If This House Could Talk: Lush Compound Along Nambe River

Date May 15, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Publication SantaFe.com

Categories Real Estate


Venturing just 20 minutes north of Santa Fe you'll come upon the beautiful agricultural valley of Nambe. One of two large properties that anchor the Nambe Valley is 183 Camino del Rincon, an irrigated property that overlooks the roughly 100+ acre historic Las Acequias Ranch. The adobe house, among tall cottonwoods, is reminiscent of many old adobes in New Mexico.

What is the history of this house?

I was a small two room adobe house on the property in 1886. In 1942 my parcel was split off the Las Acequias Ranch and came to resemble the 3.6 acre property that I am today. As is typical of many New Mexico houses, rooms were added to accommodate the people who lived in me. My oldest rooms are the entry, dining room and kitchen.

I'm lucky to be sited on a conservation easement and beautiful meadows that were once polo fields but which are currently hayed twice each summer. Just beyond the meadows are the Nambe River and the cottonwoods that frame its banks. The neighbor who lives to the west of me says that my well was the second commercially drilled well in the valley. In the late 1980s my current owner bought me and filled my stable with horses and created pipe-fencing corrals and pasture. Access to the acequia allows my pastures to be green and lush all summer.

Tell us a little about this system of irrigation

The Pueblo Indians, who've lived in my valley for hundreds of years, established the acequia system of irrigation. The Spaniards and Mexicans, who later settled this valley, adopted this method of irrigation. The system has remained pretty much the same to this day. Members of the Acequia Association must follow a schedule, or a set of rules established communally, which is administered by the mayordomo. The water in my acequia is held in Nambe Lake, released via the Nambe River and then diverted into the Acequia del Rincon.

Tell me how you have changed?

When my present owner purchased me I was a traditional 2,500 sq. ft. adobe house with two bedrooms and two baths, a gracious living room, dining room, kitchen and a patio that overlooks the fields below. In the 1990s she decided to build a clay/straw structure adjacent to the main house. This was designed to capture the beautiful views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the bosque. There were many international activists' retreats held in this building and it was used as a gallery. It would still make an incredible place for retreats, conferences, meetings or an office space. It can also double as a guesthouse as the building has a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Another addition to the property was a two-story structure which can be used as guest suites. In addition to all this is a small studio. All told I am now a property with over 5,000 sq. ft. of buildings that have flexible uses to accommodate different types of people.

Who would purchase this house?

This would be the perfect place for anyone desiring a rural New Mexico lifestyle and still have access to Santa Fe. I'm ideal for those who appreciate historic adobe buildings or want the magical setting of a New Mexico River Valley under the graceful sheltering trees.