peace in the Valley

Peace in the Valley photo
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Peace in the Valley photo
French country kitchen
Ric and Kriston Rutherford
Master bath

by Jessa Cast
photographs by Jerry Walters

a custom home is a haven for its builder owners and area wildlife

After 17 years in a traditional (and many times remodeled and expanded) adobe home, Ric and Kriston Rutherford began casting around for a potential new homestead. Tired of living on a long, narrow lot, they were hoping to find one that was square-shaped and more flexible in terms of views and usable yard space. One lucky day in 2015, while motoring around the North Valley, Ric and Kriston they stumbled upon the perfect acre of land, secluded and thick with Chinese elm trees. It was square. It was for sale. And then . . . it was theirs.

Ric Rutherford spent some of his formative years abroad, experiencing the rich histories and styles of Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. years later, he’s literally brought the world into his home.

Though this is the first ground-up home Ric and Kriston have built for themselves, as the owners of Rutherford Design & Construction, they’ve built and remodeled plenty for others. The company started remodeling houses in 1993 and soon branched out into new homes and commercial construction. Rutherford’s work, peppered all over town, includes many tailor- made homes as well as familiar commercial properties such as Fiat of Albuquerque, Builders Source Appliance Gallery, and Melloy Dodge.

The design of their personal home took a mere matter of hours for these two experts, who came to the drawing table with plenty of ideas borrowed from other projects. Nevertheless, they were exhilarated to include all the details made possible by a from-scratch home. “We had the opportunity to do everything we’d ever dreamed of,” says Kriston. So they dreamed big.

The 4,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home is distinctive. A huge fish pond, complete with a bridge and flowering lily pads, greets guests at the front gate.

Inside, vaulted ceilings and archways carry the eye high, delineating changes in space. A two-sided wood-burning replace warms the social spaces. The layout was carefully considered so each interior room captures an attractive exterior scene. “In every room you have a different view,” says Ric of the strategically placed windows. “You’re not looking at a wall; you’re looking through it.”

Every bedroom has outdoor access, and there are indeed lots of reasons to step outside. In love with their locale, Ric and Kriston made sure to put as much intention into the exterior spaces as those inside. “We utilized the entire piece of property,” says Ric. “Outside, there’s a campfire area, a center courtyard, a south courtyard, an east courtyard, and a swing set. If it’s too windy there, come over here; too much
sun here, go over there.” Depending on the time of day and the season, they might be harvesting grapes they’ve grown, taking a dip in the pool, showering al fresco, or hosting a barbecue. Moreover, this haven isn’t just for humans; the property is recognized by the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, a sanctuary for Mother Nature’s creatures.

Indoors, however, is where the house really shines. That it’s a HERS Gold–rated, green home and runs on Control4 smart home technology is certainly impressive. So are the awards Rutherford Design & Construction swept in its price category during the Spring 2018 Parade of Homes: Premier, Premier Green, Best Kitchen, Best Bath, Most Innovative, and the Buyer’s Choice Award.

The laundry room cleverly shares a wall with the master closet, hidden behind sliding barn doors, where hampers glide between the master closet and the laundry room, eliminating the dreaded basket-laden trudge. Function is artful here; a TV in a tall kitchen cabinet becomes visible via remote control, and bathroom drawers have outlets built into them so hair dryers are always ready to go and simple to stash. “Making it easy to cut visual clutter is what makes people actually put things away,” says Ric. All the creature comforts blend in so as not to disturb the aesthetic.

But it’s the character of the house that’s most arresting, the delicate tension between modernity and antiquity. Bespoke, custom-stained knotty alder cabinetry nimbly marries the polished contemporary and rustic, old world aesthetics, as do the many repurposed furniture pieces refurbished by Kriston.

Ric spent some of his formative years living abroad, experiencing the rich histories and styles of Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The time spent marinating in the vestiges of Europe’s bygone times stuck with him; years later, he’s literally brought the world into his home. The style of this house is a conglomeration of so many harmonious things, it defies labeling. But it’s fun to try.

Is it French? Indian walnut wood abuts gorgeous limestone floors imported from France, and there’s that classic farmhouse sink, so yes, it’s a little French. Maybe a bit New Mexican, too, thanks to light glinting off specks of blond barley straw mixed into natural clay walls, a local classic. Raw-edged stone windowsills contrast with sleek textures, making it both rustic and contemporary. The substantial stone walls and floors are stately, as though disassembled from a historic country chateau and transported here for reassembly. It feels like a step back in time. Tuscan? Yes, in a muted way, though everything is in soothing variations of gray and cream, anchored by a single broad slab of Taj Mahal quartzite in the kitchen. Distressed wood and raw, rusted metal accents indicate a touch of industrialism. And then there are the antique, 18th-century mesquite Dutch doors.

“In every room you have a different view. you’re not looking at a wall; you’re looking through it.” —Ric Rutherford

Mixing many genres together sounds intriguing in theory, but if not done well can be a recipe for disaster. In this spectacular, hard-to-label home, the Rutherfords have masterfully fused their eclectic sources of inspiration into a mellifluous domicile. “French farmhouse?” Ric muses. “Modern rustic industrial farmhouse!” Kriston counters.

Really, they just call it home.

Designer, Builder & Interior Design
Rutherford Design & Construction

Builders Source Appliance Gallery

AV and Smart Home System
hD Systems, Inc.

Bathroom Countertops, Exposed Brick & French Limestone Flooring
Stonewood Flooring

Cabinetry, Window Seats, Work Station, Barn Doors
Marc Sowers Bespoke Woodwork

Central Vacuum
Albuquerque Sound & Vac

Hot Tub
Hermanson Construction

The Hilltop

Library Bookcase
Woodlife Custom Cabinets

Brent’s mechanical

Natural Clay Walls
Solamente Clay

Quartzite & Granite Countertops
Arizona tile

Villanueva Tile & Granite

Shower Door Glass & Glazing
Albuquerque Shower Door

Sinks, Fixtures & Tubs
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Piñon window & Door