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2011 - Volume 2 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
 
Article: Joe Burgess
Photos: Bill Faulkner
 
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“The most important considerations for my home were overall livability and comfort,” states designer / homeowner Connie Hines, “along with some specific space dedicated to an office and art studio for Jerry and me. Beyond that, it needed to accommodate the frequent gatherings of our rather large family and the various groups that we enjoy entertaining. We chose an open floor plan that allowed everyone to be together, as opposed to smaller groups in separate rooms, and designed living areas that open up to a large covered patio.”

    “I think every single inch in the home has to work; down to the quarter-inch.”

Connie Hines,
The Studio Design Center
   
  Resources

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Connie Hines Interior Design
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Connie Hines Interior Design
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Builders Source
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at Floor Concepts
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Ceramic Tile
Ceramic Tile &
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Specialty Cabinets
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The Property in Tierra Escondida provides an unobstructed view of the Organ Mountains to the east and the city lights to the west, so those were key considerations for the orientation of the home. “We sat for hours on the empty lot, determining how to situate the house.” said Connie. “The great room had to frame the mountains, so large windows were utilized in the great room and family room, as well as the office and master bedroom.” A large covered patio effectively reduces the glare and heat from the early morning sun without hampering the eastward scene. A small side patio was built up that provides an evening view of Las Cruces lights. The view from Connie’s studio absorbs the nighttime glow from El Paso.

“Since I love to cook,” Connie relates, “kitchen design was also an important factor. Of course, I wanted a kitchen that was efficient – that goes without saying for anyone who cooks, but everyone has specific priorities as to what should be placed where. When I am spending time in the kitchen, I still want to be part of the activities taking place, and the open floor plan that we designed allows me to follow everything that is happening in the living area. Finally, I did not want to miss out on the changing colors of the rock spires, the cloud formations, even the storms over the higher elevations, so the kitchen had to share the view. The open floor plan allows the same view from the kitchen as from the great room – across the patio, pool and silhouetted palms to the jagged beauty of the mountain. It feels like the mountain is our very own and the moonrise is breathtaking. We found that the interior design that was achieved works well for casual entertaining or when stepped up to formal cocktails.”

“The required versatility of our home meant spending the time necessary to develop a flow pattern for the house, which is needed for the design of any home. From the point of entry, there should be a smooth flow for people traffic and the colors chosen need to seemlessly transition from one area to the next, as do the floor patterns, the wall finishes and the furnishings. Harmony, balance and flow are essential design details.”

There is an intimate seating area, off the shared dining and hearth kitchen, furnished specifically for comfort. It’s where the Hines initially catch their breath when they come in from a busy day. The proximity to the kitchen allows Connie to start dinner, but still sit across from Jerry on a comfortable sofa with a glass of wine to watch the news.

Energy efficiency was certainly a consideration in the layout of the house. The greenery and fountains in the entry patio lessen the effects of the late afternoon desert sun. The garage location on the south side moderates the extreme temperatures in both the summer and winter months. The use of 8-inch, and even twelve-inch in some areas, insulated walls reduces the cooling and heating requirements. The Hines enjoy fresh air in their home when the weather permits, utilizing ceiling fans, the fireplaces and fresh air crossflow through casement windows.

For the exterior, the Hines decided to create a different personality from their previous house, a more eclectic one to be sure. A variety of architectural elements and materials were used, most of which are readily available in the area. Cantera and concrete wraps around the windows were among the materials incorporated into the exterior design, appropriately placed into the elevations to produce a harmonious balance. “I drew from elements that appeal to me,” Connie related, “and layered them into the exterior in a way that will never become boring – I really like the way it evolved.”

Connie’s approach to interior design is that walls are a canvas for personal expression – paintings, craftwork, collectables, family photos… Doors also offer an opportunity for unique artistic works and Connie is especially adept at creating artistic ceilings. “There is a huge blank space above your head, begging to be included in the interior design.” Connie had traveled at an early age to the cathedrals and palaces of Europe, where artistic ceilings play an important role. When a ceiling grabs your attention, it is probably a Connie Hines design.

A deep appreciation for hand-carved wood embellishments is also apparent in the Hines home. “A piece of wood is like a piece of jewelry that can be intricately hand carved into a unique artistic addition to your décor,” Connie says. In addition to doors that are hand-carved on both sides, there are custom cabinets, fireplace mantels, shelf supports, columns, beams, mirror and window frames – you almost have to see a home like that of the Hines to fully appreciate what can be accomplished with wood.

“If this home is to be your last major investment in life,” Connie adds, “it is important to consider aging in it. Convenience is always a major factor, but also what you require for a comfortable lifestyle and, more importantly, what you can do without. A home does not have to be large to be comfortable and functional – it simply has to be well designed. Professional design help in achieving long-term goals can be a benefit well worth the initial investment.” ///
 
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