The 1970’s Alpine Time Capsule Saga

Episode 1: Exodus

Around Thanksgiving time last year (November 2015), I took a sharp lefthand turn down a rocky path because I was presented with some really exciting creative possibilities. I was contacted and asked to renovate a condo at the Kandahar in the Taos Ski Valley IMG_3708– one that was in an extreme state of disrepair, neglect, and had become a derelict, drowning 1970’s time capsule. I was psyched! I responded to the challenge because it necessitated doing it on a shoestring budget, therefore relying heavily on my creativity and resourcefulness, and I loved the opportunity to get out of my studio during the dark, cold months of winter. And to utilize skills that I don’t get to use as much here because the Tin Works is so predominantly metalwork… But this was walls, ceilings, stairs, and stink. Textiles, lighting, restoring furniture, updating decor… it was everything about taking it from its currently pitiful state and creating an environment where visiting skiers and the occasional summer renters would feel not only the charm of New Mexico, but the underlying pulse of creativity that is so rampant in Taos. As much as possible, I wanted everything in there to be unique – no big box look. Just special and lovely. I wanted people to gasp with joy upon entering, and know that they were in for a treat. So the first thing I had to do was get everything out of there – and I mean EVERYTHING.

Disclaimer: please excuse any snarky-sounding remarks about the condo and/or its contents. They are not a reflection of the owners, the Kandahar, or any other associates. We’re just havin’ a little fun with this. 

From the hand-sewn shower curtain, circa 1966 to the crusty upstairs carpet, it all had to go. All the while, I was dealing with and removing personal family items, treating everything with a special sensitivity and utmost respect to the family.


Click me! (but plug your nose!)

Little plastic flowers, jigsaw puzzles in boxes that were held together with miles of tape (clearly missing many pieces),

and the pair of green velvet sleeper sofas… faded, torn, stained… to name a few.


Eric Cebada & Co.

I hired an awesome crew – Eric Cebada and buddies who had a 4WD pickup truck and trailer so we could get up there. Eric and the boys brought all the stuff to the Tin Works and it was loaded in my studio in the back. It took 2 big truckloads. After the first load was delivered and the boys had gone to get the second, I was alone in the Tin Works with The Stuff. Suddenly, an intense feeling of overwhelm and panic washed over me. I didn’t know what was causing it. I flew out the front door, blazed over to Cid’s Food Market, bought a package of lemon cookies and crazily devoured them. What was going on?! I was going berzerk! I came back to the Tin Works, stuffed to the guild with lemon cookies, and realized it was the smell from The Stuff that caused my sugar bomb panic attack. So I waited outside for the boys to return with the second load from the condo, and when they got back, I had them take those two sofas outside where they couldn’t bother me.

Then began the process of imagining and visualizing what I could do to and with the things I brought back. The gun had gone off, I was running full tilt. Here we go.

There is much to tell, but I want to give it to you a little at a time. But I can’t help myself… SPOILER ALERT! Here’s a sneak peek of one of the improvements… I present to you the master bedroom dressers as they were, and what they have become.

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IMG_3773 IMG_3771

Stay tuned for more!

To be continued…

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