Saturday, May 25, 2024 May 25, 2024
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Home & Garden

When in… Santa Fe

Think this Southwestern mecca is only pine armoires with turquoise accents? Our curated list of New Mexico's best home-furnishing finds will convince you otherwise.
photography: pepper from Istockphoto; baskets from Corbis; others courtesy of vendors

Roasted chilies. The air hangs thick with their smoky, sweet charm. And they’re everywhere: red chili mustard, apple green chili chutney, black bean chipotle chili, even pear-jalapeno pie. Yes, pie. It’s 8 am at the Santa Fe Farmers Market and my grumbling stomach demands a taste. Perhaps a spinach breakfast burrito stuffed with sweet corn, fresh mozzarella, and, of course, green chili. As a string quartet plucks and strums from the corner, I spy many other telltale signs that I’m in the Land of Enchantment: Maximilian sunflowers, handmade goat’s-milk soaps, wild yam lotions, and pistachios. Thankfully, there’s not a bit of turquoise to be found. Not that you won’t find plenty of the blue-green ornamental stone in Santa Fe, along with silver trinkets, pine furniture, and Navajo blankets galore. They’re part of the Southwestern motif that visitors have come to expect. But, alas, they’ve also become cliché. Many think Santa Fe is nothing more than pueblo architecture and languid watercolor art. Truth is Santa Fe is an international arts mecca, and its home-furnishing offerings are just as diverse. Sure, you can still get an alder dining hutch for your casita, but there’s life beyond all the wrought iron.

This burgeoning warehouse district is more offbeat and edgy than Santa Fe’s historic downtown plaza and a great place to escape the common tourist traps.

Moss Outdoor
This South Guadalupe retailer sells outdoor furniture by Kenneth Cobonpue and Sifas as well as Denyse Schmidt couture quilts, each one handmade by Amish craftswomen.

Santa Fe Farmers Market
Open every Saturday in the historic Santa Fe Railyard, this is a delicious spot to start off the weekend. Santa Fe was all about sustainable farming and all things organic long before the Eat Local movement swept the country. Here you’ll find meats, veggies, jams, honey, baked goods, and the like all from  farmers and ranchers in the area.

evo Gallery
This airy, well-appointed gallery is a contemporary art lover’s dream, featuring modern masters such as Donald Judd, Jasper Johns, and Richard Serra.

Casa Nova
This vibrant shop specializes in exotic pottery, art, and tableware from around the world. African headdresses, Japanese ceramics, and various tribal art mix and mingle to create a feast of eye candy.

Southwest Spanish Craftsmen
If you covet a traditional Southwestern look, you can’t go wrong with more than 80 years of history and craftsmanship. Here skilled artisans create custom, handcrafted furniture out of woods such as alder, mahogany, and pine.

The historic downtown plaza boasts stunning architecture as well as an array of cheap t-shirt shops and more prestigious retailers. In other words, buyer beware. Canyon Road is world renowned for its hundreds of art galleries housed in various adobes and farmhouses.

Palace of the Governors Portal
Almost every day of the year, you can find Native American craftsmen selling various works of art and handmade goods to visitors beneath the portal of the Palace, which is adjacent to New Mexico’s history museum. The quality varies, and the prices tend to run high, but it’s great fun.

Andrew Smith Gallery
This is where you’ll rediscover your love for Ansel Adams. Smith’s inventory represents some of the most prestigious photographers in the world, including Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier Bresson, and Lee Friedlander. But it’s his collection of great Western photography that sets this gallery apart.

G. Coles-Christensen Rug Merchants
You say you don’t normally rug shop while on vacation? Reconsider. Visiting Gary Coles-Christensen’s store is like visiting an art gallery, where exotic gabbehs and limited bespoke carpets dazzle like works of art.

Famous for its stainless steel dinnerware and accessories, Nambe’s designs are a reflection of its New Mexican heritage. At its two Santa Fe stores, you can often save up to 60 percent off overstocks.

Coyote Cafe
This legendary Southwestern cuisine spot is popular with tourists. Don’t let that deter you. Navajo taco de nuevo with Kobe beef and drunken beans on Indian fry bread is a house specialty.

The Compound
Chef Mark Kiffin’s fare is elegant yet approachable at this white-tablecloth dining spot amid scenic Canyon Road. Buttermilk roast chicken with foie gras pan gravy is a Compound classic.

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi
This 58-room boutique hotel is one of the city’s finest. Cozy kiva-style fireplaces and antique Indian rugs complete the Santa Fe experience.

Encantado Resort
Set in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this private resort—part of the Auberge family—represents a modernist approach to the Santa Fe lifestyle.