Property: The Frank Applegate House at 831 El Caminito.
Realtor: Cary Spier and Deborah Bodelson of Santa Fe Properties.
Theme: Lux New Mex—reinventing Western Classics.
Participating Designers: 28
History of the Property: Known as the Frank Applegate estate, this house had been re-invented several times. The original structure was built as a fortress in the 18th century. It was purchased for $114 in 1845 by Sergeant Francisco de la Peña, a soldier in the Mexican Army who’d fought in the battle of the Alamo. De la Peña renovated the property creating a home for his family.
Enter Frank Applegate. Born in Illinois in 1881 and an artist his entire life, studying and teaching art in the U.S. and in Europe where he met Picasso, Cezanne, and Matisse in the 20’s, he started out as a ceramist before becoming a painter.
A bit of a serial remodeler who regarded homes as “livable sculptures,” Applegate, who had thrown himself into Native and Colonial Hispanic arts and who quickly became a seminal player in developing and establishing the town’s historic conservation movement, soon turned his preservationist’s eye to El Caminito.
Enter gallery owner Gerald Peters and his wife Katie, who purchased the Applegate Estate in the mid-80’s. Cut from the same cloth as Applegate, the couple, who would fill the house with their four children, had already renovated five other adobes together.