Palo Santo Designs on Parade

With the 2016 Olympic Games still in full swing, it’s worth remembering the idea that athletes compete at their best when they’re performing in an arena that includes the most skilled opponents. At Palo Santo Designs, we are proud to be among a community that represents some of the nation’s most talented architects, designers and home builders.

This undoubtedly has helped keep our own “game” at its best. In this year’s 24th annual Haciendas…A Parade of Homes, organized by the Santa Fe Area Homebuilders’ Association, Palo Santo Designs has enjoyed the great privilege of showcasing not one but two of our homes — and we are thrilled that the effort we invested in them has garnered recognition with several awards.

Our home at 9 Via San Martin, in the Tano Road area, earned the coveted award for Best Craftsmanship. This 2,900 plus-square-foot Northern New Mexico-style luxury hacienda, with pitched roof and exposed beams, is made up of three separate structures interconnected by flagstone and moss rock hardscaped outdoor spaces that capitalize on the beautiful natural surroundings and mountain views. 

Inside, various floor finishes inside include black walnut and polished concrete, providing an aesthetic contrast to the stone fireplace and countertops and custom cherry cabinetry.  Furthermore, the hand troweled diamond finish plaster is exemplary of Northern New Mexico traditional craftsmanship. Maximizing its overall efficiency and reducing its ecological footprint, the home is super-insulated and features a rainwater-harvesting irrigation system.

Our home at 1841 Cristobal Lane, in Santa Fe’s Museum Hill Estates neighborhood, scored top honors in three categories, with awards for Best Outdoor Living Space, Best Water Efficiency, and Best Energy Efficiency.

This 2,077 square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath Pueblo Revival-style home features contemporary accents and ample outdoor living areas that likewise capitalize on the magnificent mountain views. The inviting landscape design was a collaboration with Serquis+Associates Landscape Architecture, and exemplifies water conscious xeriscaping including native species and permeable hardscaping utilizing native stone and adobe. 

The home’s energy is provided by its roof-mounted photovoltaic system that generates 4.5 kilowatts of electricity, the home can produce nearly as much of its own energy as it consumes from the grid, and features an electric car charger for true solar powered driving. 

As for its water conservation features, the home is topped with a roof designed to capture and utilize all rainfall for the outdoor landscape irrigation as well as re-use within the home for toilet flushing, furthermore, the landscape is also nourished by a graywater system that reclaims wastewater from showers, laundry and bathroom sinks.

We encourage anyone interested in seeing these two luxurious custom homes as well as the many other fine homes on the Parade lineup to do so during this forthcoming weekend (August 19 – 21), which marks the second and last chance to check them out. Tickets can be purchased online through the Lensic or at each house during the event itself. The homes can also be seen for free during Friday’s Twilight Tour from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

New to Santa Fe? Here Are 7 Great Things To Do

Santa Fe is filled with exciting things to do. Did you just move to town? Are you visiting for the weekend? Today, we’re highlighting 7 great things to do when you’re new to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

1) Soak Up Culture on Canyon Road

For most Santa Fe visitors, Canyon Road is the first and last stop on the tour. It’s the center of Santa Fe’s artistic spirit and is home to commercial galleries, public museums, and other attractions that will appeal to art lovers.

Canyon Road can be found just east of the Santa Fe Plaza. Keep an eye out for artwork by renowned artists like Fernando Botero. Or, shop around for treasured cultural artifacts like Navajo rugs and Southwestern wood carvings.

The best way to soak up Canyon Road is to just walk down the street. The street is an art exhibit in itself: walking down the street, you’ll cruise past adobe buildings laced with brilliantly-colored flowers. You’ll smell the spicy odor of chili peppers wafting from the doorways of world-class restaurants.

Aim to spend 2 to 4 hours on Canyon Road. Parking in the area can be a hassle as the streets in the surrounding area are narrow. Look for the free Santa Fe Pick-Up shuttle stops nearby to save yourself a lot of headaches. 

2) Explore Santa Fe Plaza

Santa Fe is one of the oldest cities in America. Founded all the way back in 1607, Santa Fe’s history began right under your feet at the Santa Fe Plaza.

The Plaza has been Santa Fe’s cultural hub ever since. Over the years, it’s played host to bullfights and fandangos. Today, it’s surrounded by historical buildings like the Palace of the Governors and the San Miguel Mission.

Walk around Santa Fe Plaza. Discover Santa Fe’s history. Explore the Plaza at night to find a place teeming with activity. Eat at some of the restaurants, walk through galleries, and peruse Native American artifacts – but be careful not to overspend on some of the inflated trinket prices.

3) Discover the Palace of the Governors & the New Mexico History Museum

Located just off Santa Fe Plaza, the Palace of the Governors was built the same year Santa Fe was founded – 1610. It was the original capital of New Mexico and is also renowned for being the site of the only successful Native American uprising, which took place back in 1680.

Walk through the adobe building to explore 400 years of our state’s history. Learn about the Santa Fe trail and view an altarpiece made in 1830 for a church in Taos.

The New Mexico Museum of History and the Palace of the Governors are both open every day from 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Sunday (open Mondays in the summertime). New Mexico residents pay $6 and out-of-state visitors pay $9, while children 16 and younger enter for free. Admission is also free on Fridays between 5pm and 8pm.

If you’re really interested in learning more about the city’s history, consider booking a walking tour through the New Mexico History Museum. It takes you to more historic spots around town.

4) Peruse the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Santa Fe is famous for its artists, and no artist is more famous in Santa Fe than Georgia O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe moved to Santa Fe from the East Coast and quickly became inspired by the high desert surroundings. Before long, she was known as one of the greatest artists to ever live in the Southwest.

Even if you have just a minor love of art, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is a must-visit while in Santa Fe. It’s home to over 1,000 O’Keeffe creations, including drawings, paintings, and sculptures along with 2,000 other works by her peers.

5) Experience Meow Wolf

Meow Wolf is a recently-opened art exhibit that’s difficult to describe. Essentially, it’s a walkthrough art exhibit packed with multimedia presentations. Here’s how the artists describe their renowned attraction:

“Our work is a combination of jungle gym, haunted house, children’s museum, and immersive art exhibit. This unique fusion of art and entertainment gives audiences fictional worlds to explore.”

It’s an immersive experience that really has to be seen to be believed. You can’t really describe it: you just have to see it for yourself the next time you visit Santa Fe.

Meow Wolf also has rotating exhibits taking place throughout the year. Visit their official website to check what’s going on this week.

6) Go Skiing

New Mexico may be a desert, but Santa Fe sits at 7,199 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest cities in the United States. That means ski hills and snow are only a short trip away from downtown in the winter.

There are four main ski hills within a two hour drive of Santa Fe. The closest option is Ski Santa Fe, which is just 15 miles northeast of the city. Other options include Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and Sipapau Ski and Summer Resort, both of which are about an hour away.

If you want to travel a little farther, then Taos Ski Valley is probably the best ski hill in the state. It’s home to more varied terrain and a larger ski area. It’s a 2 hour drive away but locals will tell you it’s worth getting up early. 

Many of New Mexico’s ski resorts get up to 300 inches of snow every year. If you’re in the area in the winter, you can enjoy nice weather in town while still enjoying world-class skiing on the peaks.

7) Hike Bandelier National Monument

Located just a few miles west of Santa Fe, Bandelier National Monument is an outdoor mecca for Santa Fe residents. The area is home to 30,000 acres of backcountry wilderness along with 60 miles of hiking trails. It takes about an hour to drive there from Santa Fe, but it’s a great way to spend a weekend exploring.

History buffs will get a kick out of Bandelier National Monument. The base of Frijoles Canyon has a collection of ancient cave dwellings and other stone structures that originally belonged to New Mexico’s Pueblo people. Visitors are free to explore the settlement and follow the paved trail through the village.

7 day passes to Bandelier National Monument cost about $20.

We’ve only hinted at the number of great things there are to do around Santa Fe, New Mexico! We’re surrounded by nature, history, art, and culture in our beautiful city and that means there’s never a shortage of things to do.

What is the LEED Program for Home Building?

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is creating a whole new generation of homes across America. Discover how LEED is inspiring homebuilders – and benefiting homeowners – across Santa Fe, New Mexico.

What is LEED?

The LEED program is a third-party verification system for green homes. When a building is LEED-certified, it means the building has met a strict set of environmentally-friendly standards.

Meanwhile, environmentally-conscious homeowners can shop among houses based on their LEED rating levels.

The goal is to encourage our world to grow in a more sustainable way. There are four levels of LEED certification, including Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

When a building is LEED-certified, it means it uses resources more efficiently than other similarly-sized buildings. It uses less water and energy, for example, and produces less greenhouse gas. LEED-certified buildings also save money.

One of the best things about LEED is that it can be applied to all different types of projects – including everything from downtown hotels to homes in residential neighborhoods.

Palo Santo Creates LEED-Certified Homes in Santa Fe

Palo Santo Designs is a design-build firm based here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We’re proud to be among a few homebuilders devoted to sustainable residential development in our region.

We are proud to say that many of our Santa Fe home projects have passed the rigorous scrutiny of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program.

That means our homes are not only aesthetically beautiful, but they also have minimum impact on the environment. They use less energy and water, for example, while still being stylistically stunning.

How Do We Build LEED Homes in Santa Fe?

Palo Santo Designs has recently finished a home in Santa Fe’s Museum Hill neighborhood. The 2,100 square foot, three bedroom, two bath Pueblo Revival-style home is outfitted with contemporary accents, extensive outdoor space, and beautiful views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

It’s also pending LEED certification at the Platinum level, which is the highest level of certification available. Here are a few of the this environmentally-friendly home’s key sustainability achievements.

Solar Panels and Home Orientation

The home is nestled onto a single-acre lot. While creating the home, our designers had to carefully consider the orientation in order to maximize views as well as solar gain.

The roof of the home features a photovoltaic system capable of generating 4.5 kilowatts of electricity, which covers virtually all of the electrical needs for the home. Other electric features in the home include an electric vehicle charging station, a high efficiency air-to-water heat pump for in-floor heating and cooling, and efficient LED lighting throughout the home.

Water Conservation and Indoor Reuse of Rainwater

Water conservation also played a crucial role in gaining LEED certification. The home’s roof is specially designed not just for solar panels, but also to maximize rainfall capture. This rainwater is used for outdoor landscape irrigation as well as to flush indoor toilets. Re-using collected rainwater indoors is a cutting edge innovation in Santa Fe.

Meanwhile, gray water beds reclaim wastewater from showers, laundry, and bathroom sinks to ensure the landscaping always looks stunning without using excessive water.

Insulation, Adobe Walls, and Air Ventilation

One final piece of the puzzle is insulation. To create an environmentally-efficient home, Palo Santo Designs had to create a very well-insulated home outfitted with R-30 walls and R-50 ceilings.

Adobe walls within the home provide thermal mass, which then captures and retains heat energy from passive solar-oriented clerestory windows.

Of course, homes with good insulation can often suffer ventilation problems. That’s why we incorporated an energy recovery ventilation system that facilitates the proper exchange of fresh air into the home via an air-to-air heat exchanger.

Fresh air is brought into the home, passed through a filter to remove contaminants like dust and pollen, and then refreshes the home. This is especially valuable during allergy season or during the winter and wildfire months when the home is closed off to the outdoor air.

LEED Platinum-Certified Homes Now Available in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ultimately, the home mentioned above will achieve LEED Platinum-certification, which is the highest level of certification available through the program.  This is one of many successful LEED certified projects by Palo Santo Designs. 

We have another home pending LEED certification available for sale:

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