11 Jan At Home with the Markinsons
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO, WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT for Arlena Markinson back in 1986. Not so for her Brooklyn-born husband, Martin (Marty), a Broadway producer in Midtown Manhattan.
“I said, ‘Oh my God, what did she do?’” Marty recalls. “This is brown, it’s boring, and I don’t see any buildings.”
He learned to love it, and more than three decades later, both knew their third Santa Fe home was exactly where they wanted to split their time: six months in Santa Fe, six months in their winter home on Maui.
“It was like, whoa, it’s like Hawaii living,” Arlena says.
“Without the water,” Marty adds, “of course.”
The house, designed and built by Tierra Concepts in 2017, is in the private Las Campanas community northwest of Santa Fe. The firm’s partners, Kurt and Eric Faust, along with Keith Gorges, describe the home as “contextual modern,” blending contemporary and traditional styles throughout its 6,777 square feet (4,777 of heated space, 918 in the garage, and 1,082 under exterior portals), with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths.
Tierra Concepts, however, didn’t want to sell the house immediately. “Typically,” Gorges says, “our business works with customers from beginning to end … but it’s important for us every so often to have a house to show our customers.”
That suited the Mark-insons. They were ready to scale down after Marty’s retirement and moving from their Mediterranean/Tuscan-style home to this contemporary house would take some time. And they were about to depart for Hawaii for the winter.
After buying the house, the Markinsons leased it back to Tierra Concepts for a year. The firm brought in Annie O’Carroll Interior Design to stage the house, and the home took the Grand Hacienda Award during Santa Fe’s annual Parade of Homes.
The design blends, what Gorges calls, “Santa Fe Old- World style” with “a more retro-linear, angular, sharp-edged, smoothed form where you have an interplay of different textures.”
Overgrouted stone walls bisect the house, offering a brilliant contrast with smooth, shiny plaster interior walls. Spectacular views are visible throughout the home, thanks to skylights and windows, including floor-to-ceiling windows in the master bathroom. Automated shades and three gas fireplaces, including a see-through, 6-foot-long fireplace in the living room, make up the modern amenities. But the biggest selling point might be the sliding pocket doors that disappear into the walls.
“You really have an outdoor-indoor kind of experience,” Arlena says. “To lie in bed and see the stars at night, and wake up in the morning and see the light coming in, I feel like I’m living outdoors in a tent and breathing in the outside.”
The Markinsons hired Nicole Kuckly, of NAK Interiors, to decorate the home before moving in last September.
“The architecture of the house really set the pace for the interiors,” Kuckly says. “We wanted it to feel very contemporary yet warm and eclectic and very colorful. [Arlena] wanted a lot of color. She wanted it to feel really happy. They were moving from a very traditional home, so we were starting from scratch. Very little of her furniture worked, but we were able to bring over some of her artwork. Rooms had paintings that inspired the colors.”
Marty — whose credits include Bob Fosse’s “Chicago” and the Tony Award-winning “Torch Song Trilogy,” and who owned the Helen Hayes Theatre — commuted for years. Two years ago, he sold the theater and retired.
Posters of his plays hang in his office … and closet … and garage, and Santa Fe has proved the perfect place to finish his memoir, Come Along and Listen to: My Life in Theatre, due this spring from Archway Publishing. “This book is not backstage gossip,” he says. “It’s how I got into the business, the nature of the business, what the business is all about.”
Naturally, Marty knew all about the “magic in the air” on Broadway. But it took him three trips before he saw “the magic” of Santa Fe.
“What triggered the magic was the beauty, the sunrises, the sunsets, and the changing climate without any extremities,” he says. “It never got too cold, and it never got too hot, and it seemed like the sun was always shining here.”