Jon and Kathy Mertz greatly appreciate the mountain views from their home in Cerros Colorados, a community of custom-built, single-family homes on Hyde Park Road, the road leading to the Santa Fe Ski Basin.
“One of the things we really liked about the house when my wife and I were looking at homes is that the design is really simple,” Jon Mertz says. “There’s not a single square foot in this house that’s wasted, in our opinion. It’s a very well-thought-out design. The flow of the overall home just makes sense.”
The Mertzes, who relocated to Santa Fe four years ago, also were drawn to the combination of their home’s Pueblo Revival-style features and its contemporary aspects. While the home has traditional beamed ceilings and plastered walls, it also has high ceilings, arched windows and travertine tile floors.
Built in 2003, the home was remodeled in 2019 to give it a more contemporary look and feel. The Mertzes worked with interior designer and Santa Fe native Erica Ortiz-Berke. The owner of NeuBleu Interior Design, Ortiz-Berke has a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Art Institute of Colorado and has worked in Santa Fe interior design for almost eleven years.
The kitchen was one of the areas of the home that dramatically changed. “We didn’t gut the kitchen, but we reconfigured it,” Ortiz-Berke recalls. In the original layout, the stovetop was on the island. The homeowners found it took up too much space, detracting from the island’s functionality. Ortiz-Berke removed the stovetop, enlarged the island to provide ample prep space and included a built-in microwave. A Bertazzoni stove was installed in another part of the kitchen.
Also new in the kitchen are the apron sink, plumbing fixtures, lovely pendant lights from Rejuvenation and the Calacatta Supreme countertops from Quantum Stone in Albuquerque.
The backsplash beneath the kitchen’s upper cabinets is a pearl-colored, hexagonal-grid mosaic made of Carrera marble purchased at Statements in Santa Fe. Behind the Bertazzoni cooktop is a square Pratt + Larson custom ceramic tile backsplash, with tile also from Statements in Santa Fe.
“Jon and Kathy love color so they gave me the liberty to pull together a palette for the remodel,” says Ortiz-Berke. “Usually what I do is present two complete palettes and give clients a choice, so they won’t feel like I just pigeonholed them into one scheme.” The Mertzes chose moody, darker hues and some rich jewel tones.
The painting in the dining area is a recent addition to the home. Contemporary Form: Black, Turquoise and Red, by Steve McElroy of Dallas, is a bold oil on canvas abstract that has a strong visual impact and fits the dining room’s long wall to a T. “We love the openness of the kitchen, family room and dining room, but we have a large wall there, and we wanted something that stood out a little and represented the space well,” says Jon Mertz. “The painting is also a good background when I’m doing Zoom calls. I get comments about it.”
The living room fireplace was included in the remodel. A wooden mantel was replaced with a plaster feature. “We custom-tinted the plaster for the fireplace so it wasn’t a stark white,” says Ortiz-Berke. Since the couple’s furniture no longer seemed to fit with the redesigned living room, the Mertzes purchased a new sofa, chairs and a Loloi rug.
The renovated home office is outfitted with a custom lacquered desk, lighting by Visual Comforts, a shelving unit from Currey & Company, and an American Leather sofa bed with Schumacher pillows.
The room in the home that went through the most dramatic change, however, was the master bathroom. It was updated with a sculptured, freestanding tub and a waterfall vanity top with rectangular cutout sinks. Black, honed slate replaced what Mertz describes as “a rusty quartz kind of tile” on the floor, vanity and the old tub surround.
“We gutted that bathroom, and it’s all new,” says Ortiz-Berke. “Arizona Tile provided the materials for the floor and the Calacatta Nouveau porcelain wall tiles. The plumbing fixtures are by Hansgrohe. The MTI bathtub has a really cool feature: it fills the tub from within, so there’s no spigot.”
Including the time required to secure the city approvals, the remodeling project took four months. Currently, the Mertzes are building a new home in Tesoro Enclave, in the northwest section of Las Campanas. Their current home is not on the market since their agent, Darlene Streit from Sotheby’s International Realty, found a buyer who is willing to wait for the Mertzes’ new house to be completed.
For their next house, the Mertzes are going with a contemporary design and working with Archaeo Architects, Boss Builders and Ortiz-Berke. “It will be a warm, contemporary home filled with amazing texture, color and classic finishes for a long-lasting aesthetic appeal,” says Ortiz-Berke.
Paul Weideman has written about architecture, historic preservation, photography, archaeology, art, real estate and culture for the Santa Fe New Mexican and other publications for 30 years. He is the author of the 2019 book ARCHITECTURE Santa Fe: A Guidebook.