House Call: Shoring Up—and Unbuttoning—One of the Most Historic Casitas in Galisteo, New Mexico

Dani Brubaker spotted artist Patricia Larsen’s handmade interiors here on Remodelista and on Instagram, and recognized a kindred spirit. Patricia specializes in using salvaged materials: she creates rather than buys what she needs, and likes her rooms to have an unbuttoned look. “Her work is very raw, it’s emotional, and she has this tendency to stop before it’s perfect,” says Dani admiringly. “I emulated her style before we met.”

Dani herself  is a creative force: a painter-turned-lifestyle photographer (with a fashion client roster that includes Paul Smith, H&M, and Hugo Boss), she’s been rehabbing old buildings as a sideline. For years, Dani was based in LA where the vast industrial space she converted into her studio became a popular wedding venue. Later, she turned a 1950 Texas ice plant into another event space that her daughter now runs.

In 2021, upended by the pandemic and ready to leave LA, Dani purchased a five-acre historic property in Galisteo, New Mexico, just 15 minutes from downtown Santa Fe. It was while taking a breather in San Miguel, Mexico, that Dani sent a fan message to Patricia, who lives in the nearby town of Mineral de Pozos. The two met up, hit it off, and Patricia agreed to come work with Dani on the Galisteo remodel.

Dani served as contractor and Patricia as creative director—she was in residence for the first and last months of the six-month project and in the interim Dani oversaw nitty-gritty things like the installation of a new roof, plumbing, electrical system, and radiant heat. Dani and Patricia shared a rented house across the street from the casita, and together did everything from ripping out old carpeting to turning scrap beams into furniture.

Dani had intended to make the place her home base for years to come, but due to an unforeseen family development, she has to be in Austin, so the newly completed casita has just gone on the market. Here’s a look around. Scroll to the end for a look at the structure’s evolution and a link to the real estate listing.

Photography by Dani Brubaker.

the house is located on galisteo creek and has a grove of cottonwoods, a tree t 14
Above: The house is located on Galisteo Creek and has a grove of cottonwoods, a tree that Dani notes is sacred to many Native Americans, particularly in the Southwest. An old specimen that had died long ago was left in place as a stump: “It looked really sad, so to everyone’s surprise, I had an excavator come and turn it upside down.” It now stands as a sculpture in the center of the wrap-around driveway, enclosed by a newly built coyote fence.