This authentic New Mexican hacienda is a surprise waiting to be discovered
The owner of this historical hacienda on the outskirts of Mesilla had a love affair with the property long before she and her husband purchased it as a vacation home nearly five years ago. The four-bedroom, nearly 3,000-square-foot home sits on a lush third acre, entirely enclosed with a seven-foot adobe wall.
“As a child, my parents drove past this house quite often, and I always wondered what was behind those walls,” she remembers. “Many years later, on a visit to Las Cruces, I noticed that it was for sale. My husband said we should at least take a look and I immediately fell in love. The courtyard, the peaceful backyard, the charm and character — I realized it had been my dream to own this home since childhood.”
Another selling point: the home’s proximity to Mesilla and all it has to offer in terms of shopping, dining, and entertainment. The heart of it all, the Old Mesilla Plaza, is just one mile — a 15 – 20-minute walk — away. FARMesilla, D.H. Lescombes Winery & Bistro, Salud! de Mesilla, and The Turquoise Teepee are even closer. All of Las Cruces is easily accessible thanks to two interstate on-ramps in the nearby vicinity.
Given its location, it’s no surprise this home is authentic New Mexican in style, with a whitewashed stucco exterior and red brick entry courtyard. Inside, solid wood beams accent the ceiling, blue Talavera tiles adorn a bathroom, and a kiva fireplace warms one of the two living rooms. The original Saltillo tile and hardwood floors remain and are in excellent condition, as is the rest of this solidly built historical home. Yet unlike many other traditional adobes found in the area, it doesn’t feel cavernous or dark. High ceilings, wide archways, spacious rooms, and plenty of skylights create a brighter, airier atmosphere than might be expected.
Traditional touches with modern upgrades
Records indicate the home was built in 1950, although there is some evidence that suggests at least parts of the property may be much older. When the current owners purchased it in 2016, they made plans to restore and update it on their biannual visits to town. They began by installing two energy-efficient HVAC units, new doors and windows, and upgrading the furnace.
“We replaced 13 windows and four doors, including the three French doors,” the homeowner explains. “But the two front windows in the living area, those have been pointed out to me as being over 100 years old. I was told that the wavy texture on the glass is characteristic of a home that is at least a century old, so we left those two original windows in place.”
The following year, the homeowners restored the stunning, hand-carved mahogany entry door — leaving intact the antique doorbell — and installed a mantel in the formal living area. They also refinished the wrought iron fencing and added some custom-designed gates. In 2019, they replaced the entire roof and upgraded the skylights for energy efficiency. This past year, the entire property was patched, painted, and re-stuccoed, inside and out.
While the home and surrounding walls have always been white, the owners brightened everything, going from a creamier shade to a more brilliant hue. As an artist with a style she calls “eclectic,” “bohemian,” and “colorful,” this home’s owner carefully selected all the furniture, artwork, and décor to create a space that feels both contemporary and authentic to the age and style of the home.
“I’m a painter, so I love color,” she says. “I always thought I would live in brightly colored walls, but here I saw how white walls provided me with an open canvas that I’ve had so much fun working with. The living room with the turquoise couch and rug is one of my favorite spaces in the house. The sun comes in very well so it’s nice and bright, but the fireplace also keeps it very cozy.”
The outdoor space has turned out to be another favorite. Just as she always hoped, those eight-foot walls do in fact hide a secret garden of sorts. Thanks to an adjacent pecan orchard, the property is surrounded on three sides by trees. Inside the walls, there is grass, along with shrubs, bushes, and numerous garden beds. There are also two new crape myrtle trees that were added within the past year and a stone Buddha statue peacefully holding court in one corner.
“We are a little reluctant to sell it,” she admits. “I wish we could live in it full-time and continue to make the changes we had planned to do. It will take a special person or family to appreciate the uniqueness and see the charm. Someone who will love it and continue to care for it and add those custom touches like we have.”
Potential to make your mark
While completely move-in ready, the property is full of potential for the next owners to make their own mark. The kitchen was updated prior to 2016 and is in excellent working order with stainless-steel appliances, cherrywood cabinets, and Caesarstone countertops. It is modern and functional enough to enjoy as is, or the entire space could be easily reimagined with minor cosmetic changes.
The backyard offers plenty of space for a swimming pool, along with ample opportunity to take outdoor living to a whole new level. There is also an attached workshop/flex space with a separate entrance, making it ideal for a guest casita or an office. The largest bedroom could easily be expanded or, as listing agent Mariah Franco points out, the second living room needs little more than a set of doors to be converted into a spacious owner’s suite complete with walk-in closet, en suite bathroom, and woodburning kiva fireplace.
“This is a truly unique and special property,” the homeowner says. “One of the things I really enjoyed was seeing how people react to the home when they step through the gates and into the courtyard. People are pleasantly surprised at what lies beyond the walls.”
Written by Jessica Salopek • Photography by Donicio Madrid