11 Craziest New Mexico Homes

Get ready to question the laws of physics. These private homes have such wild architecture you have to wonder if Dr. Seuss had a hand in their design.

Here’s 11 unique, innovative New Mexico homes that really stand out.

The Residence of Architect Bart Prince

Built in 1983, this funky-looking Albuquerque house goes by many names: “The Spaceship House,” “The Hovercraft House,” “The Bug House,” and “OMG WTF is that?”

It’s the residence of New Mexico architect Bart Prince (3501 Monte Vista Blvd. NE), who designed many amazing houses and community centers in New Mexico.

“On the top level are a series of translucent water tubes which are part of a passive solar heating system. There are two spiral stairs which serve the upper area and connect it to the living room and studio. A masonry tower, added in 1990, provides library and drawing storage space,” reports Albuquerque Business First.

Next door (3507 Monte Vista Blvd. NE) is another structure that’s more angles than curves, but still has the same cantilevered style. It’s said to be Prince’s studio.

The Camouflage House

“The Camouflage Home,” or “The Flintstone House” as locals call it, seems to almost disappear into the surrounding rocky desert landscape.

Designed by Santa Fe jeweler Norah Pierson, this 2,300-square-foot home in Lamy isn’t actually made from rock at all. It’s covered with a polyurethane spray foam that’s usually used as insulation to give it a stone-like look and then tinted it to match the environment.

The Turbulence House

via Steven Holl

The Turbulence House, created by architect Steven Holl (2001-2005), sits atop a windy desert mesa in northern New Mexico.

“The form allows turbulent wind to blow through its center. The stressed skin and aluminum rib construction is digitally prefabricated in Kansas City then bolted together on site. A total of 31 metal panels, each with a unique shape are fabricated to form the ‘shell’ of the house,” writes Holl.

The Mead/Penhall Residence

Albuquerque’s Mead/Penhall residence, designed by Bart Prince (1992-1993), is “built on the last vacant lot in a previously developed neighborhood with existing houses on three sides.”

Sometimes called “The Cigar House” due to its shape, the residence “is lifted above the site to take advantage of the distant mountain and valley views. The plan of the house resulted from a response to the clients who wanted to provide for their collection of art and antique furniture in a contemporary environment.”


The Modern Ruin

via Alexander Dzurec and Kate Russell, courtesy of Autotroph Design

“The Modern Ruin” is the name of a house and studio in Agua Fria Traditional Village (3094 Agua Fria), just outside Sante Fe.

Sharing a piece of property with a family member’s house, a green house, chicken coops, and a garden, the new structures designed by Autotroph Design (2011) embody the area’s traditional adobe architecture and its modern industrial infrastructure.

According to Autotroph Design, the goal was to convey a modern ruin — “clean, elegant form with a weathered, hand-hewn feel.”

“Additional factors informing the design include a rooftop deck reached via the single upstairs bedroom, with space for a future green roof. Water catchment and gray water reuse are key to maintaining cottonwood and aspen trees, limber pines, native grasses and restoring the property’s historic orchard.”


The Scherger/Kolberg Residence

This Albuquerque house designed by Bart Prince (2001-2005) even has its own website. The house takes advantage of the views from the base of the mountain.

“The site backs up to a national park and offers great views of the mountain as well as the city below. The plan of the house wraps around a center courtyard that is used for the main entrance. Sloping roofs and large windows extend the view.”

The Earthship Biotecture Houses of Taos

via Sean Whitley

An Earthship is a type of passive solar house made of natural and recycled materials (like earth-filled tires), designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos.

They’re designed to work as autonomous buildings using thermal mass construction and natural cross ventilation assisted by thermal draught to regulate indoor temperature. Earthships are off-the-grid homes, minimizing their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels. They’re built to utilize the available local resources, especially energy from the sun.

You can find most of them along Earthship Way, just outside of Taos.

The Fu Residence

The Fu Residence in Rio Rancho is another Bart Prince design (1999-2002). Sometimes called “The Snake House,” it’s located on Huron Drive, just north of Northern Boulevard.

“This site slopes gently from west to east toward the Rio Grande valley in the near distance and the Sandia Mountain range beyond,” according to Prince’s website.

The Sage House

“The Sage House” in Taos, designed by architect Jon Anderson and Antoine Predock(2006-2008), has panoramic views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

According to Predock’s website: “The Sage House is organized along a simple arc, focusing views outward to the dramatic landscape. An internal courtyard, sheltered from prevailing southwestern winds with walls, an earthen berm and an orchard, completes the inscribing arc.

Designed for a renowned local chef, the house contains a restaurant quality kitchen and spaces for large social events. The central spaces are organized around the courtyard so that the house can be opened to the landscape for warm weather parties. The courtyard contains a central fire pit and is shaded by trellises for summertime use.”

The Whitmore Residence

via Bart Prince

The Whitmore Residence, or “Glorieta House” as Bart Prince dubbed it (2001-2004), is in Glorieta, New Mexico.

The house sits on the side of the hills in the distance. Prince writes that it’s “a beautiful site of several acres bisected by the adjacent Galisteo River and the Santa Fe Railroad.

The various spaces of the house cascade down the gentle slope in small increments, which total 20 feet in elevation from the lowest to the highest. The central living pavilion is separated from the master suite at one end of the house and the guest suite at the other end by courtyards which provide exterior sleeping areas protected from rattlesnakes and coyotes.”

The Dome Homes

These curious spherical shells are comprised of building materials like Airform, an inflatable balloon-like base structure, steel-reinforced concrete, and polyurethane foam.

Monolithic, the Italy, Texas-based creator of these unique houses, designed a 1,000-square foot sphere in El Prado, New Mexico (35 April Way). The structure comes with all the standard home appliances and heated floors.

But it’s not the only dome home in-state. There’s a teensy 320-square foot, solar-powered dome home in neighboring Taos (211 Camino De Lovato).

Retire Here, Not There – New Mexico – MarketWatch

From MarketWatch Magazine –

For decades, retirees have flocked to Arizona hot spots for a year-round sunny climate, great golf and stunning desert vistas. But with prices soaring in some of Arizona’s most active-adult-friendly markets, more people are looking east to New Mexico.

What many retirees are finding is better deals, say experts: The median home in New Mexico costs just $151,900 and the cost of living is 3.1% lower than the national average. That makes much of the state far less expensive than Arizona’s most famous retirement havens. Santa Fe–though not cheap by New Mexico standards, with a cost of living 18% higher than the national average—still has a lower cost of living than Scottsdale (22% above average) or Sedona (26.3%). Like Arizona, New Mexico is a relatively low-tax state: state income tax tops out at 4.9%.

Residents say geographical wonders help “The Land of Enchantment” live up to its name, from jagged snowy mountains and dense forests in the north, to wide swaths of pink-and-orange deserts as well as table-top-shaped white mesas–made from the mineral gypsum–further south. A wide range of outdoor recreation is easily available here, including hiking, mountain-biking, rock climbing, caving and water sports, as well as skiing and snowboarding in the north. Thus more and more adventure enthusiasts are bringing in their best inflatable sup, Mountain bikes, ski sets and getting the best of what Mexico has to offer to them. The Land of Enchantment is a world of its own and is just growing its popularity and visitors by the months.


Fajada Butte, in New Mexico: A lunar and solar observatory for the Native American Chacoan peoples 1,000 years ago, a spectacle at sunset today.

New Mexico also has a reputation for attracting artists, writers and musicians to communities like Santa Fe and Taos in the north and Silver City in the south. The abundance of cultural activities and creative, intellectual neighbors was a major incentive to move to Eldorado, just outside Santa Fe, for Lucy Taylor, a 62-year-old writer who relocated from Pismo Beach on California’s central coast, in October 2013. “I am amazed at the people I meet here just casually,” Taylor says. Three-quarters of clients ask about studio space when home-shopping in the Santa Fe area, says Lisa Smith, an associate broker at Santa Fe Properties.

Retirees in these cultural hubs may have to contend with tourists, but popularity with out-of-towners has also helped foster great restaurants. New Mexican cuisine melds flavors from Spanish and Native American cultures (although foodies had better be ready to embrace the chile). The state also has an abundance of archaeological sites for the history buff, including Pueblo cliff dwellings dating back centuries.

New Mexico has plenty of space for newcomers, with a population of only just over two million people, considerably less than many major American cities. While some towns can feel tiny and remote, fewer people means light traffic, making for an effortless drive to enjoy the state’s many natural attractions. Another plus in many places is not having an inadvertent view into neighbor’s windows. Two-acre lots are abundant in Eldorado, Taylor says. “I didn’t want to end up in a crowd,” she adds, referring to the densely populated California. Taylor also enjoys not having to worry about a lawn since her “backyard” is open desert; there’s always wildlife wandering by, from birds and rabbits to a bobcat early one morning.

Downsides to New Mexico include a high poverty rate: 19.5% of the state’s residents live below the poverty line, compared with 14.9% for the nation as a whole. Also, the number of doctors per resident in the state is significantly lower than the U.S. average—223 physicians per 100,000 population in New Mexico compared with 261 nationwide, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

Here are four destinations that offer a great mix of the assets that draw retirees to New Mexico.

The link below will take you to the rest of the story:


Cafe Fina – Pasa Review – Jan. 2015

Cafe Fina Restaurant Review

Café Fina has developed a loyal following since it opened in 2012, and it deserves the business. The food is fresh and good, the servers are friendly, and the setting makes you feel welcome and relaxed. Almost everything here is clicking, and the restaurant will soon be serving beer and wine, which will really boost its developing three-nights-per-week dinner menu. Meanwhile, this spot should definitely be on your go-to list, especially for breakfast and lunch. 

Click below for full review.