Over the past three years, the capital city of Santa Fe, NM, has seen an exponential rise in the median home price and a big drop in housing inventory.
Most properties don’t stay on the market for long, especially if they’re in a desirable area like Sante Fe’s Historic District, where the median home price is now $900,000. The centerpiece of the district is the Sante Fe Plaza, a gathering spot for festivals, markets, and other community events.
South of the plaza, you’ll find this charming pueblo-style home tucked away on a dead-end suburban road.
The previous owners purchased it for $450,000 in 2016. After an extensive remodel by Wolf Corp and designers Rochford and Violante, the 1,125-square-foot home went on the market for $850,000 in January 2022. After a single day, it was sold for considerably over the asking price, according to the listing agent.
The preservation of the home’s Southwestern architecture and the cohesive style throughout likely made this quaint home attractive to buyers. Below, you’ll find before and after photos along with experts’ insight on how smart design choices helped to sell this charming house.
The living room
The interior overhaul in this room is purely cosmetic, but the changes make a world of difference.
“Lightening up the paint and switching the light fixtures were great enhancements to the room,” says Kadi Higginbotham, a real estate agent with Spears Group in Destin, FL. “The chairs and the statement ottoman provide more seating and allow an otherwise smaller living room to seem larger.”
Francesca Grace, a designer based in Los Angeles, points out that removing the smaller bench allowed for additional seating that offers more comfort.
“Removing the sconces and adding some overhead track lighting makes the room feel more contemporary,” Grace adds.
The switch from dark to light is consistent across the home, and you’ll notice the same refrain of bright pops of color in the dining room.
“The fresh coat of paint and updated pillows gave the room a huge face-lift,” says Higginbotham. “The color scheme now complements the artwork and new furniture.”
She also notes the lumpy, worn-out banquette cushion in the before photo and says that replacing it with a new upholstered cushion improves the look of the space.
In this kitchen, the designers kept the galley style but created a brighter, more open feel by incorporating open shelving and opting for a white palette.
“The updated cabinets and color choice modernize the kitchen, but the biggest thing to point out is the updated appliances,” says Higginbotham. “Newer and more energy-efficient appliances are a huge selling point for buyers, because they won’t have to worry about making those updates down the line and understand the cost savings that can bring them.”
Grace points out that adding a wine fridge to the right of the stove and updating the countertops also add value to the home.
“Making the smaller changes such as hardware, paint on the lower cabinets, and a tiled accent wall makes the kitchen feel welcoming and full of character,” she adds. “With additional track-head lighting, your kitchen now feels brand-new and accessible.”
The old bedroom design was outdated and stuffy—and a little too on the nose. A heavy storage unit creates unnecessary bulk and makes the room feel squeezed in.
The fireplace is the highlight of the room, so we’re happy to see the designers kept that classic architectural feature. Opting for fresh white helps accentuate the curves of the fireplace while bringing it into the modern era.
The bright pink and orange pillows are consistent with the color story going on in the rest of the house, and they add a cozy, cohesive touch to the bedroom.
The outdoor patio
The before photo shows a patio that was plain but full of potential. After the design transformation, the space is an inviting spot that potential homebuyers can envision themselves in, whether that’s enjoying coffee on a sunny, warm morning or entertaining guests on a breezy New Mexico evening.
“Entertainment space outdoors is a key feature that many homebuyers look for,” says Higginbotham. “Cleaning up the outdoor patio with updated wood beams and adding seating and dining really elevated the space and brought it to life.”