New Mexico Photo Diary


Most of my big picture ideas come to me when I’m traveling. I jot down notes on napkins at bars, or gush fantasy ideas to my companions - then I get back to the office and have to make it a reality.  

My recent trip to New Mexico was no exception. When you’re on holiday, you have more time to think and dream. When I’m at home, there are deadlines, permits, budgets - dreams have to fit into a pre-existing project in ways that they don’t during travel.  For me, most of my creative process happens away from the office - where I can be expansive. I write most blog posts on flights without the wifi, because it’s the only time when I’m disconnected from email and can enjoy the stillness to reflect on my memories and write down my thoughts.

While riding around the Land of Enchantment, I had time to reflect on my work and business, as well as cultivate new ideas. Even though New Mexico borders my home state of Texas, I felt like I really got away on this trip. I was able to imagine the excitement of HOTELette guests, revel in the wonders of being somewhere for the first time, and sink into a getaway in the desert. After experiencing the landscape of Taos, I integrated earthy colors into the design scheme of a commercial design project by bringing in different whites, gold, and camel. I wanted to bring the groundedness I felt into the work environment. The innovative interior design of El Rey in Santa Fe also inspired my projects in Austin. The art, lights, and decor were unique and thought provoking. It reminded me that a simple, but well executed plan can make all the difference.

The first night of my New Mexico trip was spent in Albuquerque at Los Poblanos.  The Province of the West, the lavender, the Farm to Table restaurant, the architecture- it was the perfect setting to disconnect from the quotidian and engage in a simple, sensorial retreat. The farm-to-table food was fresh and comforting. I’m a sucker for a delicious chilaquiles with green chiles. One morning I woke up to a pack of Alpacas outside my window! I was so excited that I ran outside to get a photo with them, but they were camera shy, so I spent the morning picking fresh lavender and making sachets for friends at home. I love to imagine how each item for someone’s home will make them feel. These sachets inspired me to add the Power Cape to the HOTELette collection. The capes have a subtle print, and the light fabric and flow reminds me of the soft lavender leaves blowing in the breeze. There is something very strong about subtle movement and calmness- I wanted to take that feeling home with me, and share it with my clients.

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum added to my sense of feminine power, I got lost in the washes of blue, purple and grey. It made me think of ribbons of shibori silk- the softness and the delicate hand painted patterns give such a mood to the gallery spaces. It helped me choose a washed grey tile with a hand-painted texture for a residential client’s bathroom. I’ve been really into bright and loud 70s vintage furniture, but this trip got me thinking about the softer sides of vintage- like the creamy pastels of 1980s upholstery and the effortlessness of 1950s Cuban and Mexican modernism.

La Reina at the El Rey nails this type of minimalism. The bar is understated, but the lighting sets the mood perfectly. White walls, lots of exposed wood, and soft rounded corners are all it takes to want to saddle up and sip the night away. I came home thinking about how I could set the tone to a space with only lighting, it really helped me reimagine a commercial space that has gorgeous walls, rather than fill them, I chose to pare down and let the streamlined architecture take the spotlight.

I travel for inspiration to bring back to my design and hospitality business and this trip was no exemption. Thank you, New Mexico, for your beauty, colors, and textures. The architecture and landscape was breaktaking and exactly what I needed to recharge and disconnect.