By Casey Peacock: Freedom Newspapers
Built on a dream and completed in 1947, Casa del Sol has remained a structure of prominence within the city of Portales. Now it’s welcoming guests as a bed and breakfast.
Designed by John Gaw Meem, a notable New Mexico architect, the home was built by Bartlett and Evelyn Dewey in the 1940s. The couple, who came to Portales to allow Bartlett to teach chemistry at Eastern New Mexico University, handmade each of the 1,600 adobe bricks that were used to build the home. The couple also traveled to Cloudcroft to cut and haul the 32 pine logs that were then hand-carved and used for the vigas that line the ceilings, said Penny Sanders, current owner of the home.
Purchased in 1975 by Sanders’ parents, Dallan and Mickey Sanders, who both passed away in recent years, the home was used as a place for entertaining family and friends. Respecting that tradition, Sanders and her partner, Carol Cotter, have once again opened the home up to visitors.
“I just wanted to continue that tradition (of entertaining),” Sanders said of the business decision. “It just seemed like a really natural thing to do.”
Situated across the street from the ENMU tennis courts, the home offers a quiet and inviting atmosphere for guests. Furnishings that belonged to Sanders’ parents have been left in the home, allowing their spirit and love for the house to live on, Sanders said.
Both Sanders and Cotter have also added their own unique touches to the decor, they said.
“We really want people to feel like they are at someplace special,” Sanders said.
In the main house is the Kokopelli Suite. The suite consists of a large queen size bed, graced with a large down comforter, fine linens and several pillows. The room also offers a cozy reading area and a private bath.
“We want people to feel pampered. Where you feel like if you want to stay in bed all day you can,” Sanders said.
In the private bath is a claw-footed tub that was used by Sanders’ father when he was a child. Her father came across the tub many years ago and had it restored, Sanders said.
Outside the Kokopelli Suite a cozy patio offers a place to relax on the covered two-seat swing or small table.
When guests are on-site, breakfast is prepared daily by Cotter. The breakfast menu offers Southwestern specialties, traditional breakfast type foods and signature dishes, she said.
“We’re trying to make Southwest style dishes and different items,” Cotter said.
Moving outside the main home, is a smaller home that was built in 1978 by the Sanderses. It was the home of Sanders’ grandmother for 10 years. Today it is known as La Casita, Sanders said.
The guest house offers another queen size bed and a kitchen, living area, private bath and access to the patio.
Since opening in the spring, Sanders and Cotter have had several guests from across the United States visit the bed and breakfast.
“One of the neatest things about it is meeting the people. It has been neat,” Cotter said.
Not only do Sanders and Cotter wish to cater to out-of-town guests, they are also hoping to offer a special place for locals to visit for special occasions. In the future, the duo plans to continue building the business, eventually adding more amenities, they said.
For Sanders, opening the bed and breakfast has been an opportunity to bring the house back to life, she said.
“My parents souls are here, that’s how I like to look at it. I think they would be very pleased that it was being shared like this,” Sanders said.