The Houses that Sparks Built - El Rito

 T  H  E    S A L V A G E   M A S T E R

Photos & Text by C. Whitney-Ward

When  LARRY SPARKS, a former Santa Fe builder/designer retired and bought 14 acres of land in El Rito, New Mexico, he immediately started building with passion. The result? A wonderfully-eccentric compound of  structures encased in licence plates, found objects and vintage signage.

Featured on the cover of the Feb issue of World of Interiors Magazine, Sparks' outsider art buildings are a labor of creative whimsy. His first building went up in 1991 and he's been at it  ever since. "They are a canvas in themselves," notes Sparks.  "I'm trying to do something that is aesthetically cool using re-cycled, biodegradable stuff."

Before there was inside plumbing, he built this snazzy outhouse.

When he built his house bathroom, he tried his hand at stained glass.

And even built a separate house for a spa/sauna.

Let's see. There's a main house, an outhouse, a spa/sauna house, a guest house, a studio, and another studio/retreat house. There's even a sculpture garden filled with his found object assemblages.

All in all, wonderful stuff inside and out.

Why El Rito?

"I like to be able to see 60 miles in a couple of directions.
 It's rural and beautiful."

I'd say that Larry Sparks has found his perfect roost. 

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