A Daycation in the Desert

Illustration by James Provost

Linda and Jack Oldham, parents of designer Todd Oldham, had been making regular weekend pilgrimages to Santa Fe from their ranch in nearby Abiquiu for the past six years when they decided they needed a permanent place just outside the city. So they bought a five-acre plot of land a short drive from Santa Fe, and in the span of about a year built a 100-square-foot studio, made from two-by-fours and old stained-glass windows, as a sort of “reverse country house,” Todd says. There’s electricity, but no plumbing—which means that they only visit during the daytime, and for a few hours at a time. His mother explains: “We’ll hang out there, eat lunch, maybe take a little nap on the couch. Our dogs love it.” The Oldhams also like to putter around the property (once a stop on the Santa Fe Trail), collecting old pottery shards. Like their son, Linda and Jack have a way with color, humor—and are nothing if not resourceful: They fashioned the legs of a wooden coffee table from old Bambi-shaped Christmas decorations. Says Linda: “Us old hams are genius at repurposing anything.”

The Exterior
Linda and Jack Oldham built this house by hand using glass from salvaged stained-glass windows that they have been collecting for years. Photo: Todd Oldham

The Ceiling
They painted the fan in different colors so that when it spins, Linda says, “the colors blend to create a whole new palette.” Photo: Todd Oldham

The Chair
Linda and Jack covered it in antique flour sacks that they unearthed from Texas flea markets. Photo: Todd Oldham

The Door
It was embellished by Linda, who’s worked with mosaics for years. Photo: Todd Oldham

The Coffee Table
The couple crafted this from their own vintage Bambis. “It was just sort of looking at what we had and then inventing a lot of things as we went along,” says Linda. Photo: Todd Oldham

A Daycation in the Desert