Local homes get makeover: a look at three before and after projects


S h a d o w s  L o u n g e  &   G r i l l,  taken from Joan Duncan website

                        The Creatrix

Joan Duncan graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with Architecture and Interior Architecture degrees. She started her Interior Design Company, Creatrix—“a woman who creates”—in 1993. After 17 years inRhode Island, she and her husband moved toTaos, whereDuncanworked on the 18 Native American Suites of the luxury resort El Monte Sagrado. She also designed the interiors of Shadows Lounge & Grill, an upscale sports bar


“The secret for finding my clients’ personal design style is listening to them,”Duncansaid. “Through our mutual communication, we integrate aesthetics, function, budget and other elements. Together, we craft into remarkable interiors that fulfill their dreams!”

Duncan’s featured house was an adobe home. “It used to be the residence of an artist and was purchased by a family as a second home,” she said. “The wife contacted me with some trepidation saying that she had loved the house with the artist’s work in it, but felt overwhelmed seeing the bare bones.”

After meeting with her and her husband,Duncansaid they all fell into sync. With the help of Contractor Doug Kaufman, she transformed the house into a family getaway with a totally renovated kitchen fit for cooks, kids and guests.

“The fireplace you see in the ‘before’ photo was redesigned to include a banco (not shown) as well a renovated bathroom which features Talavera tiles from Vargas Tile Company, done in a manner resembling baths at El Monte Sagrado where I designed the Native American Suites,” said Duncan. “The project features the work of many local crafts people from furniture to tile and stone work.”

Duncanis licensed with the National Council of Interior Design Qualification and affiliated with American Society of Interior Design (ASID).

Charming designs

From a very young age, when other girls were playing with dolls, Nancy Colvert was drawing floor plans. She received an MBA from theUniversityofCalifornia Berkeleybut has recently returned to her childhood vocation. Colvert has been designing and redesigning her own apartments, condominiums and houses for 35 years and founded Encantado Designs (“encantado” means charming) in 2006.

“Most people who move toTaoscome from places where the architectural and interior design styles are very different,” she said. “They bring beautiful dark wood furniture, upholstered pieces and art they want to keep, yet they love the carved pine furniture, textiles and arts and crafts of the Southwest and want to add them to their homes.” She loves helping people mix many styles together to create unique, yet cohesive, spaces.

“In a lot of ways, this was a very typicalTaosproject,” Colvert said of the featured house. “The owners moved to Arroyo Seco about six years ago fromBaltimoreand brought all their East Coast traditional furniture with them. Then they bought more furniture and art locally and needed help pulling it together.”

Colvert added two small leather chairs (in front of the large window) and had a table and chairs made for a corner of the living room where the wife likes to sit by the window and work puzzles.

The traditional wing chairs were originally upholstered in floral chintz and the sofa in matching pink and green stripes. “I felt that, because of the traditional style of the furniture, the new fabric, though it had to be comfortable and rugged, needed to look elegant,” said Colvert.

She took an upholstered chair that had been in the living room and moved it to the master bedroom. It was reupholstered, along with an existing bedroom wing chair, to tie together an Oriental rug and a new bedspread and red leather cube footrest. “That created a cozy reading area that will stand up to the sun from the large west window,” said Colvert. “These small changes transformed the room and tied all its elements together. We achieved all of this on a limited budget and I’m very pleased with the results.”

Repurpose and rearrange

“In these days, it’s important for everybody to come home to a joyful and peaceful place,” said home designer Karen McCurtain-Blair, who lived in seven states and four countries before settling inTaosin 1989.

“The strength that I bring to a project is an ability to repurpose, rearrange, and create,” she said. “I am able to de-stress the situation and clients then find that they can relax and have fun with the process.” Whether the project is to move, downsize or re-enliven, McCurtain-Blair says that it can be enjoyable, and often profitable.

“I did an entire home remodel that sold the day of the Realtor caravan for full asking price,” she said. “It was a well-lived in family home and the owners had a limited budget. We purchased a few key items and spent most of the money on new kitchen cabinets. But creativity was in full swing as I shopped second-hand and consignment stores, painted and repurposed!”

There were two old barrel chairs that McCurtain-Blair wanted to use. She bought natural fabric drop cloths and sewed slipcovers for them. The basement media room floor was hand-painted and sealed. Then she felt that the fireplace needed two vertical accents with pop. “A fellow artist gathered some willow, mixed up a batch of cement and created two art pieces for twenty-five dollars,” she said.

Another picture shows a room in which a client was spending most of his time healing from a major illness. A new reclining couch was purchased, and an armoire to house the TV and new window coverings enhanced the high ceilings. “We added plants to lend life and he experienced a whole new level of being in the now cheerful and cozy space,” said McCurtain-Blair. “You can do a lot with little money and an active imagination!”

Joan Duncan, ASID
Creatrix LLC
Interior Architecture & Design
(o) 575.751.3030
(c) 575.770.4252
Nancy Colvert
Encantado Designs
(575) 751-3888
Karen McCurtain-Blair
Home Design
(575)  586-1029