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2011 - Volume 2 Issue 2
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
Article: Jessica Muncrief
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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More than 80 years ago, English professor Sandy Chilton and his wife Omyra relocated to Las Cruces. On a large plot of land, they built a comfortable adobe home of approximately 1,000 square feet. Over the years, they turned the basement into a makeshift classroom for tutoring students and landscaped the expansive grounds with trees brought back from their exotic travels. They attached a quirky, plaster monkey face to the patio wall in homage to Sandy's pet name for his wife and created an overall ambience and spirit that is still embodied on the property to this day.



Home Builder/Remodeler:
McGinley Construction
Kevin McGinley

Residential Plan:
Kay Willis

Builders Source

RP Engineering

Kitchen Kraft

Counter Tops:
The Design Center

Doors & Windows:

Stout Hardwood Flooring

Charlotte's Furniture

HVAC & Plumbing:
Horizon Mechanical

Four Seasons Heating
& Cooling


Foam America
Bill Hoffman

Nash Patio and Garden

Karla Perry

Plumbing Fixtures:
El Paso Winnelson

Outdoor Kitchen:
Builders Source

Lighting & Fans:
Designer's Mart

Kitchen Kraft

Solar Energy:
Sunspot Solar

Stone & Tile:
J Craig's Tile

Casa Mexicana

Window Treatments:
Shop Girls Interiors

When Jan and Mickey Clute purchased the property in the late 90s, they embarked on extensive remodels and expansions, but still strove to maintain the original style and quality of the home. In 2000, they called in Kevin McGinley and the team at McGinley Construction to expand the home and create additional living space. Kevin's crew added a third bedroom and an exercise/media room. They also connected the detached garage to the main home, creating a large room that wraps around one side of the house. Ventanas featured the stunning results of the remodel (and the monkey face still on the porch) in the spring of 2001.

Fast forward about four years, life happens and the Clutes decide to sell the home. The prospective new owners, who had worked with McGinley Construction on commercial projects in the past, began querying Kevin on the possibility of adding more space by creating a second level. Was this even possible given the fact that the structure was not only adobe, but also first constructed more than seven decades ago in 1927? Kevin went ahead and gave them the thumbs up and they purchased the property. "We're not squeamish about holding up walls, taking out walls, building a new roof," says Kevin. "In this case, there were a lot of opportunities based on the existing structure. The remodel and addition we did for the Clutes was done with insulated concrete form, so we were very comfortable building a second level on top of that."

The ensuing project took into consideration that this new family moving in had children, where as previously the home had only been occupied by couples. It involved adding additional bedrooms by creating that second level above the garage, constructing a study area for the kids and giving Mom her own space with a craft room that looks out over the pool and backyard. A minor kitchen remodel was also done, with a more extensive remodel planned for the future. "They wanted to be in the house for a while first, but they needed a few things changed so they could use the kitchen more efficiently for their needs as a family right away," says Kevin. The old concrete pool was torn out to make room for a new lap pool and extensive exterior landscaping was done to create a lush oasis in the desert.

Another five years pass while the family continues to grow into their home and make it their own. In 2009, deciding that more space was in order along with that new kitchen they had been planning, the owners again called in the services of McGinley Construction. The kitchen was outfitted with beautiful cherry and knotty alder cabinets with intricately carved molding and granite countertops. A grand island provides lots of storage and cooking prep space. Above the stainless steel range is a tile mural depicting the home's yard painted by local artist Karla Perry. The individual, hand-painted tiles decorating the walls throughout the kitchen were also done by Perry.

A family room was constructed as well, along with a media/game room complete with a projection system, lots of comfortable seating, a pool table and a poker table. "It is one of our favorite rooms in the home," say the owners. "It is great for the kids and it is big enough for them to have all their friends over. We accomplished exactly what we set out to accomplish with this room." Both rooms feature expansive picture windows that look out over a serene koi pond surrounded by blossoming vegetation. Outside, the monkey face still reins over an expanded patio and newly installed outdoor cooking and dining areas.

The owners have managed to create a home that reflects their personal styles while still staying true to the original ambience of the historical home. Kay Willis, a custom residential designer based out of Encinitas, California, is responsible for the traditional layout of the home, which includes both formal and informal dining and living areas. The décor also points towards traditional tastes with hardwood floors, plush rugs and elegant, dark wood furniture. However, certain elements, such as the bronze light fixtures, the leather accented sofas, the aforementioned granite countertops and artwork depicting the Mesilla Valley give the home a rustic, southwestern feel as well.

Content in their home, the owners have no plans for any more remodels of such a large scale, but they do have Kevin drawing up plans for a new master bathroom. And so it seems that the McGinley construction team (and the monkey face on the porch, of course) will continue to keep the spirit of this historical home alive. ///
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