When Cathy Gammon moved to Santa Fe, she embraced a relaxed lifestyle and a breezy approach to make her surroundings comfortable
This article is part of a series, in which we visit the homes of the architects, builders and designers who create artful living spaces; an opportunity to appreciate how they blend their skills with their personal aesthetics.
In the spring of 2012, while living in Dallas, Cathy Gammon found her business ranging into Santa Fe. Clients of her interior design firm, Catherine’s Custom Interiors, had homes in Texas and New Mexico and wanted her services at both. Gammon happily fulfilled their wishes, and after traveling back and forth and gaining more customers in New Mexico, she moved to Santa Fe in 2019.
After some consideration on where to settle, Gammon elected not to live in the city center and instead chose a home south of town, in Rancho Viejo de Santa Fe.
“I wanted to be away from town, so I wouldn’t work all the time,” she says.
A well-groomed neighborhood also was important. “I wanted lots of covenants, which Rancho Viejo has,” she says.
She found a 1,550-square-foot, three-bedroom home with the exact features she valued – a beautiful kitchen, a small but lovely yard, and the right amount of space.
“I walked in, looked at the kitchen, looked at the backyard, and knew this was it,” she recalls. At only 1,000 square feet, her condominium in Dallas couldn’t comfortably accommodate visiting family, but her new home could.
“I was excited to find something that was the exact size I wanted,” she says.
The home’s former owner had personalized the space in ways that suited Gammon’s discerning eye. They rearranged the kitchen by dividing the upper cabinets, installing open shelves in between, and removed a set of lower cabinets to repurpose them as an island. The result is an almost farmhouse feel, where Gammon displays colorful dishes and accent pieces.
The flooring, also installed by the previous owner, is a wood-look laminate in a blend of creamy tans and grays that perfectly accentuates Gammon’s furnishings.
All of that furniture is new for Gammon. As part and parcel of her career as an interior designer, Gammon is able to let go of one style and embrace another. In Dallas, the style of her home reflected what she worked in most for her clients, heavily based on French influences– fancy and ornate. Those furnishings and decor, with the exception of one pair of antique French chairs, never made the trek to Santa Fe.
“It didn’t fit here,” she says of her French-style belongings. “It was too stuffy.”
Gammon purchased all new wares for her Rancho Viejo abode. Much of the furniture came from The Raven, a consignment shop, where she also loves to browse for her clients’ projects. She had just as much fun shopping for and applying her touch to her own home. At The Raven, Gammon even found a custom-made, narrow table that just happened to fit perfectly where the lower kitchen cabinets had been removed. “I couldn’t believe it fit. It was perfect.” she says.
She calls her home “comfortable Santa Fe style”, a reflection of the relaxed living she’s come to know and love in the City Different.
“It’s more casual,” she says. There are multiple seating areas, all of them flexible. The walls, painted in desert accent colors, make subtle backdrops for her colorful art collection. Clearly, Gammon thinks about the usage of, and view from, every seat in the house, so no matter where a guest may perch, there is a place to set a drink or a book and a pleasant scene for the eye.
Gammon uses lots of antique, or antique-esque, furniture, but has carefully chosen comfortable, usable pieces. There are no “just for looks” furnishings here.
Of her more formal, former Dallas home, she says, “My daughter always said I made her grow up in a museum.” So, when she moved to Santa Fe, she embraced a more relaxed atmosphere.
“I wanted it to be comfortable for my family,” she says. Her daughter’s family visits about once a year. “When they do, I want everybody to relax.”
Because the neighborhood is quiet and her views so extensive, Gammon says the home feels like it’s in the country. She loves that it’s a small area that’s easy to keep up, has quick access to town and is in a polished community, all factors that make for enjoyable living.
In good weather, Gammon enjoys her coffee on her back patio every morning. The lush backyard, with sweeping views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is her oasis. Roses grow outside her bedroom window, and she has a cherry tree and rows of strawberries. In fact, her work schedule is built around this space.
She says she visits construction sites in the mornings, returns home to enjoy a serene lunch on her back patio, and then drives to her office for the afternoons– off to make someone else’s living space a dream come true, too.