Just a Five-Minute Walk from Downtown, These Condos Represent the Ideal Las Cruces Lifestyle
Written by Tiffany Etterling and Allison Oster
Photography by Steven Kavanagh
Tucked behind a Spanish wall just a five-minute walk from Downtown Las Cruces, lies a little-noticed complex. Step through the beautifully-crafted iron gate and it’s almost like stepping back in time. This serene community complex boasts eight condo units, or “casitas,” each uniquely designed yet tied together by their Southwestern heritage.
Elements of Southwest design ABOUND IN THIS PROPERTY INCLUDING THE ORIGINAL LATILLA CEILINGS IN ONE OF CASITA #4’S TWO LIVING AREAS (LEFT); FESTIVE POPS OF COLOR (BOTTOM, RIGHT); AND A MANTLE ENLAYED WITH AN AUTHENTIC VIGA (BOTTOM, LEFT).
“It’s one of those properties that when people come, even if they’ve lived in Las Cruces all their lives, they say, ‘I never knew this was here,’” points out Donna Wiles, who owns three of the condos with her husband, John, two of which are currently for sale. “It has a lot of charm, just like the rest of Las Cruces.”
The couple purchased their first condo on the property in 2001. While in town visiting friends, they happened upon the real estate sign and were immediately drawn in by the Southwestern design and the secluded privacy of the area.
“The Inn of the Arts Bed and Breakfast was a beautiful property with lots of potential,” shares John. “We saw the condos and fell in love with them. We thought it would be a great place to rehab.”
The Wiles later purchased two more units and began transforming them into beautiful, modernized casitas, while taking care to preserve their original Spanish charm. One of the units has served as the Wiles’ second home for the past 16 years, as they fell in love with the community and its atmosphere.
Historic Charm Maintained
Originally owned in the late 1800s by Col. William H. H. Llewellyn, a Spanish-American War veteran and later Speaker of the House of Representatives for what was then New Mexico Territory, the buildings are considered historic.
Later, Inn of the Arts innkeeper Jerry Lundeen divided the hacienda into eight individual casitas. Each one was made unique by its owners, adding further to the charm of this inviting residence. The Wiles love this connection to local history. They were inspired by the challenge to renovate the condos while maintaining the integrity of the adobe.
“My wife and I have rehabbed buildings for years,” says John. “We love trying to bring back buildings to live in, and modernize them so they will be comfortable. The challenge of trying to renovate them in the Southwestern style was really exciting to us.”
What began as a one-condo renovation project soon grew as they purchased the additional properties. Each casita is uniquely arranged and styled, no two alike, and the owners take great pride in the interiors, working together to keep the exterior and community areas looking inspired.
“The biggest upgrade we made to the casitas was rearranging the rooms so that they flow better for the way we live today,” shares Donna. This included flipping the kitchen to the other side of the house in one unit, as well as increasing closet space and adding a second half bath. Donna also applied her artistic eye to incorporate design elements that bring together modern features with Spanish and Mexican charm.
“It has a lot of charm, just like the rest of Las Cruces.” says Donna.
Touring the Casitas
Casita #4 is a one-bedroom, two living area, one-and-a-half-bath featuring wood floors and tall ceilings with vigas. One of the rooms still has the original latilla ceiling. Donna describes the home as having a softer color palette throughout, which, combined with the two fireplaces, creates a warm, cozy atmosphere.
The tiles in the kitchen bring a splash of color to the room, while the specially-designed bathroom features tiles layered in colors like a sarape. “It’s really enveloping,” says Donna of the tilework. A garden scene painted by artist Georgiana Feltha completes the bathroom, and a full-sized wall mirror reflects the painting and adds depth to the room.
Casita #6, a one-bedroom, one-bath, features warm, Mexican colors. “I tried to incorporate the indigenous architecture, the nichos and colors of the area,” says Donna. “Everything is in the mix of Mexican and American Indian. It’s more Mexican flair being closer to the border.”
The bathroom features a vibrant mixture of tiles, while splashes of yellow throughout the home tie the decor together. Donna found local artists to contribute to the design, including utilizing repurposed wood doors and other elements from Tony Gonzales of West Studio in Canutillo.
For both units, buyers have the option to purchase them fully furnished, including linens. Each one includes a private patio, and views of the green vista and community spaces.
A True Community
This condo complex offers a welcoming, community atmosphere that adds to the uniqueness of this complex. And, with a large, shared green space, the complex is very dog-friendly.
Adding to the charm of this community are the residents themselves. Neighbors are known for looking out for one another and often gather in the common area for weekly dinners or to stargaze on clear nights. It’s not uncommon for residents to head to the Fountain Theatre in Mesilla together for a movie night, or to visit the markets and local shops.
The blend of community found in this well-designed, historic Southwestern complex with convenient proximity to nearby Downtown Las Cruces, makes it an idyllic place to call home.
Each casita is uniquely arranged and styled, no two alike, and the owners take great pride in the interiors, working together to keep the exterior and community areas looking inspired.
About These Homes
636 Alameda boulevard
- Square Feet: 933 sq. ft.
- Bedrooms: 1
- Bathrooms: 1.5
- currently offered at: $155,000
- Square Feet: 740 sq. ft.
- Bedrooms: 1
- Bathrooms: 1
- currently offered at: $135,000
Wood and Tile Floors, Fireplace, Private Patio, Dishwasher, Gas Range, Microwave, Washer/Dryer
Steinborn & Associates Real Estate
This condo complex offers a welcoming, community atmosphere that adds to the uniqueness of this complex.