Pilgrim House began as the home of Jim, a journalist turned Episcopal priest, and his wife, Andi, a writer and artist. The couple came from Northern New Mexico to Far West Texas in 2013, when Jim was called to be the vicar of St. Paul's, the historic Episcopal church in Marfa.
At that time, the parish did not have a dwelling for its priest. After moving three times in less than two years, the couple finally purchased a 1,350-square-foot prairie-style adobe home that, ironically, featured typical New Mexico architectural tropes: corbels, dark wood beams, a log post in the middle of the kitchen, and cloud-shaped pony walls.
The couple had the building's four rooms and two bathrooms gutted to create a sanctuary. Subtle touchstones allude to the work of late-20th-century artists: faux Carrera marble tile in the kitchen is a nod to the surfaces of Richard Artschwager's early sculpture; plaster-and-concrete bathroom walls and floors refer to the materials favored by Donald Judd, the master thinker and doer whose installation-driven museum, the Chinati Foundation, annually draws upward of 40,000 visitors from all over the world to remote Marfa.
Contemporary artisanal fixtures and mid-century designs live side by side with antiques, some of which were originally housed at family farm in Ontario, Canada.
Jim is not the first cleric to live in the house. As it happens, the home has had several clergy as residents, among them a cowboy pastor who implemented the Santa Fe-style renovation in the 1970s. The oldest portion of the house dates back roughly 100 years.
The remodel in late 2014 had yet to be completed when Jim was called to be the associate rector of a church in Santa Fe. The couple, who had never had a chance to spend even one night in the house, relocated back to New Mexico and leased the Marfa house as a long-term rental for two years.
In the spring of 2017, Jim and Andi reclaimed the home and readied it as a short-term vacation rental so they could enjoy it several times a year.
"We imagined it as a pause on the pilgrim's way — a refuge for the many visitors who come to Marfa seeking its peace, silence, and beauty," said Jim.
Despite the cactus, dusty roads, mountains, desert wildlife, and aridity, the place has a "beachy feel" — a perception that the couple wanted to emphasize. The interior walls are painted ultra-flat bright white, and light diffuses through translucent white shades.
Windows and the front porch yield views of the ranch established by the one of the town's early settlers. Pilgrim House is a storied home in a storied town. High on a plateau in the Chihuahuan Desert, you feel like you've arrived on an island in an ancient inland sea.
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high-country breezes in the master bedroom; French doors open to ranch land views
heirloom mahogany chest; vintage painted chair; Baby & Child linen chandelier to complement linen bedding and towels
weathered table from Mexico, Choisy Le Roi dishes, LinenMe napkins, espresso cups by Bennington Potters
Bertazzoni stove, ranch shelves, mid-century side table, Daltile Florentine Carrara porcelain backsplash
front door in Picture Gallery Red, by Farrow & Ball
eat-in kitchen; drapery fashioned of queen-size percale sheets, custom copper tube rod
front view, Pilgrim House
Hangout Lighting pendants; Grohe faucet, Kohler sink, and saltillo tile counters continue the scheme of black, white, and sun-faded earth tones throughout the house
Kitchen table doubles as work space
kitchen window with view of the well house
Footed tub, the base of which is painted Railings by Farrow & Ball; Smedbo Air towel hooks in foreground
entry in living room; Blu Dot by Target console; heirloom copper and wrought-iron lamp
view into master bath; custom vanity; heirloom mirror; light pine floors
walk-in closet in master bedroom with heirloom vanity and bench
custom-fabricated spruce headboard by Austin McLure
master bath, custom vanity, heirloom mirror, LinenMe towel, artisanal fixtures