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Back Issues
2012 - Spring Issue
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
Article: Jessica Muncrief
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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Homeowners Gerardo and Blanca Martinez have created a dream house on El Paso's Westside. Upon first inspection, one cannot help but be impressed. With gorgeous architectural and design elements both inside and out, it is truly a stunning creation. However, once you take a little closer look at the details, it becomes readily apparent that much planning and forethought went into creating not just a big, beautiful house, but a real home that reflects what is truly important—enjoying life with family and friends.

    Photo Captions

12.) Blanca Martinez
       and granddaughter
       Sophia Merjil.

Home Builder:
Winton Custom Homes

Ferguson Enterprises

Rolando Lujan

Baca & Brown

77 Stone

Trinity Marble

Mario Lopez

Furnishings and
Interior Design:
Designs by L.L. Power

City Lights

Pilar Herrera

Outdoor Kitchen:
EF Building Materials

Pool & Spa:
Winton Pools


Theater & Audio/Visual:
HPS Audio and Video

Emser Tile

Window Treatments:
Designs by L.L. Power
"When we started thinking about the new house we knew that we wanted it to be used for entertaining, but also functional for our family," says Blanca. "Family is very important to us. We had two grandchildren when we moved in and now we have five. We wanted a place that was comfortable, fun and able to accommodate everyone when they come over for Christmas and holidays." And the Martinezes have certainly achieved their goals. When we came to do our photo shoot, this beautifully decorated home was alive with the laughter of children playing in the basement, preparations were underway for Gerardo's surprise birthday party to be held in the backyard, and we even found a secret stash of cookies hidden under a chair in the TV room. It was easy to see that this is more than just a splendid house; it is a home alive with comfort and love.

Blanca claims the kitchen as her domain in the house. "I love to cook and bake, especially for my family" she says, "This is really where I spend most of my time." The kitchen is pretty fantastic and it is ingeniously set up to allow for optimal interaction with family and guests. For example, a wedge-shaped island forms the hub of the room, but this island is for more than chopping and storage. It features a built-in stovetop and sink, allowing the chef to face guests instead of turning their back to them while cooking. A second island has ample bar space and built-in wine storage. Large, sleek Monogram appliances easily accommodate food preparation for large groups. A round table in a small dining nook provides extra seating for casual, everyday meals.

A cozy den with spectacular views stretching out for miles is immediately adjacent to the kitchen, ensuring grandma can keep an eye on the grandkids while they watch the big screen television and cuddle up in front of the fireplace. Dark, hickory wood floors, leather furniture, and a carved mantel of cantera stone with a mural above, give the room added warmth and richness. The mural is one of several in the home hand painted by artist Pilar Herrera. All were inspired by the Martinez' travels to Venice, Rome and Mexico.

For formal entertaining, there are elegant dining and living rooms.
El Paso based interior designer Lynda Power is responsible for the Tuscan inspired décor throughout the house, and she really outdid herself in these rooms that feature wrought iron accents as well as sculptures, artwork and décor influenced by the Martinez' European travels. The formal living room is furnished with plush seating and detailed wooden furniture. Stylish green drapes with red accents adorn tall windows that allow an abundance of natural light to enter the room. A wine bar is tucked into the corner for easy access. The real focal point of the room however, is a stunning reproduction of the Mona Lisa. Cantera stone columns flank the curved archway that leads into a dining room with a magnificent, carved wooden table. Another stunning mural covering one wall completes the overall effect.

The lower level of this home is filled with all the recreational amenities that kids old and young alike dream about. Tucked discreetly behind a door is an amazing home theater. The walls are covered in cork and carpet for optimal sound and you can literally feel the difference in acoustics just by stepping into the room. Multi-level seating, luxurious suede chairs complete with cup holders, speakers, and an enormous screen draped with red curtains round out the genuine theater experience. Blanca says she and Gerardo have enjoyed many a relaxing weekend in this room.

The basement also features an expansive game room with elegant pool and poker tables and a full bar with a wine refrigerator. If you hadn't guessed already, Gerardo and Blanca are wine connoisseurs and the centerpiece of their collection is a spectacular brick wine cellar with stone flooring and gorgeous architectural elements throughout. Wooden wine crates stacked against one wall are an authentic touch. Both sides of the game room are flanked with full guest suites, one of which the grandchildren have taken over as their own space. Resplendent glass doors allow for easy access from the basement to the lower veranda and the truly stunning outdoor area.

Gerardo's hobbies include gardening and landscaping and he has created an enchanting backyard that is perfect for entertaining. With climbing ivy, stone fountains and manicured hedges it is truly reminiscent of a Mediterranean villa. The multi-tiered design significantly enhances this effect. Outdoor staircases lead from a sprawling balcony to a stone- tiled porch with bistro tables and comfortable patio furniture placed to take advantage of the stunning views. From here, another staircase leads to an outdoor kitchen tucked beneath a Spanish-style pergola. A stone island with marble countertops houses an impressive grill along with a sink, ice storage and stove burners; everything necessary for cooking a complete meal without ever having to go inside. The pool and hot tub beneath towering palm trees also allow for appreciation of the fabulous views. Due to the placement of the home on a ridge overlooking the valley, the Martinez's will never have to worry about future construction projects in the neighborhood obstructing their enviable views.

Gerardo and Blanca Martinez have truly created a splendid home that showcases their love for family and friends. The gorgeous décor, inspired design and all the recreational amenities anyone could ask for make this an impressive house in itself, but once it becomes apparent how much enjoyment and excitement multiple generations of the Martinez family get out of the home, it makes one believe that maybe you really can have it all. ///
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