Jules Moore and her ever-present sidekick Sake, a French bulldog with a legitimate French passport, never had their sights set on Santa Fe. As an accomplished multi-hyphenate (interior designer-set designer-model painter-avid traveler) and wanderer at heart, Moore had plans to trade in the shores of California for those in the South of France for some peace and quiet.
After a conversation with a friend about Santa Fe’s topographical similarities to the rural environment of Moore’s homeland of New Zealand and before making the trans-Atlantic move, Moore and Sake hit the dusty trails to New Mexico on a whim. As fate would have it, she fell head-over-heels for its local art scene and rich indigenous history that informed the Pueblo-style architecture dotting the area’s semiarid landscape. Mesmerized by her experience, Moore decided to put down some roots in Santa Fe within two days.
When she initially set eyes on her now home perched on a canyon’s ridge, Moore recalls saying to her broker, “I love the land. I love where it’s situated. Now let’s look at the house.” However, inside it was a far cry from fitting the move-in-ready bill. Uninhabited (at least by humans) for more than 10 years prior, it had fallen into disrepair with water seeping in through the walls and all-too-small windows as mold took hold.
“I looked out the little windows, all I could see was views from every room and I immediately thought, ‘Blow them out, go big, and this place will take on light.”
Ever the visionary, Moore could see what most couldn’t. “I know when it’s the right space. I get a photographic flash of what it’s going to be. It’s immediate,” she said. “I looked out the little windows, all I could see was views from every room and I immediately thought: ‘Blow them out, go big, and this place will take on light.”’
To do so, Moore tapped into the legendary talent of someone well-versed in the Pueblo-style home that she had in mind: Frank Trujillo, president and second-generation owner of Tierra de Zia Contracting, LLC.
“When I walked in the home for the first time, it needed a lot of work,” Trujillo said. “All of the windows were old, the floors were old. I believe the heating was not working. We knew it needed roof work, which was done immediately. But she knew exactly what she wanted to do with it. We wanted to keep some of the original architecture, like the fireplaces and some of the woodwork and some of the curves that were originally here, and incorporate it with her style.”
“In this home I wanted to make space for entertaining,” Moore said. “I love a lot of people coming to my home. I love large dinner parties. I want everyone to feel completely at ease. I wanted an extremely large kitchen … you could cook and go different directions and never have to get in each other’s way.”
After the project was underway, Moore returned to Norway to complete her aforementioned project, collaborating with Trujillo remotely for what they thought might be a handful of months. Enter the era of COVID, and a few months turned into 20. Nonetheless, Moore continued to draft little illustrations to help direct Trujillo from afar, transforming the house by about 75 percent from its original state by Moore’s estimation.
“The home’s footprint was strong,” Moore said. “There were just walls that needed to be pushed back, walls that needed to be closed off, a big, solid wall in the living room that I made into a divider wall that you could see through because it was just so dark and light needed to happen.”
The After: Enlightened In Every Way
To step inside Moore’s beautifully reimagined home today is to experience an artfully curated snapshot of her life. Modern design influences comingle with decades of her overland adventures, which included living in mud huts in Southeast Asia and staying on boats in India. “Every single thing in my house is found. So, it’s all got a story,” Moore said.
And tell stories this space does. Her approach is as gorgeously eclectic as it is effortlessly ethereal. For example, leaning against one wall, you might find a modern painting created by Moore herself next to a delicate and towering wood carving whittled from a single tree trunk she acquired while traveling through Africa. “Might” being the operative word, as she’s constantly reconfiguring her space with new musings.
During golden hour, honey-hued light pours through the Ultimate Sliding doors into the great room. Echoing her globally informed aesthetic, Moore opted for a bronze finish that’s equally timeless and transportive. “I wanted a rich bronze and I wanted to see wood grain. And Marvin was the only one to present exactly what I wanted,” she said. To meet her vision, she selected an espresso stain on the wood interiors, which Marvin handled before sending the windows and doors to Santa Fe.
Another popular sunset vista—one that Sake’s inclined to indulge in—is from the Skycove in the home’s primary suite. One of Marvin’s latest innovations, this is a window unlike any other. Glass on four sides, the Skycove juts out from the wall to create a perfect space to watch the sun dip behind the cross-canyon mountains. Moore’s deft décor styling makes it all the cozier with sheepskins sourced from New Zealand and custom pillows made with enchanting Turkish textiles.
“Marvin was the only team that presented to me different options that were going to work for this home. I wanted the picture windows, but I needed the classic element to match the colonial wood. I wanted awnings and these giant windows to pop out in my den and kitchen … they customized everything, exactly what I wanted.”
On the opposite side of the home is a lovely guest suite. “If adults come to this house, you can be separated from each other. You each have your own patio. You don’t cross each other in any way. That was a big key to making it the house it is,” Moore said.
Trujillo’s take on it all? “Since we finished this house, it’s just a totally different feel. Before, it was much darker. The house is twice as bright as it was, and just a clean, soft, comfortable feeling now,” he said.
Parting Words Of Wisdom
When it comes to remodeling, Moore’s advice is simple, “Just relax. It can be so overwhelming, and people can get so panicked and worried, but it’s all going to be okay In fact, it’s one of the most rewarding things for people to take on
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