Santa Rita
Custom Homes
Santa Fe New Mexican ::  Santa Fe Real Estate Guide ::  April 2003 :: Paul Weideman
Tall metal box with Pueblo "adobe" sidekick. Sounds like a heck of a combination for a home design, but it works in the hands of architect Steve Collins.

See for yourself in the two Santa Rita Studios units that have been occupied for the past year or so. The project, also known as Vista Joya Subdivision, is located off Agua Fria Street, behind the pet business Critters & Me. The property will ultimately hold eight units, all bearing the "live-work" moniker, meaning they're tailored to artist studio-type uses. The owners of the first two, a doctor and an attorney, are using them as homes but they like the flexibility of the space.

The 1,687-square-foot home has a bedroom and bathroom above the kitchen and storage areas, all in a tall 'metal box' sided in corrugated, galvanized steel. The rest of the space, comprising studio/living rooms, an office/bedroom and second bathroom, is enclosed in a single-story, stuccoed building.

The second unit, a 2,022-square-foot home that sold the next month for $250,000, shares a wall with the first.

Interiors, like the exteriors, combine Pueblo Revival and contemporary design elements. For the most part the living spaces are within two-story, galvanized metal units with pitched roofs and the one-story studio space has a flat roof. "It's not typical Santa Fe, but a nice blend of Santa Fe and Steve's architectural background," Santa Fe Properties' John DeVito said. Collins is the owner-developer of the studio project. At Santa Rita Studios, Collins' attractive exteriors alternate vertically ribbed steel with stuccos in "chocolate rose" and green, some wall surfaces punctuated with rows of small, square windows.

Collins currently is finishing construction on two single-story Santa Rita units for Neighborhood Housing Services. These homes will satisfy the city's requirement that a percentage of the subdivision's homes meet "affordable housing" guidelines.

The architect-builder is finalizing plans for the last four units. The studios feature 2-by-6 construction with radiant heat, including on the second floor; stained-concrete floors; Formica countertops; and custom maple cabinets.

Collins hopes to begin work on the next two units this month, with a view to an October availability. They will be priced in the $300,000s.