Taking a dip in this cleverly designed hot tub right in front of a crackling fire gives new meaning to relaxing after a long day.
Written by Cheryl Fallstead Photography by Donicio Madrid
“I don’t think you can get a bett/er view of the Organ Mountains than you can get right out that window.”
– John Shaska
If the rule in real estate is “location, location, location,” in Las Cruces it can be amended to include “view, view, view,” specifically of the dramatic Organ Mountains. A Sonoma Ranch home that offers mountain views in rich abundance has recently come on the market, thanks to the decision made by owners John and Cathy Shaskas to move back to Pennsylvania full time to be closer to family.
Despite their decision to move, John says, “We love it out here and the first thing anybody looks at is the panoramic view. I don’t think you can get a better view of the Organ Mountains than you can get right out that window.”
They were drawn to the area by a Forbes magazine article listing New Mexico as one of the ten best places to live. John had visited northern New Mexico on hunting trips and eventually he and Cathy, his wife of almost 21 years, decided to buy this lot in Las Cruces. Three years after purchasing it, they had their beautiful custom home built.
The house is located in the prestigious Sonoma Ranch Estates gated community and was designed for them by Michael Weeks and built by Jared Smith in early 2008. It features sweeping views of the mountains through the three large great room windows, plus the dining room, master bedroom, and several secluded patio areas, including a roof-top hide-away. Because the lot is situated on a high spot in the neighborhood, no other buildings block the view.
The home is sited on a very large lot, almost an acre, and is a gardener’s dream, including an orchard with a wide variety of trees: pistachio, peach, apricot, apple, pear, plum, pomegranate, plus fig and grapes. The rest of the backyard is ringed with oleander, and there are also wisteria, roses, cacti, and Afghan pines, along with a lovely lawn area, a feature they added for their two dogs to enjoy.
Appropriately for their address on Tuscan Hills Lane, the home has a rich Italian feel. It has marble countertops throughout, tongue-and-groove ceilings with beams and corbels, tile or hardwood floors in all rooms except the carpeted spare bedroom, plantation shutters, ceiling fans, an open floor plan encompassing a kitchen cooks will die for, a large dining area, and a great room with views of both the Organ Mountains and, to the west, their custom patio. The grand hallways are wide and the entrance is dramatic, a turret tower that includes niches to display art and a tile mosaic of a horse, which is perfect for the owners since John is the veterinarian at a standard bred track in Pennsylvania.
The kitchen is a gourmet’s delight, with a gas stove that includes a pot filler, a granite island with a prep sink, stainless steel appliances, a wine and beverage cooler, and custom cabinets. The kitchen, Cathy notes, flows nicely when you’re cooking for just the family or a crowd, and she appreciates the extra space the island offers and the convenience of the pot filler over the stove. A large, round skylight is situated above the kitchen, providing extra light.
One area of the home that gets plenty of use is the deep covered patio that includes an in-ground hot tub with waterfall and a skylight that was John’s addition to the design. Despite being on the west side of the house, the patio offers plenty of cool shade in the summer and, thanks to the wood-burning fireplace, warmth on cool days. When entertaining, John and Cathy say, they start on the patio, then move indoors to finish the evening.
This spacious 2,990-square-foot, one-story home includes two heating/cooling systems as well as two hot water heaters. To combat the dry desert air, there is also a dual humidifier system. The entire home and patio areas are wired to a Bose sound system, so as you soak in the hot tub or sunbathe on the roof-top patio, you can enjoy your favorite music.
The master bedroom is a perfect place to sleep or just relax, with warm wood floors and ceiling, a fireplace, a bank of eight-foot windows affording dramatic views to the east, spacious walk-in closet, and a master bath with dual vanities, large shower, and jetted tub. Step out of the bedroom to an intimate covered patio with mountain views to sip your morning coffee or an evening glass of wine. The front of the house also offers a small covered patio, accessed from a door near the dining room.
Cathy, a life-long yoga enthusiast, appreciates the areas of the home that offer serenity, saying, “I love the hot tub, of course, and the upstairs patio. I think it is really peaceful. I sit up there and read. The jetted tub in the bathroom is very nice and tranquil.”
Throughout the home, traditional niches display art. John says, “I like to be able to display the things we bought out here,” adding a Southwestern touch to a Tuscan-designed home. The great room fireplace is made of stacked stone, which creates additional display and bookshelf areas.
The third bedroom/den/office is John’s territory and speaks of his love of horses. It offers rich wood tones and the home’s third fireplace. He can put his feet up and relax with a book or his own choice of television programming.
Ending the day on this Tuscan Hills property offers many options: soak in the hot tub, watch the warm glow on the mountains from the rooftop patio, wander the orchard, relax in the great room, create a delicious meal in the gourmet kitchen, or play with the dogs on the lawn. Which would you choose?
About This Home
2305 Tuscan Hills
- Square Feet: 2,990 sq. ft.
- Bedrooms: 3
- Bathrooms: 2.5
- Currently offered at: $620,000
Four Fireplaces, Cul-de-sac Street, Hardwood and Tile Floors, Tongue-and-Groove Wood Ceilings, In-Ground Hot Tub, Kitchen Island with Prep Sink, Acre Lot, Orchard
Steinborn & Associates Real Estate