Posts Tagged ‘Santa Fe Downtown Real Estate’

Green Links for Santa Fe Homeowners

Unsure what makes a home Green?  Befuddled by Green terminology? Concerned about the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule? Or just want to know more about what makes Santa Fe a leader on the Green living front?

Following is a “nothing but the facts” post on matters Green: an aggregation of links to sites that clearly and helpfully explain much of what you’d want to know about buying, building and maintaining an environmentally sensitive home. This list is just a start. I plan to add more links as I uncover new info. If I missed an issue of interest or relevant resource, please let me know.


Find the basics in green terms and jargon at Green Living Tips: a website providing earth-friendly advice for going green. Check out some more arcane words and ideas in Wired Magazine’s Jargon Watch

LEED certification, ENERGY STAR rating and the HERS index. … Each of these terms refers to a type of recognition for homes that are energy efficient. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a third party certification program of the US Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED applies to both new construction and major renovations and is the most coveted of the three.



Build Green New Mexico, Products & Suppliers Build Green is a site put together by the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico to promote and facilitate sustainable construction.

The local chapter of the Green Building Council, “a 501(c)(3) non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation” is an outstanding resource for environmental responsible education and outreach.  The Council sponsors an annual Green Building Summit –an 3 day event not-to-be-missed.



EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule In the works since 2008, the rule went into effect on Earth Day, April 22, 2010. According to the EPA website,

“If you are a homeowner performing renovation, repair, or painting work in your own home, EPA’s RRP rule does not cover your project. However, you have the ultimate responsibility for the safety of your family or children in your care. If you are living in a pre-1978 home and planning to do painting or repairs, please read a copy of EPA’s Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools (PDF) lead hazard information pamphlet (11 pp, 1.3MB). | en español (PDF) (20 pp, 3.2MB). You may also want to call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) and ask for more information on how to work safely in a home with lead-based paint.”

Homeowners who are hiring contractors to perform repairs, renovations and painting work, should refer to the EPA website for complete details on the new rule. NAHB: What Remodelers Need to Know About the EPA’s Lead Paint Rule explains the basics.  National Center for Healthy Housing provides a wealth of information on maintaining a healthy home.

Property owners who renovate, repair, or prepare surfaces for painting in pre-1978 rental housing or space rented by child-care facilities must, before beginning work, provide tenants with a copy of EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools (PDF) (11 pp, 1.1MB). en español (PDF) (20 pp, 3.2MB). Owners of these rental properties must document compliance with this requirement; EPA’s sample pre-renovation disclosure form (PDF) (1 pp, 53K) may be used for this purpose.





Although the city of Santa Fe isn’t large enough to make SustainLane’s Top 50 sustainable cities in the US, it was a leader in the solar energy movement of the seventies and, thanks to aggressive ordinances and a public awareness campaign, has one of the lowest rates of per Capita water usage in the Southwest (Sangre de Cristo water co.) Santa Fe was also the first city to adopt Ed Mazria’s 2030 challenge. The Santa Fe Community Convention Center (downtown near the Plaza) itself received an admirable LEED Silver Certification.

Sustainable Santa Fe Plan

Santa Fe Living River Initiative

Energy Efficiency and Solar Equipment Initiatives

Sustainable Santa Fe Commission and Youth Advisory Board

Santa Fe Enacts Green Home Building Regulations A clear, lay-friendly presentation of the July 1, 2009 ordinance

Santa Fe’s Green Examples

Top 25 Cleanest U.S. Cities for Year-Round Particle Pollution



Ask your preferred lender whether they offer an Energy Efficient Mortgage Local lenders reputed to offer special programs for energy efficient projects include:

Charter Bank, Albuquerque

EcoSmart at Los Alamos National Bank

New Mexico Bank & Trust, Santa Fe

For cautionary words on the subject, read RISMedia’s recent piece: Tight Credit Stymies Homeowners with Best Intentions to Build Green


For help finding green constructed and renovated properties, and full MLS access, please visit our website at

Liquid Luxury = Solid Satisfaction at Downtown Santa Fe Chocolatier

Step through the doors of  Kakawa Chocolate House and the smell of chocolate is thick, voluptuous, almost musky.  The downtown shop is tiny–just one room with an alcove–but with a charm both potent and engaging.  A tiny kiva, Tibetan prayer flags and exhibits by local artists add color and warmth to the cosy rooms. The register is flanked by two cases of handmade chocolate creations, mostly hand-rolled truffles–all made in house.  But what has us returning time and again is the elixirs. These liquid creations are complex, intoxicating, more like wine than desert.  Staff will cheerfully dispense small samples to try. Find a favorite, but use these tasting opportunities to expand your knowledge.  Kakawa offers a changing repetoire of historic brews drawn from traditional Pre-Colombian, Mesoamerican Mayan Aztec, Colonial American, 1600’s European and Colonial Mexican sources–all ancient, authentic recipes from 1000 BC to the mid-1900’s AD.

Theobroma cacao, the botanical source of the chocolate bean, is indigenous to Mexico and Central America, where it has been consumed for millennia.  The name Theobroma, ‘food of the gods’ reflects the Aztecs’ view that chocolate was a hallowed substance, although there is no evidence that Linneaus, who named Theobroma, had any knowledge of the Aztecs’ perspective. To Linneaus, chocolate was simply a heavenly treat.  For the Mesoamericans, it was a sacred drink: a portal to health and wisdom, an extraordinary restorative, an aphrodisiac.

Kakawa offers two categories of drinking chocolates. Those from Mesoamerican are water based and sweetened lightly with honey and agave syrup.  Their rich flavors derive from herbs, flowers, nuts, and spices. The European brews are a bit sweeter and often creamier, making light use of ingredients such as evaporated cane sugar, and almond milk.  Recipes may be mildly spiced with cinnamon, vanilla, almonds and orange water, or exotically perfumed with jasmine, lavender, citrus and rose. They have none of the candy-sweetness of  Swiss Miss, but play over your tongue with the nuance-cluster of fine wine.

Elixirs are available to go, in round wafers or packaged with the shop’s signature blue pottery: an affordable, sense-satisfying gift.  Wafers are also sold, sans cup and saucer, in packages of three, each of which makes a 6 oz. demitasse drink. Kakawa also offers a brilliantly imaginative selection of truffles, with flavors like Ginger Limoncello, Mescal, Chile and Wine, and the unforgettably-named “Aphrodite’s Nipples” as well as flour-free and gluten free brownies and chocolate cake.

Kakawa’s atmosphere and savory products have the intimacy and integrity of hand-honed crafts, and owner Peter Woods is committed to keeping it that way. Yet, with its proximity to Canyon Road, the Plaza, and the South Capitol Roundhouse and a new website in the works, Kakawa is poised for prime time. Go now. Kakawa is unique, welcoming, laid-back, rich in tradition, and sensually alluring–just like Santa Fe itself.

Kakawa Chocolate House • 1050 E. Paseo de Peralta • Santa Fe, NM 87501
Tel: 505-982-0388 • Email: • Hours: Mon-Thu 10-6, Fri-Sat 10-8, Sun 12-6.


CONGRATULATIONS! Kakawa got a shoutout in the December, 2010 issue of Delta Sky Magazine. In the spread entitled “Extreme Winter,” the editors and celebrity snowboarder Shaun White choose 32 Things to Do when the temps hit 32˚.  Pick #28 —Best Hot Chocolate— lands Kakawa on the short list with respected chocolatiers Jacques Torres, L.A. Burdick and the Angelina Tea Room in Paris. While I wouldn’t describe Kakawa’s dense, nuanced elixirs as “pudding in a cup,” I’ll let it pass if it lures newcomers to try our favorite local purveyor of liquid delight.


Real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography, sculpture and other creations of emerging and independent talents. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from any sale. For up-to-date market info and full access to the MLS, visit: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.

Santa Fe Neighborhood Quick Sketch: South Capitol

Rail traffic and an expanding middle class fueled the development of South Capitol in the early twentieth century. A rich and appealing collection of single family homes, condos, and small compounds, South Capitol charms with its architectural diversity. Craftsman bungalows intermingle with Pueblo Revivals, Victorians and Territorials. Construction materials run the Santa Fe gamut: adobe, brick, Pen-tile (a term for hollow bricks formerly made at the State Penitentiary) and framed stucco.   Mature trees abound thanks, in part, to the WPA.  Yards range in size from postage stamp patios to 1 acre spreads.

The district takes its name from its dominant landmark: the State Capitol AKA The Roundhouse, on Paseo de Peralta east of Don Gaspar.  Roughly bounded by Paseo de Peralta on the North, Old Santa Fe Trail on the East, and Cordova on the South, South Capitol’s western edge is less clearly defined.  Don Diego is the main artery yet the neighborhood breaks its line to include pockets of streets just west of Don Diego.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation and  Temple Beth Shalom are both within the neighborhood’s confines. Nearby, on Old Pecos Trail, are the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, The Center for Contemporary Arts,  and The Armory for the Arts.  The elementary school that serves much of the area is Wood Gormley; Capshaw Middle School and Santa Fe High School serve the upper grades.

Great amenities abound in easy walking distance. What’s available depends on where you’re located. The Santa Fe Railyard is an intersection of galleries, shops, housing and public spaces.  Kaune’s Neighborhood Market and O’horis Coffee, on Old Santa Fe Trail, are an easy walk from the neighborhood’s eastern end.  Cordova offers a superabundance of restaurants and shopping including several of our favorite dining spots: The Pyramid Cafe, Saigon Cafe, Backstreet Bistro, and Maria’s. For groceries, head to Trader Joe’s and Wild Oats.  The neighborhood’s Northern end is just blocks from the Plaza with its trove of dining, coffee houses and shopping.  Walkability is high for Santa Fe.  Check out the Walk Score of our listings at 111 East Santa Fe Ave., The Bella Donna. Unit #4 is one of five contemporary restorations.

For a deeper look at issues of interest to homebuyers, check out the following resources. is self explanatory.  Usually, I turn to for its fascinating compilation of demographic data and statistics. However, does not recognize South Capitol as a neighborhood. Instead, it creates a statistical profile for what it terms the Don Gaspar Neighborhood which covers the bulk, but not the entirety, of this historic district.



Below are market stats for the South Capitol Neighborhood reflecting the state of the real estate market on July 16th, 2010.

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Santa Fe Real Estate News. Stories, Trends and More

South Capitol Area, Looking Up in YTD Residential Sales.

Santa Fe Market Report
Featuring South Capitol Area
Presented by Prudential Santa Fe

Active SFAR Listings
All Santa Fe Listings (7/16/10)
Residential: 2805
Residential Land: 1546
Farm & Ranch: 134
Commercial Buildings: 199
Commercial Land: 77
Live/Work: 21
Multi Family: 36

South Capitol Area Snapshot
Residential Listings (7/16/10)
Active: 86
Pending: 4
Sold: 54*
Average DOM: 218*
Average Listing Price: $591,081*
Average Listing Price Per Sq.ft: $277*
Average Selling Price: $543,175*
Average Selling Price Per Sq.ft.: $255*
% of List Price: 92%*

*Sold (7/17/09-7/16/10)

Days on Market (DOM)
South Capitol Area – Residential Sold*
Days on the Market

Selling Price: % of List Price
South Capitol Area – Residential Sold*
Percentage of asking price

MLS Comparison, Sales Year To Date
South Capitol Area – Residential – 2009 v. 2010
(1/1/09-7/7/09) – (1/1/10-7/7/10)
Year To Date Comparison

Real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography, sculpture and other creations of emerging and independent talents. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from any sale. For up-to-date market info and full access to the MLS, visit: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.

Selling Your Santa Fe Home in a Buyer’s Market

Abundant inventory is described as a buyer’s market: great if you’re a buyer, but what if you’re a seller?  The tough news is that the value and appeal of your home will be measured against a greater number of homes than in a neutral or seller’s market.   You’ve got competition and potentially lots of it.  Your mission?  Don’t be a “comp.”

When agents set out to determine the price of your home, either because they are interested in listing it for sale, or because they have buyer’s interested in making an offer, they will do what is called a “CMA, ”  or Comparative Market Analysis.  In a CMA, your home is stacked up against active, pending, sold and expired listings that have COMParable features and locations: “comps.” Homes with extras, such as a kiva fireplace, will command more money; homes without such extras, less. Because no home is exactly like another home–even tract homes may have slightly different lot sizes, orientations and upgrades–a CMA is both an art and a science.

Despite its limitations, a CMA is a fact based tool.  If you don’t like the results, don’t get emotional.  Mine it for info you can turn to your advantage.   People tend to focus on the active listings, the price for which someone in the neighborhood is trying to sell their home.  But the market value of an active is unknown until someone makes an offer. Pay close attention to the comps that have sold.  Pay even closer attention to the listings that expired.  Buyers voted in favor of the sold home.  The expired home was kicked out of office.

Once you’ve looked at what sells and what doesn’t, use that measure against your own home.  Understand that not having a fireplace might hurt you with some buyers, and accept the price cut.  Now, turn your attention to your home’s assets.  Barabara Corcoran addresses this brilliantly in her book If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails: “What matters is that you identify and play up what you’ve got.”

Look at your home as if it were a theatrical stage set or work of art.  Presenting is more than just decluttering and removing personal items.  “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak, ” said abstract painter Hans Hofmann.  Let the beauty of your home speak by taking away the visual noise that prevents its charms from being heard.  Try these 30 Can’t Miss Staging Tips from HGTV’s Lisa LaPorta.

If you can afford to invest a little money, Remodeling Magazine’s 2009 Cost vs. Value Report offers tips on how to get the best return on your investment. Do you have nice wood floors that are in shabby shape?  Have them refinished or DIY –if you can do professional quality work.  Ensure you have dynamite curb appeal: weed, trim trees and bushes, repair, remove or replace a fence, add color. (We removed a chain link fence in front of our listing, a Casa Solana Stamm located at 133 Sombrio in downtown Santa Fe.  Visitor feedback confirmed what a huge impact this small gesture had on the home’s streetside presentation.)

Showings are job interviews for your home. Make sure they are dressed-to-impress.


Real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography, sculpture and other creations of emerging and independent talents. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from any sale. Currently displaying work by Mark Frossard, Laird Hovland, Jonathan Tercero at 133 Sombrio in Casa Solana, downtown Santa Fe. To schedule an appointment, call: 231.7598. For up-to-date market info and full access to the MLS, visit: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.

Art + Green on the Santa Fe Creative Scene

Caity Kennedy, photographer

Photo by Caity Kennedy

As Nature digs into her annual cycle of reduction, reuse and recycling, Santa Fe is celebrating its own happy mash of Green and artistic sensibilities through several shows that reanimate the material dead. October 30th marked Meow Wolf‘s opening for GEODEcedant, a massive, riveting installation of found objects hung in a delicate midair dance, as if the 20th century had done Spring cleaning and gleefully hurled its contents out the window into a passing tornado. On Halloween, Erika Wanenmacher opened her Ditch Witch store featuring, among other delights, amulets and talisman’s cobbled together of acequia discards (“These things tell stories; I just round ’em up.”).

In THE magazine’s November issue, Diane Armitage suggested that Meow Wolf could be viewed as Wanenmacher’s progeny.  “Their savvy, sassy, and socially conscious messages spin off nicely from Wanemacher’s decades-long meditations about a society that wastes itself, not to mention the natural world.” It’s a friendly thought: Erika’s hip, perspicacious, generous and kindly spirit born again through brilliant, healthy kids who give momma a warm kiss on the cheek before toddling off to fresh imaginative generations.

Capping the week is the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe.  The popular “Trash Fashion and Costume Contest” starts at 7PM, Friday.  The art market and exhibition run through Sunday at 5 PM.  If you’ve never seen this conversion of waste to wonder, lay down your money ($5 general admission plus another $5 for the show) and prepare to be delighted.  Meantime, check out local talent Recycle Runway‘s range of trash couture.

Stretching the recycling concept to cover other current events in the art world on the theory that “any creator owes a debt to past creation” (thank you, Lukas Foss), the following current creative efforts are noted:

The Process presents, NO BALANCE: a 5th Deathiversary Tribute to Coil’s Jhonn Balance.  November 13th, 7-10 at the Santa Fe Complex.

Michael Tait Tafoya plays original music at Vino del Corazon at the corner of Alameda and Don Gaspar

Noteworthy in the Duke City: Albuquerque Contemporary Art Center [AC]2 is wrapping up “Entanglement”,  an exhibition of recycled art by J.Zona that had a mid-October debut. Zona reworks discarded wool “to expand and render more fluid the boundaries of what is still generally classified as women’s work.”

Photography by Bert Norgorden will be on display at Horny Toad Gallery, Sunday, November 15th, 2-7 PM, 2820 Broadbent, NE.  Call: 505.345.9132 for details.


Real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography, sculpture and other creations of emerging and independent talents. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from any sale. Currently displaying work by Carlo Armendariz and Mark Frossard at the Bella Donna, 111 East Santa Fe Ave. in downtown Santa Fe. To schedule an appointment, call: 231.7598. For up-to-date market info and full access to the MLS, visit: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.

Santa Fe Art Scene: Substance over Style

"Suppertime"-Mark Frossard

“Suppertime”-Mark Frossard

Sure, Santa Fe was crowned a UNESCO Creative City in 2005 (for folk art and design) and has apparent squatter’s right in the Small Cities category of American Style’s annual poll on the top 25 arts destinations.  We’re known for the Canyon Road art galleries, the opera, Indian Market, Spanish Market and most recently, the International Folk Art Market. We’ve got SOFA, SITE Santa Fe, The Santa Fe Film Festival, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, not to mention the smorgasbord of dance, music, performance and film laid out at The Lensic.  Photographers flock here for the light, the galleries and the excellent workshops.  “In no other state of this union is the trend of life so clearly shaped by art as in New Mexico.” Edgar Lee Hewett, first director of the Museum of New Mexico, said this 100 years ago, and it may still be true.  But to my mind, the real measure of our civic creativity lies not in our institutions, but in our individual creative drive, the ingenuity and I’m-an-artist-if-I-say-so moxie of the denizens of the City Different.

You’ll find plenty to do just by checking out the Santa Fe Arts and Culture Calendar, the website for the Santa Fe Gallery Association, the Pasatiempo calendar , or the SFR Picks page in the Arts and Culture section of the Santa Fe Reporter. But to tap the depths of Santa Fe’s creative soul,  take a chance on something new. There’s a goldsteam of cultural riches that ride under the radar of many visitors and residents.

Tonight, October 30th, from 5-9 PM,  Meow Wolf, a collective of multimedia artists who pool their talents to create dynamic, “must see”, installation events, has an opening for “GEODEcedant” at their home on Second Street.  Also on Second Street, from 6-9 PM, is the opening for “Inner Demons” at Ahalenia Studios.  On Saturday night, starting at 5 PM, Baca Street Studios is having a Halloween Party, featuring the music of Sean Helean, the grand opening of Erika Wanenmacher‘s Ditch Witch Store, “fire dancers, and other spectacular wonders.”

"Chicano on Alto St"-Carlo Armendariz

“Chicano on Alto St”-Carlo Armendariz

People sometimes lament Santa Fe’s limits.  The music scene has seen its ebbs and swells and more than one fine musical venue has washed out on a mysterious tide.  But while one kid complains of a lack of toys, another kid builds castles in the sand. Like Meow Wolf, local alt curator Red Cell, is working “to bring audience and artists together in a unique way” through his non-profit group, The Process, which pulls together a distinct mix of music, art, film, spoken word and performance art.

I’ll close with a shameless plug for a few of our favorite indie and up-and-coming arts: Mark Frossard (artist and blogger) showing in downtown Santa Fe at 111 East Santa Fe Ave., sculptor Laird Hovland, photographer and musician Carlo Armendariz, photographer Jonathan Tercero, whose work currently hangs at Java Joe’s DeVargas location, and Michael Tait Tafoya (playing tonight, and most Fridays, at Vino del Corazon at the corner of Alameda and Don Gaspar).  This weekend, step out of the mainstream and treat yourself to something different in the City Different.


Real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography, sculpture and other creations of emerging and independent talents. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from any sale. For up-to-date market info and full access to the MLS, visit: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.

Barrio La Canada, Santa Fe: more neighborhood details

Barrio la CanadaFollowing on the heels of my previous post, Santa Fe Neighborhood Quick Sketch: Barrio La Canada, this post offers more nuts-and-bolts information on the Barrio La Canada neighborhood in downtown Santa Fe:

The local elementary school is the once struggling  Larragoite STEMM, now a magnet school, which has partnered with the University of New Mexico, Highlands University, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, to reinvent itself.   Through “rigorous and relevant instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics”, it aims to focus on “real-world problem solving centered on themes of community, caring, and wellness.”

Barrio La Canada’s middle school is DeVargas; its high school is Capitol. The International Baccalaureate School, Desert Academy, is across the street.

Agua Fria, which runs parallel to neighborhood’s southern expanse, provides easy access to area shopping and dining. Two good nearby restaurants are The Tune Up Cafe and Counter CulturePayne’s Nurseries north store is just 1/2 block south of the entrance to Barrio La Canada, on Camino Alire.

At this writing, there are just three active listings in Barrio la Canada, priced from $215K-325K. Two have three bedrooms, 2 baths, and 1090 to 1701 square feet; the third has a whopping 5 bedrooms, 3 baths and 2462 square feet.  In the last four months, three other listings have expired. The two houses that sold within the past six months are fairly typical of the area: a four bedroom, two bath home with a garage conversion and minor upgrades that sold for $239,000 and a three bedroom, two bath 1172 square foot fixer upper that sold for $175,000.Bridge

If you’re interested in this neighborhood, don’t try to find listings by the name of the subdivision (since it’s called both “Barrio la Canada” and “Barrio de la Canada”.)  Search by streets, or have your agent search in both areas 2 and 4N as listing agents do not consistently assign their properties to one area.

For census data and statistical information on the neighborhood, go to: City-Data.

For up-to-date information on Barrio La Canada’s real estate market, go to: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.

Dining Santa Fe: Best New Mexican

Last week, The Santa Fe Reporter released its much anticipated Best of Santa Fe issue, the results of an annual reader poll ( While we share a number of favorites, our short list for best New Mexican does not include this year’s multiple-category winner, Tomasita’s (although they do make fine sopapillas and fabulous honey butter.)  Check them all out and  send us your vote.

The Shed: Dependable excellence and charming atmosphere make this downtown spot just a block off The Plaza a mainstay for locals and tourists alike.  Good selection of non New Mexican fare if your party includes both the chile seeking and the chile adverse. We like the #10–one, blue corn, cheese enchilada and one, blue corn taco with chicken or beef.  The Chicken Enchilada Verde, with roasted chicken, is also quite good.  Carne Adovada with its deep red chile flavor is a popular item. The chile–especially, the red, is hot. If your palate or stomach favors milder fare, try the excellent Grilled Chicken, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad, or the mushroom soup– light, creamy and nicely textured with bits of fresh mushroom.  Garlic bread is a surprisingly but pleasant side. Posole is regretably bland.  Expect a wait of at least 40 minutes for dinner, a little less for lunch, but don’t let that deter you from trying what is arguably Santa Fe’s best New Mexican restaurant. * Lunch: 11:00-2:30; Dinner: 5:30-9:00 RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED * 113 1/2 E. Palace Ave. * 982.9030

Marias: Famous for its 100+ margaritas, Maria’s  takes the crown for the best local posole: full flavored, not too spicy, graced with chunks of braised pork and slivers of menudo.  We like the open faced tacos with beef and chicken as well as the enchiladas. The fajitas, served on a sizzling iron platter, have bright, deep flavor, and come with sides of tasty guacamole, fresh pico de gallo, and house made flour tortillas. The Garlic Butter New York (steak) also gets high marks.  Vegetarians have a few options, including cheese enchiladas, bean burritos and guacamole tacos.  Re: margaritas: Maria’s consistently wins polls for best margarita,  even earning the moniker “The Motherlode of Margaritas” from the Seattle Times. The range and variety of offerings bedazzle, like the flashing legs of a chorus line, but it’s the quality of ingredients that really brings home the accolades.  Maria’s only uses “real” tequila (made with at least 51% agave juice, although I’ve never had a Maria’s marg made with less than 100%) distilled and produced in Mexico and shuns mixes and flavorings in preference for freshly squeezed lemon juice and triple sec, etc. To avoid watering down the final product, the margaritas are shaken, not blended.  Denizen’s of lower altitudes, be forewarned, Maria’s margaritas are strong. Drink with restraint and respect.   555 W. Cordova Rd. *983.7929

Neighborhood Market Watch: Casa Solana

Black Hollyhock

Close to the Plaza, comparatively affordable, blessed with broad streets, mature trees and an old-fashioned neighborly feel, Casa Solana is one of our top picks for a first home, trade-up or investment in downtown Santa Fe. Located about a mile west of the Plaza, Casa Solana’s streets finger northward from West Alameda toward the neighborhood’s apex at Alamo/Camino de las Crucitas. (The Frank S. Ortiz Dog Park, a popular, off-leash dog play place for pooches, sits on the neighborhood’s upper border.) To the west is “Temblon” (which means “shaky, trembling” and, by extension, “Aspen” in Spanish). On Casa Solana’s southern border, above the Santa Fe riverbed, is Alto Park with tennis and basketball courts, a playing field, pool and bike paths (The mushroom water feature in the kiddie pool is a big hit with the tots.) On the opposite side of the street, about a block in from St. Francis, is the Casa Solana shopping center: a small strip mall with a variety of useful services including La Montanita Coop (groceries), a laundromat and five distinct restaurants: Annapurna (Chai house and Ayurvedic cuisine); Xiclo (Vietnamese); Masa Sushi, La Dolce Vita (italian/pizzeria) and Home Run Pizza. Other tenants include the Solana barbershop, Undisputed Fitness (gym), a Pak, Ship and Mail outlet, Stag tobacconists, Emmanuel’s Picture Frames and Straight-shooting Technologies. During the Spring and Summer, the center hosts the Santa Fe Artists’ market. Community services include Gonzales Elementary (more info at Great Schools.Net, Gonzales Elementary) and Police Substation #4 and reserve fire station. Casa Solana community pool, located at 1125 N. Plata Circle is open to all, although the number of memberships is limited.

The subdivision itself was established around 1950 with a cache of homes by Allen Stamm, beloved local builder. From the Santa Fe Living Treasures website:

“A visionary as well as a man of immense integrity, character, compassion and humanity…[Stamm] worked always to make [the homes he built] livable, durable, handsome, architecturally sensitive…. His homes featured hardwood floors, vigas, kiva fireplaces, nichos and other traditional touches, plus superlative workmanship. What they did not have was front-yard fences, for Stamm wanted the people living in his houses to know each other. He hired women consultants to design the kitchens. He made places for Christmas trees and highchairs, and built garages that were easily converted into bedrooms for growing families…. He elevated the building industry’s standards, here and throughout the state.

With home values as low as the mid two’s Casa Solana is one of the most affordable neighborhoods close to classic downtown Santa Fe. At this writing, there are just six homes on the market in this desirable neighborhood, priced from $275,000-369,500, all three bedroom/two bath single family homes from 1,105-1530 square feet. Since January 1 of 2009, ten homes in Casa Solana have sold. The average sales price was 95% of the listing price.

Visit for a detailed statistical profile of the Casa Solana subdivision.

Point of interest: current Santa Fe Mayor, David Coss, grew up in Casa Solana.

The sincerest token of our respect and affection for the value and liveability of Casa Solana? In 2008, we bought a home here. My business partner, Joshua Maes, had previously sold two listings in Casa Solana. We walk our dogs here and regularly ride our bikes up and down its undulating streets. If you’re interested in buying or selling in Casa Solana, let us put our knowledge to work for you.

For up-to-date info on the Casa Solana neighborhood real estate market, go to: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.


To Market, to Market

Santa Fe New Mexico

Santa Fe ranks among the The Top Ten Housing Markets for the Next 10Years, according to a US News and World Report article published last month. The rankings were based on a Moody’s Economy analysis of employment data, population figures and industry trends in 384 distinct metropolitan statistical areas. The eclectic assembly starts with Bermerton-Silverdale, Washington and ends in Decatur, Illinois. Santa Fe itself is tucked modestly between Sandusky Ohio and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. It’s a basket of apples and oranges. But on the short list of cities whose economies are considered sufficiently diverse and vigorous to bode growth, Santa Fe is a relative plum for its rich vein of culture, excellent restaurants, recreational activities and fabulous weather.

Many people assume they cannot afford a home in Santa Fe. And while it’s true that property values tend to run high and that we haven’t suffered the bottomed-out prices and foreclosures of many locales around the country, there are an impressive number of affordable properties on the Santa Fe Market right now. Combine those with low interest rates and, for first-time home buyers, the $8000 tax credit and you have a golden moment to grab a slice of the City Different.

At this writing there are over 219 single family homes, condos and townhomes priced under $250,000 available within the city limits–46 of these are single family homes. Drop the price point to $225,000 and the total number of homes is still 169 of which 20 are single family homes. Add Area 13, off Airport Road (an area which straddles city and county and was, therefore, left off the original reckoning) and the number of homes under $250K grows by an additional 59 homes of which 54 are single family dwellings, starting as low as 169 K.

Currently, we have three active listings priced under $200,000. 1713 Calle de Oriente Norte , listed at $148,900, is a sun-filled corner unit that shines with fresh paint and the owners’ loving care. The enclosed patio off the kitchen is ideal for al fresco dining or as a play area for toddlers or dogs. With a small terrace off the East-facing Master, plenty of storage and an office nook, this pleasant, modestly priced home is a terrific value.

111 East Santa Fe Ave., unit #3 and unit #4 offer affordable luxury just two blocks from the Plaza. These renovations of a original 1912 Pueblo Deco structure blend the best of contemporary beauty and Old World grace. Jaw-dropping granite counters, appliances by luxury vendors like ASKO and Sub-Zero, designer finishes, good storage, and smart floor plans make these small but exquisite units little miracles of comfort, convenience and visual appeal.

To Market, To Market to buy a fat pig

Home again, home again, jiggety jig….

–Mother Goose


Bloomberg Businessweek report places Santa Fe among Housing Markets That Will Be Strongest By 2014 Click the link to read the full article.


For full access to the MLS, visit our website at Or to obtain straight-shooting, experience-backed advice on buying or selling a home in Santa Fe, please contact me, Malissa Kullberg, or my business partner, Joshua Maes via phone, text or e-mail.

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