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"The nation’s floundering government is now administered by a gangster regime."

George Will
Minor Deity
Picture of Piano*Dad
posted
So, I found this interesting 2017 story on the Arizona artist Ettore (Ted) DeGrazia.

The Story Behind Ted DeGrazia ...

People who grew up in Arizona in the 60s, 70s and 80s may be familiar with him. People outside Arizona might be familiar with him from his UNICEF card "Los Ninos" from the early 1960s ...



The story becomes personal for me in 2018. I had never heard of the guy, of course. I was just on the market for a vacation home in Santa Fe where I hope to retire one day. My wife and I had talked to a real estate agent in town the previous year and she had shown us a bunch of homes all over the place just trying to get a sense of what we liked and didn't like. We liked the Pueblo Revival style of John Gaw Meem. We didn't want to pay a huge price per square foot to be right on Canyon Road with all the galleries, and so on. The second summer of looking, she showed us a different set of homes, and we really fell for one in the northeast section of town about 2.5 miles from the plaza.

The house was all on one level which my wife really likes, and had all the Santa Fe touches we both wanted. We noticed that all of the lintels and ceiling beams were painted with whimsical doodles of angels, animals, stars, native children, kokopelli etc. Here is one example...



I pointed out all the painted beams and our agent noted that we could just paint over them if we wanted to. The selling agent nodded. I had seen some homes with reproduction Spanish Colonial artwork painted on door panels and the like, and I didn't much like it. Too forced. But these abstract doodles appealed to us. Seemed sort of organic, and fit within the overall style of the house. We fell in love and bought the place.

Then we had to get it ready for the rental market, since we weren't going to be using it for most of the year. Our agent said that we needed to have Mitsubishi wall units for AC because the typical renter "is a 62 year old Texan who doesn't want to hear that Santa Fe gets cool at night, even in August." So we contacted a reputable dealer in Santa Fe and covered the house in Mitsubishi units.

The AC vendor is also a bit of an arts impresario in town and he invited us to an event at his house where a Santa Fe acting troupe performed Twain's "The Diaries of Adam & Eve." Turns out he is also friends with the gentleman who built our house back in 1994, and that fellow and his wife were also invited to the event. The guy who built our house later built another one farther out of town and sold off his initial creation.

We were introduced and began chatting about the house. He asked if we had noticed all the painted beams and lintels. Of course we had! He then asked if we had been told their story. Of course we hadn't.

Ted DeGrazia had built an adobe studio in Tucson in the 1940s, and he had decorated all the beams and lintels in the studio just for fun. When DeGrazia passed away in 1982 his wife sold off the old studio to a developer, who turned the site into yet another Tucson gas station. But the developer was a smart guy and recognized the interesting beams. He had all the wood saved from the site.

He saved them in a warehouse somewhere for a number of years. At some point his brother-in-law asked if he could use them in a home he was building in Santa Fe. Hence all the woodwork from the old DeGrazia studio wound up in the home we bought in 2018.

One of the people quoted extensively in the article is Lance Laber, who is now the head of the DeGrazia Foundation in Tucson.

This Place

I called Mr. Laber last year to inquire if the Foundation had any old photos of the studio with the beams in place. Unfortunately, they had no such photos. Laber was astonished that all the woodwork was in Santa Fe. He had thought the beams had disappeared somewhere in Tucson and had no idea where they were. He remembered the sad day when the old studio had been demolished, and he thought the wood was just gone from the record. I was able to give him lots of photos of them in situ.

My wife and I have now visited the DeGrazia Foundation in Tucson to see more of DeGrazia's work and the gallery and home he built in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. Heck, we even contribute to them!
 
Posts: 11165 | Location: Williamsburg, VA | Registered: 19 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Unrepentant Dork
Gadfly
Picture of dolmansaxlil
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That is so cool, and those beams are incredible! What an amazing find. I’m so glad someone else didn’t buy it and paint over them!


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"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

 
Posts: 3738 | Location: Ontario, Canada | Registered: 29 June 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of Steve Miller
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That’s fantastic! ThumbsUp


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 32329 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"The nation’s floundering government is now administered by a gangster regime."

George Will
Minor Deity
Picture of Piano*Dad
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A better photo of the same room. But they're all over the house.

 
Posts: 11165 | Location: Williamsburg, VA | Registered: 19 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
czarina
Has Achieved Nirvana
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Lovely home! Glad you didn't paint over the beams! Curious about why you chose Santa Fe to retire and what you don't like about VA.


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fear is the thief of dreams

 
Posts: 20370 | Registered: 18 May 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"The nation’s floundering government is now administered by a gangster regime."

George Will
Minor Deity
Picture of Piano*Dad
posted Hide Post
We like VA fine. Well, most of it. You couldn't pay me enough to live and work in NoVa. I avoid northern Virginia if at all possible, including driving around it whenever I can! Alas, I have to go into DC next month for a meeting, COVID permitting.

We may very well keep our place in Virginia once we're both retired. It's paid for. We would just spend less time here and more time there. Who knows. That's a few years off.

As for Santa Fe ...

We started going there around 1990, which sort of makes us old-timers in the area! Wink

We were young and more into skiing at that point and neither of us had ever been skiing in the Rockies. We had frequent flyer passes so we wanted to go to Colorado and take in one of the "famous" resorts like Vail or Steamboat. Alas, our airline didn't fly into Denver. It did, however, go to Albuquerque. Skiing in New Mexico? Who knew? Well, we discovered Taos Ski Valley. We returned about every other year for many years. Our kids learned to ski at the Ernie Blake ski school there.

Santa Fe is between Taos and Albuquerque, so we would stop there for a day or two each trip, often staying at La Fonda on the Plaza, which was much less expensive twenty years ago, especially in the winter.

The art/culture/food/outdoors scene in Santa Fe really appealed to us. We had become interested in native American art years earlier, and I felt like a kid in a candy shop along the Rio Grande valley from Santa Fe to Taos.

We don't even have to go very far for a nice mountain stroll. This walking trail is literally 500 vertical feet above our neighborhood ...


Dale Ball Trails north
 
Posts: 11165 | Location: Williamsburg, VA | Registered: 19 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
Picture of jodi
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That house is beautiful. What a cool story. And the trail, wow! Looks like heaven to me.


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Smiler Jodi

 
Posts: 19780 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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I want your house.


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“You don’t stop laughing when you get old; you get old when you stop laughing” — George Bernard Shaw

 
Posts: 23953 | Location: Still living at 9000 feet in the High Rockies of Colorado | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of wtg
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Wow, what a great story! Thanks for sharing it.

So when's the Santa Fe piano party?

Keyboard Jam


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 33206 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"The nation’s floundering government is now administered by a gangster regime."

George Will
Minor Deity
Picture of Piano*Dad
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Well, my piano is in Virginia. We would only move it out to Santa Fe -- and risk all the ultra-low humidity issues -- if we decided to live there the bulk of the year. We're not there yet. I'm not even sure where we would put a piano. The house has a nice main living room, but we would have to get rid of a lot of existing furniture to put a piano in there without overcrowding the space. Oh, and you can see more painted children on the mantel over the fireplace.

Here is that space ...



Alternatively, we could put it in the guest house (casita) living room and get rid of all the furniture in there. That would make it into a dedicated piano room. But then no one could use the little kitchenette in that room.



I guess the biggest problem is that I'm probably unwilling to move my piano out there if we're still renting the house out for any meaningful part of the year. I really don't want some guest family's small children pounding on it or otherwise abusing my baby.

By the way, these are old promo photos from when the house was on the market.
 
Posts: 11165 | Location: Williamsburg, VA | Registered: 19 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lord Emperor Mom
Minor Deity
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I love this story! And your house!


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Mary Anna Evans
http://www.maryannaevans.com
MaryAnna@ermosworld.com

 
Posts: 15050 | Location: Florida | Registered: 22 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of CHAS
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Best short bio of DeGrazia I have seen- DeGrazia


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“You don’t stop laughing when you get old; you get old when you stop laughing” — George Bernard Shaw

 
Posts: 23953 | Location: Still living at 9000 feet in the High Rockies of Colorado | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
czarina
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of piqué
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quote:
I guess the biggest problem is that I'm probably unwilling to move my piano out there if we're still renting the house out for any meaningful part of the year. I really don't want some guest family's small children pounding on it or otherwise abusing my baby.


Lock the fallboard and buy a quilted cover for it.

But yes, the climate change will be a shock to its system. We have humidifiers running constantly here in winter to keep humidity above 30%


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fear is the thief of dreams

 
Posts: 20370 | Registered: 18 May 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
"The nation’s floundering government is now administered by a gangster regime."

George Will
Minor Deity
Picture of Piano*Dad
posted Hide Post
Got the quilted cover! Not sure I want to retrofit a lock onto the fallboard. In any case, I don't have to worry about it for a while!
 
Posts: 11165 | Location: Williamsburg, VA | Registered: 19 July 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
knitterati
Beatification Candidate
Picture of AdagioM
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Beautiful house, and those paintings are a treasure. So glad you kept them.


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http://pdxknitterati.com

 
Posts: 9026 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 06 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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