Tucked among the cottonwoods a few minutes northeast of Tesuque Village sits a one-of-a-kind home with a rich history and undeniable charm.
On 11 acres, awash with mature trees and tranquil views, is a three-bedroom home that in the early 1940s started as a potting shed. Famed Santa Fe-area husband-and-wife artists Myrtle and Wilfred Stedman bought the property, and by 1948 had turned the shed into a home of about 2,100 square feet.
“My grandparents purchased the property somewhere around World War II,” says the Stedmans’ granddaughter, Denise Hurtado, who has resided in the family home since 2015. “They always referred to this property as ‘The Cottonwoods.’ ”
Denise’s father was Wilfred Stedman II, the youngest of Wilfred and Myrtle’s two sons.
In the 1940s, Myrtle Stedman was the first licensed female contractor in New Mexico and designed and built a number of homes. She was a poet and a painter, and she also authored a book about Santa Fe homes titled A House Not Made With Hands. She served as art director of New Mexico Magazine for a spell.
The home she built with her husband has remained in almost original form all these decades.
One of the bedrooms was the original potting shed. The main house has a music room, living room, kitchen, library, and even a broom closet that was repurposed as a tiny chapel, complete with a hand-painted window. Throughout, it’s clear everything was custom-made — from lintels to natural mud-plaster walls to built-in library shelves and leather drawer pulls.
“The vigas in the house were all salvaged utility poles, hand-skinned by my father,” says Hurtado. “My grandmother painted many of the doors and some of the cupboards.”
The home has original radiant-heated floors, still in operation.
There is a double carport and an 1,100-square foot guest house on the premises as well. Bordered on two sides by Tesuque Pueblo land, the property boasts remarkable views of Ski Santa Fe.
Hurtado spent much of her childhood at this home, and after almost six years there as an adult, confirms its aesthetic splendor.
“It’s been a beautiful place to live. It’s surrounded by cottonwoods, big open fields, and lots of wildlife wanders here,” she says. “It’s serene. I spend every evening out on the back porch, especially in the fall when the cottonwoods are yellow and gold all over the property. And, of course, the sunsets are beautiful. I also love living in the village of Tesuque. It’s beautiful, quaint. The Pony Express went through this area, and there is so much Pueblo history.”
The home bears the kind of personality that only time can lend such a treasure.
“It has not changed since my childhood,” says Hurtado. “If my grandparents came back, it would be the same as they left it. They’d walk right back in and it would still be their house.”
She expresses hope the next owner will continue to steward her family history on this property.
“I would love for someone to buy it and preserve it,” she says. “There’s plenty of land. Someone could build a larger, more modern house and keep this as a guest house. There’s room to do whatever a new owner would want to do here.”