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AAUW House Tour 2005

Photos and article by Mary Miller

The annual Visitas de Navidad Christmas house tour, sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is set for Sunday December 4 from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $6 each, with proceeds going to scholarships for Socorro women. Tickets can be purchased at Socorro Office Supply, Brownbilt, or from any AAUW member. Tickets will also be sold at all the homes during the tour. Besides viewing the homes, visitors are provided with refreshments and music.

Visitas de Navidad began in December 1968, as a fundraiser for the Socorro branch of AAUW, to provide scholarships to Socorro High School senior girls and New Mexico Tech women each spring. Many young women in Socorro have benefited from the scholarship awards. For 37 years, the tour has been hosting visits to at least four to five homes each year. This years’ co-chairs, Kay Krehbiel and Sallie Smith, report that the tour will be as wonderful as the very first one was. The home is an expression of the people who live there and this year’s homes are no exception. The homes offered are a variety from newly remolded, to historical, to art and music, to a seven-loom home. The houses may be viewed in any order.

Greene Home

Greene Home – 1220 Calle de Lago

If you love Christmas, this is the house for you! From the artistic metal nativity figures on the living room mantel to the 12-foot exquisitely decorated tree in the corner, to the Hawaiian Santa on the bar, and the 8x8 elk head complete with Santa hat, this house is beautifully decorated from “head to toe”.

Native Socorroans Kelly and Jennifer Greene, with sons Justin and Dillon, have spent a year remodeling and redecorating this home originally built many years ago by Kelly’s dad, who was a contractor. In the process, they have added 700 square feet to the home. Kelly and Jennifer designed the remodel and did much of the work themselves. They tiled the floors, re-did the living-dining room’s 16-foot cathedral ceiling, put in new fixtures, doors, appliances, counter tops and cabinets, and turned the garage into a den.

There is a western feeling about the home. The beautiful elk was killed by lightning on Kelly’s grandmother’s Datil ranch many years ago. Visitors will discover a collection of Fiesta dishware and an antique sewing machine from Kelly’s grandmother. Look for the rope accessories throughout the home, and especially in the master bedroom. Check out the to-die-for walk-in closet and claw-foot tub in the bathroom.

Klinglesmith Home

Klinglesmith Home – 1215 Vista Drive

Dan and Gerry live in one of the original New Mexico Tech faculty homes, which has been remodeled and added to at least twice. They first came to Socorro in 1987 for a sabbatical year and decided they would eventually like to retire here. They moved here in June 1996 from Maryland, where their family grew up. The original two-bedroom home had an addition of two rooms and a bathroom when they moved in. The Klinglesmiths enclosed the west patio to make a dining/sitting room and eventually enclosed the east patio for a workroom. More recently, they remodeled the kitchen, adding a skylight. The house now has three heating systems: the original radiant floor heat, a gas furnace in the first addition, and radiant electrical ceiling heat in the dining/sitting room addition.

The home includes many pieces of lovely antique furniture from Dan and Gerry’s families. These include a desk, bedroom furniture, and a dining room table.

The Klinglesmiths say theirs is a “seven-loom home.” Dan was introduced to Navajo weaving in 1987 at Ghost Ranch. He went on to take a class in advanced Navajo weaving and tape weaving. A number of Dan’s beautiful weavings hang on the walls. Also on display are sculpture from their daughter, a spoon collection from Dan’s mother, and items from their trips to Switzerland, Australia, Africa, Brazil, and Ecuador as well as the family photo gallery.

Refreshments will be served here.

Roache Home

Stewart-Roache and Roache Home – 1215 Apache Drive

Catharine and Patrick moved to Socorro in 2002 from Albuquerque by way of Los Lunas in their retirement. This second-generation New Mexico Tech faculty home features art and music for this year’s tour. Catharine is a stone sculptor. However besides Yule marble from the Marble Quarry in Colorado, she works with bronze, wood, clay, and water drawing. She has taught art at New Mexico Tech. Visitors will be able to tour the outdoor studio and sculpture garden. There will be an index of the more than fifty items of art within the home.

Look for the statues of old Mother Mary done in stone and bronze. The outdoor hot tub “room” has been artistically decorated with niches that hold the Catharine’s pottery and has been painted to represent water, earth, and sky.

Of particular interest are the antique cherry wood piano from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, New Mexico Indian baskets and pottery, an original Georges Rouault copper plate engraving, baskets from Belize, and Catherine’s grandfather’s baby dress from 1846 (an era when baby boys wore dresses). This world-traveling couple has brought home many lovely items such as carpets and Chinese scrolls.

Three music groups will perform at this home, the AAUW recorder group, a trio, and Las Cantantes singing group.

Bukowski Home

Bukowski Home – 348 Bernard Street

The original one-story adobe Territorial style house built around 1900 by Jacob Sedillo was on the Socorro Chamber of Commerce walking tour of the plaza-San Miguel area. Art and Marcia purchased the house “ruins” in 1994 when the family saw it. It took several years to renovate and remodel. Originally it was a boarding house with no indoor plumbing and an outside kitchen. The Bukowskis rebuilt the adobe, stuccoing and plastering inside and out, adding bathrooms and electricity, a large kitchen family room where the original back porch was, and adding a second story with dormer windows where there was a small attic. They put in wood ceilings and tile floors. A guesthouse was built where the original barn stood. The family and their twin daughters Lacey and Lea, who are New Mexico Tech students, moved to Socorro from Alaska in 1999.

Over the years, Art has worked in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Navajo reservation, and, most recently, Kuwait. The home has Persian and Navajo rugs, stained glass decorations, and southwestern touches. The backyard is designed for the grandchildren with concrete paths for wheeled toys, built-in hopscotch and game areas all in various colors. There will be photos of the home as it was for visitors to see and compare.