When you step through the door of TOTEM - a just-opened interiors/design shop in Santa Fe - you get two warm welcomes...one from Owner/Designer/Creative Director Ernie Sulpizio, and the other from his sweet French Bulldog Lola. I think you can figure out who's who. 

I dropped by the other day and got the grand tour of the handsome space. This two-story emporium of everything-I'd-like-to-buy, is full of modern furnishings, vintage clothing, Native American and contemporary jewelry, yummy scented candles, fabulous towels and robes...and the list goes on. 


The space, says Ernie, was designed to feel as if you're entering a beautiful home - the living room straight ahead as you walk in; the dining room just to the left; and upstairs the bedroom with open racks of vintage clothing. And his signature color palate of black and white and neutral creates a serene atmosphere to browse to your heart's content. 

Wonderfully-curated design elements, furniture and accessories are placed 'just so' everywhere.



Ernie Sulpizio Design

1415 West Alameda - Santa Fe, NM

I stopped by my favorite Olive Oil emporium - OLEACEAE at La Fonda on the Plaza - and saw these wonderful Native Stone Carvings by Newt Robinson in the window. Of course I had to photograph them and Newt had just dropped by so we had a chat while I clicked away..

A retired Santa Fe dentist, former cowboy and now rancher, Newt first began carving fetish animals out of marble, onyx and scraps of stone he salvaged from building sites; they were sold through the NAMBE stores. Now he only uses native New Mexican stones that he finds on his ranch in Las Vegas, New Mexico and then carves into ravens, eagles, buffalo, and roadrunners. He tries to keep as much of the natural stone as possible - even the cracks and fissures - and says that when he chooses a stone he can already 'see' the animal or bird in it. "What's exciting for me," says Newt, "is to look at all the stones I've collected and suddenly spot a 'bear' or  a 'raven' and pick it up and start carving."

Newt Robinson

Available at OLEACEAE at La Fonda on the Plaza
100 E. San Francisco -Santa Fe, NM



THE STATELY 'MOORISH' BUILDING at the corner of Paseo de Peralta & Bishops Lodge Road is a marvel, and when seen for the first time - or the hundredth time - its' astounding pink facade seems an impossible vision tucked into a landscape of Territorial and Pueblo-style buildings in the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico. But there it stands proud - an intentional echo of the magnificent Alhambra Castle in Granada, Spain. Erected in 1912, this "Pink Cathedral" is overflowing with lyrical Moorish architectural elements and handsome Masonic symbols. 

Including the beautiful stained glass windows in the Center's lobby.

Two photos above courtesy of Scottish Rite Center

Historical photographs of important Masonic members line the walls seen reflected in this larger portrait...

Although I'd been in the Center for various events, I had never seen many of the treasures that are only available if you take a tour - offered every Tuesday and Thursday at  10am & 2pm - donations appreciated. A friend and I arrived just in time for a morning tour led by volunteer DAN IRICK - President of the Board of Trustees , Scottish Rite Building Association. It was a delight...

Up the far stairway from the lobby is the 3,200 sq. ft BALLROOM with its original chairs lined like soldiers along the walls; arched keyhole windows; and magnificent tasseled/stained glass chandeliers.

For weddings and other catered events, a huge kitchen is just off the ballroom - available for staging only. Food must be prepared off site.

And doors open to an enclosed secret garden - another nod to The Alhambra.

 Photos courtesy of Scottish Rite

But for me, the jewel in the crown of the Scottish Rite Center, is the magnificent ALHAMBRA THEATER in the lower lobby. It is original to the building and was and is integral to transmitting Masonic doctrine to initiates through lectures and allegorical/morality plays.

                                        Photo above courtesy of Scottish Rite

Billowing clouds sweep across the ceiling...and stars twinkle...

A detail of the gilded fretwork...

A splendid mural above the proscenium, is a dramatic interpretation of an original painting - Surrender of Grenada by Francisco Padilla.

The stage is a wonder in itself; sixty-nine hand painted backdrops are hung above the stage, manipulated manually by wooden rigging, ropes and tackles located stage left. Many of these original marvels were restored in 2002.


But theater is more than backdrops; there must be costumes.  And there are magnificent costumes and headgear galore in the spacious Wardrobe Room.  I was allowed to photograph a few of these elaborate pieces, some dating back to the late 1800's and early 1900's, and stored in beautiful wooden cases donated by Moore's Men's Wear in the 1950's.

T H E   S A N T A  F E  S C O T T I S H   R I T E   C E N T E R
  A place like no other...

463 Paseo de Peralta - Santa Fe, NM