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Rustic modernism in the mountains


The allure of this Angel Fire home comes from its innovative combination of modern and mountain styles. While the overall design recalls the sleek homes of the mid-20th century, there are rustic touches – like a rough-hewn 200-year-old door – that make the home seem to belong in its mountainside setting.

The house sits at the edge of an aspen and evergreen forest, creating the feeling of living in the woods. There are pathways that wander through the trees to reach benches and a picnic table. An outdoor firepit near the house creates a gathering place for cool summer evenings.

While the home feels sheltered by the forest on one side, the windows in the living room open to a beautiful meadow with dramatic views to the snow-covered Sangre de Cristos. The home belongs to Ron and Sylvia Avenius-Ford. The overall design concept is ”bringing the outdoors in,” says Ron Ford. In addition to the changing seasons of the forest and meadow, he describes the wildlife visible from the home, including a memorable visit from 200 elk to the meadow below the house, along with deer, turkey and the occasional bear.

Indeed, every room is designed to capture light and views to the outside. In the kitchen, windows surround the room and all the storage is handled on one tall wall of elegant walnut cabinets. With a distinctly modern flair, the cabinets slide out of the wall to reveal shelves that store dishes. In the pantry, yet more shelves are tucked away and smoothly roll out to allow access to food and spices. From the kitchen, there are views to the full-length windows near the entry overlooking the woods.

In the dining room, glass doors open to allow access to the deck that includes a recessed Jacuzzi cleverly concealed in the floor. The deck was built around two aspen trees that indicate the season through their budding spring leaves or changing fall foliage. Architect Kenneth Ford, of San Francisco, who designed the home, says, “In essence, the deck acts as a garden of seasons.” Altogether, there are 2,000 square feet of outdoor decks, making the home a great place to entertain.

The master bedroom opens on to the main deck, as well. The room has views to the meadow below. It is clean and uncluttered with very little furniture needed because the walk-in closet includes built-in drawers. These drawers can slide open either into the bedroom or into the closet around the corner.

In the master bathroom, there are travertine stone accents and two freestanding sinks. A connecting bathing room feels like being in a spa. It is constructed of cedar and includes an open shower and jetted tub overlooking the expansive meadow.

In the center of the home, a freestanding two-sided fireplace warms both the living room and dining area. It is a custom blackened-steel work of art built by Mike Valencia of Valencia Welding in Des Montes. Architect Ford says that this placement allows for the elemental material of fire to be present during both dining and gathering.

The stairway to the upstairs is also made of steel, but has a feeling of floating in air, due to the transparent look created by the vertical lines of aircraft cable that support the stairs. Ron Ford was an Air Force pilot, and there are several nods to his past in the home.

The upstairs is open to the first floor. Here, there are two additional bedrooms, a full bath, an office and a storage closet that makes use of space that otherwise might be wasted. The bedrooms are open and airy and maintain contact with the living spaces below, until the concealed wooden pocket doors slide closed to provide privacy.

Of the office, the architect says, “A mezzanine study, open to the kitchen below, acts analogously to a pilot’s cockpit in the house, with views to multiple areas of the site.” Here, there are sky lights that open to let in the summer breezes, clean air and the smells of the outdoors.

At 9,500 feet in elevation, the house stays cool in the summer. “The temperature gets into the high 70s on occasion, but the house stays very comfortable,” says owner Ron Ford.

Downstairs, there is an attached garage and studio space that opens to a flagstone patio. Owner Sylvia Avenius-Ford is an artist who works in tin, clay and acrylic. She grew up in Africa and South America and says she was heavily influenced by the art of other cultures, encouraging her to use a great deal of texture and bright colors.

She says, “Collecting folk art from around the world and living in Northern New Mexico have contributed to my imagination and creativity. Working in my studio has been my most gratifying means of self-expression.”  Avenius-Ford has exhibited at galleries in Taos and on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. She now shows her work in Texas and Oregon.

The Fords are moving to Oregon to be closer to family. They say with a touch of wistfulness, “We will miss the tranquility here.”

Architect Kenneth Ford is the son of owners Ron and Sylvia Avenius-Ford. They share the family joke that the house was in the design process for 28 years. When Kenneth Ford was a senior in high school, he decided he wanted to be an architect.

When the Fords purchased the lot in Angel Fire, Kenneth began to work on ideas to build a modern house that perfectly fit the setting. He says his intent was to create a rustic modern look. “Timeless, natural materials of wood, glass, stone and steel are used as agents for this idea throughout the spaces,” he adds.

One of the attractions of the house is being close to the amenities of Angel Fire. It is 20 minutes to skiing at Angel Fire and about the same distance to hiking in the Carson National Forest.

Built in 2010, the home at 170 Pine Road House has a total of 4,150 square feet and includes three bedrooms, three baths and an additional detached garage. It is offered partially furnished and is located on a 7.6-acre site. In addition to the passive solar features of the house, an active solar array provides hot water for domestic uses, as well as for heating the radiant floor, with a propane backup for boosting the temperatures when needed.

The home is listed for sale through Catherine Moon of RE/MAX Mountain Realty. For more information, contact her at ccmoon@moonRE.com or call (575) 377-1919 (office) or (505) 795-3773 (cell).




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