Abiquiu Retreat on the Chama

Santafe.com - April 10, 2008

We were driving on that beautiful stretch of Highway 84 just north of Abiquiu on the way to the dam when we spotted a wonderful property along the river with an organic farm on it. Intrigued by the buildings and the setting on 28 acres, we asked the house to tell us a bit of its history.

How and when were you built in this gorgeous setting?

House: Starting in 2001, after my owners had collaborated with Santa Fe architect Ed Boniface, Carr Construction of Santa Fe spent approximately 18 months building me and my guest house in the northern New Mexico style. Ed made sure that I had some of the best views in northern New Mexico including the Chama River, Copper Canyon and the Cañones Mesa across the river.

He gave me two screened porches to keep me cool in summer, and four fireplaces plus radiant heat to keep me warm in winter.

Tell us how you are affected by the history of this area?

House: My 24 acre feet of water rights are some of the oldest in the state; they date back to approximately 1735. When my fields are plowed, they sometimes turn up Indian pot shards and pieces of flint from El Pedernal nearby.

Since the U.S. Forest Service owns all the land across the river from me, my views and privacy are very well protected.

The Abiquiu area has many sites of historical interest from the O'Keeffe residences in town to the Pedernal and natural amphitheater north of Abiquiu Lake. The countryside is some of the most striking and unique in New Mexico.

Who were some of your favorite visitors?

House: Although I have enjoyed all my houseguests, my favorite visitors are the great variety of migrating birds that come to check on me during the year. Some, like the redheaded ducks, prefer my quiet little ponds, while the western grebes and bald eagles seem to like the big bend in the Chama in my front yard.

Tell us about changes over the years.

House: When my owners first bought this land it came with a little house near the irrigation ditch and a large concrete block studio. The little house is now occupied by the organic farmer who cultivates my fields and sells produce at the Santa Fe Farmers Market.

After my family had me built for them (approximately 3,600 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths), we wanted to have more room, so they converted half of the studio to a 3bedroom, 3 bath guest house so that lots of friends could come visit.

One of my owners is an avid fisherman. He had several ponds created so that he could stock them with different fish for his children to enjoy. He usually fishes for trout in the Chama.

What is everyone's favorite room in the house?

House: The overall favorite has to be the long living room with screened porches off both sides. It has beautiful proportions and includes a vaulted ceiling with large beams and lovely plaster walls. Off one end is our great family-sized kitchen, and off the other end is a wonderful library.

Who might be the ideal buyer for you?

House: A family or someone who likes to have friends around to enjoy the beauty of nature in this area. My irrigated land is appealing to all those interested in my organic farm, as well as horse owners looking for good pasture.

Margo Cutler, of Margo Cutler Ltd. Real Estate, is the author of this article and the listing agent for this property.