When a 6.5 acre property in Santa Fe, New Mexico went up for sale in 2012, Karen Rogers Still knew she had to have it. Although there were plenty of challenges along the way, the interior designer made it her business to turn Tano Point Estate into a peaceful oasis that she and her husband, Marc, and family members could enjoy for years to come.
Now on the market for $15 million by Sotheby’s International Realty, this potential family compound or corporate retreat is ready for its next chapter.
Nestled on more than 6 acres with 360-degree views, the postcard-worthy property features multiple buildings with flexible uses. The 12,329-square-foot main residence was originally designed by John Gaw Meem, who is widely considered New Mexico’s greatest 20th century architect and whose name is synonymous with Santa Fe style.
A beautiful white stucco front gate leads to a cobblestone driveway and entry house. Additional structures include two guest houses, a chapel, dining pavilion, gazebos and potting shed. Two private wells, a swimming pool and cabana are also on the grounds.
“Taking these old houses and remodeling them is much more difficult than building a house from scratch because you’ve got layers and layers of sort of like an onion to peel back every time you open a wall,” said Still. “We would find walls that probably were not structurally sound, so we would just have to start over. We found a lot of interesting things as we were going through it and rebuilding. It was almost a room at a time. It was pretty laborious, but the finished product is one of the most fabulous houses in Santa Fe.”
One challenge during construction was that the house is laid out on two separate planes. “There’s not one wing that turns and goes at a 45-degree angle,” explained Still. “One building went one way and another building went the other way. So trying to visually square up this house during construction and make the rooms not feel like you’re going in different directions was quite challenging. I was really glad for it to be over when we finished.”
The main house has air conditioning and radiant floor heating. Reclaimed wooden beams from a barn in Pennsylvania are a striking addition to the dining room ceiling. “They are very, very special, and the design of that ceiling was a master craftsmanship project,” said Still. “It is so beautifully done.”
Views of the Colorado mountains and Badlands add an extra wow factor to the estate. “I’ve had people come here that have lived in Santa Fe their entire lives,” said Still. “They’ve never seen a property that has views like this in every direction.”
After the couple bought the property, they got married in the chapel, which Still said the previous owner had built as a venue for his daughter’s wedding.
“We had our wedding there and then immediately started construction,” she said. “And now we’ve turned it into a fun man cave, sort of a sports bar for watching football.”
Though no stranger to remodeling projects, Still said this one was pretty daunting. “I’m an interior designer so I really wanted to have my hands on everything down to the last hinge on the door,” she explained. “It was quite a process of finding the right people to work on the project because we were like old family for four years while the construction was going on. I was here on the property almost every day.”
The couple’s motivation when they remodeled the house was to build it and they will come. “We have the bocce court, swimming pool, a huge garden, chickens and, of course, the chapel down below with a pool table. And you can watch football games or movies,” said Still. “I think this house is ideally suited for a large family. There are plenty of places for people to stay or come and hang out in the summertime.”
As far as laid-back summers go, the couple have endeavored to make the garden a place to kick back and enjoy the great outdoors with its lush greenery, potting shed and dining pavilion with a grill.
“We have a really long table in the middle of the garden,” she said. “In the summer, we’ll often have dinners down there and serve out of the dining pavilion. We’ll have 20 people at this long table with string lights above it, and it’s pretty incredible. You feel like you’re in the middle of the Italian countryside. We have tons of food that we harvest out of the garden, and we’ve had wedding receptions down there. It’s a great place to have a party. My husband and I love to entertain, so we have really enjoyed this.”
The property is home to striking sunsets. “When you live in a house like this and you have such beautiful surroundings, sometimes you take it for granted,” said Still, adding, “but once in a while, the sunsets will just blow your mind. They are so intense. It’s like nothing you would see anywhere else. Santa Fe is a magical place anyway, and it’s just beautiful. We’re on top of a hill so we can see everything.”