In a time when we too often wake up to tragic news, many of us struggle with how to cope, how to create positive change, and how to express what we truly feel. The couple living in this Santa Fe, NM home are each going above and beyond to turn their careers into avenues of using creative expression as a form of therapy.
Currently in pursuit of her dual masters in art therapy and counseling, Angie Restrepo-Dunton has found a way to combine a love of art with a deep understanding of how to use it to help others heal. In addition to her studies (she is set to graduate at the end of summer), Angie is involved in an art therapist internship and volunteers as an equine therapy instructor in her free time. Nathan Dunton spends part of his year working as a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska, but he is first and foremost a musician, songwriter and composer for his band,
The Ragtown Brothers. Also working as a music teacher with the Music Together program in Santa Fe and facilitating intergenerational music groups with children and elders for Life Songs, he, too, is using art to help heal and enrich lives.
You can see the influence of all of the things they love throughout the many details in their color-filled rental. This home is packed with little pockets of special collections — and items that truly reflect the love Angie and Nathan have for one another — as well as their passion to create art, inspire, and help others. Even though paint colors and furnishings aren’t usually life-changing in their own right, this couple’s home shows that art and design as a whole most certainly can be. —
Photography by Angie Restrepo-Dunton
This light-filled corner of the living room showcases Angie's love of mid-century modern design. The vintage teal chair was the first of many gifted furniture pieces from her mother, and the one she believes was responsible for her obsession. Southwestern elements have also started making their way into the couple's collection since their move to Santa Fe, NM.
The living area is home to an especially cozy couch that the couple enjoys snuggling on together while watching movies. The
cabinet serves as the perfect hiding spot for the television, while various collected items perch on top.
A peek at one of the home's many vignettes of collected items from nature. Angie found the horse skull while trail riding on a ranch in Texas. "It's beautiful and I am fascinated by the skeletons and anatomies of all animals."
Angie managed to carve out a small space in the living room for prayer and meditation, a practice she makes an effort to do daily. When home, she almost always has a candle burning on her altar and has also been learning to play the singing bowl, something she has found to be "really grounding."
A beautiful collection of Zapotec pillows makes the sofa extra cozy. Nathan gifted the antique cuckoo clock to Angie last Christmas. They love the ritual of winding it every day, along with the cuckoo and ticking sounds it makes.
The dining area is brimming with more mid-century furniture and southwestern design elements used to update and add color to the space. The glass containers atop the table keep snacks at-the-ready for when the couple is on the go. Angie shares that Nathan "loves his
resonator guitar. He used it in his latest Ragtown Brothers album; this is what gives the music that bluesy sound!"
The amazing horse-head mixed-media sculpture, by Angie, serves as a symbol for her love of horses. She has been riding since the age of six. "I have come to truly respect these animals and have firsthand experience of how the relationship we build with them can be healing and therapeutic. I one day aspire to have my own equine and art therapy program." Baskets lined along the wall were collected from various travels.
One of Angie's favorites, Nina Simone, spinning on the record player. The first dance at their wedding was to the album's song, "My Baby Just Cares for Me." The vintage tambour credenza houses the couple's vast record collection that they enjoy playing when guests are over.
The couple's home bar is housed in an original vintage bar cabinet. I cannot imagine a more fun place to mix up a cocktail!
Some of Angie's art essentials hang in the home's combined laundry and art room. The small torn-paper horse sculpture was a school project. The art room also holds her drafting table from her design school days, as well as flat file cabinets she uses to store her work. The couple finds having designated areas to work, both together and separately, extremely functional.
The master bedroom is layered with numerous textures and plants and is furnished with many vintage
furniture pieces. It's a cozy retreat at the end of their many long days.
vanity is Angie's favorite furniture piece, and was another gift from her mom. She uses it every morning to ready herself for the day. Smokey the cat (obviously) enjoys it, too. The pillow on the center of the bed was a gift from Nathan. It's an especially sweet reminder of Angie's 13-year-old dog companion, Mona, who passed away two years ago.
The bathroom is kept simple and functional with essential oils easily accessible and a hanging cactus completing the space. There isn't a room in the home that doesn't have plants!
pieces even manage to make their way into the outdoor space. Refinishing them is still on Angie's to-do list, but the Mexican blankets serve as a nice cover-up in the meantime. "I also put this shading device up myself last summer while my husband was in Alaska! It's been such a great investment and easy thing to do (I purchased it from
, and the whole thing cost me less than $40!). We love going outside and having our coffee here in the morning or even BBQ-ing and eating dinner out here."
"I love that our home is filled with love and creativity. It might not be the largest floor plan or square footage, but we make it work! We are both in professions that bring people together either musically, artistically and/or therapeutically. I’m thankful that we have a home that allows us the space to relax, create, and/or entertain functionally. We literally have either made art, recorded music or sang in every room of this house!"
Angie and the couple's dog, Satchmo, who gives her great company, especially when Nathan is away working. Sadly, Nathan couldn't be part of this family portrait, as he was fishing for salmon in Alaska.
Prior to signing the lease, Angie measured the space and created multiple layout options to be certain the home would be functional and allow for all of their furniture to fit within the house.