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Big House Has Wide Spaces for Paintings, Nichos for Sculpture

By Jane Mahoney
For the Journal
    As the son of a Santa Fe artist, Craig Gosling grew up surrounded by art. Once he dreamed of becoming a sculptor, but he turned to architecture instead. Eight years ago, Gosling became a home builder, founding his own company, Builders West LLC.
    "Now I integrate art, architecture and building," he said.
    Builders West concentrates on houses designed by Gosling, who says a beautiful house should be a canvas for beautiful art. He works primarily in Corrales but has built throughout the metro area. The company builds about a half-dozen houses each year.
    "I sculpt these houses," said Gosling, who spends extensive time at each site before beginning the design. "Every house is a labor of love. It's like giving away a child every time I sell one."
    Gosling's most recent spec house is a 3,520-square-foot pueblo-style building on a one-acre lot in Corrales. It has three bedrooms and views of the Sandia Mountains and Albuquerque city lights. The builder plans an open house from noon to 6 p.m. today at the house, at 107 Mission Ridge. List price is $799,000.
    Trained as an architect at the University of New Mexico, Gosling uses terms such as "classical proportions" and "visual layering" in describing his houses. What it all boils down to are houses with a sense of grand size that still are comfortable and intimate.
    Gosling likes to think his homes are pleasing to the eye. "A lot of people have lost sight of classical proportion," he said. "That's why you see things like too-tall portals with columns that are too skinny providing the support. It's all out of proportion."
    Gosling uses generous amounts of Southwestern materials. There are vigas in many rooms, as well as in the master suite. Ceiling variations are subtle, ranging from herringbone-pattern tongue-and-groove treatments to latillas and cove ceilings. Beams and corbels mark entryways inside, but also rest solidly over exterior windows and atop a portal that sweeps across the entire eastern line of the house.
    Gosling wants people to sense the home's massiveness.
    "Plaster and wood— lots of it," he says. The house is in the Casas de Joaquin subdivision off Mission Ridge in Corrales.
    "Plaster is plaster, and there's nothing more beautiful than having wood."
    In soft variations on brown, the hand-plastered walls are designed to provide a canvas for an owner's artwork. Not only are the unbroken stretches of wall suitable for large paintings, but also there is a gallery that doubles as an open hallway and connects entryway, great room, dining room and kitchen. Sculpted pass-through arches and lighted nichos bring it all back down to human scale.
    "Art meets architecture" is a theme Gosling expounds on.
    The builder says he prides himself on attention to detail. Three plastered kiva-style fireplaces (each burns gas logs) make sweeping curves from floor to ceiling. Individual glass blocks are incorporated high in plaster walls for an unexpected glimpse of daylight. Built-in cabinets for linens provide a 1950s touch in the hallway.
    "Honestly, I love being in the field with a tool belt as much as the design work," says the architect.
    While the floor plan is open, rooms are distinct, each with its own ceiling design and views.
    The large kitchen has a fireplace, pine cabinets and swirling, colorful granite countertops and an island. This is a cook's kitchen, with the oven and microwave mounted in the wall. A butler's pantry has its own countertop, sink and dishwasher and is easily accessible from the garage for unloading groceries. The pantry can be closed off from the kitchen, a hideaway for dirty pots and pans during a party.
    Gosling enjoys multipurpose rooms. A family room, easily accessible to the kitchen, could double as a home office or a media room. A sunroom off the master suite might serve as an office, exercise room or reading nook.
    One of three bathrooms in the single-story house, the master bathroom revolves around a curved pillar, which is actually one side of a snail shower. A jetted tub sinks into raised, tiled space, again with ample wall space for art. The master suite closet has plentiful racks, shelving and built-in drawers.