972 at NMSU while both were pursuing majors in business management. After graduation, Don went to work for Snelling and Snelling, a National personnel staffing company. He became a manager after a year and he and Martha ultimately bought the franchise after eight years. He started Dickason Personnel Services and Martha joined him in 1992. She founded and is currently president of the temporary personnel services segment, which has grown into one of the largest in the country. For several years, the Dickason company has been recognized as being one of the 500 largest Hispanic-owned companies in America.

Just recently, the Dickasons obtained their GSA certification (the only GSA certified staffing company in the area), and now the company is working as a staffing sub-contractor for several Federal Government projects in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. The Dickason’s son works as a commercial real estate financial analyst in Boston and daughter Kelly works as a manager with Wells Fargo Bank in El Paso. Their dog, Skyler, has pretty much retired and simply enjoys the resort-like setting. ///
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