Below are actual letters from some of our clients….
Thank you for creating our dream house! The journey was long and often challenging, but so well worth it!
We bought our site in 2003 because we loved the New Mexico landscape, but admittedly were a little naïve about how on earth we would ever build a home from 2,000 miles away in South Florida. We began coming out each year for the Las Cruces Spring Showcase of Homes, looking at styles, materials and – most importantly – architects and builders. It wasn’t long before we realized the homes we consistently admired the most were yours and Mario’s!
We remember meeting you both the first time in your office and feeling comfortable with your approach. We listed all our hopes and wants, and Mario drew it up beautifully. Then 2008 happened, and we had to put the dream on hold.
When we finally started construction in 2012 with a scaled-back plan, we admired your patience and creativity in problem solving – and boy, did we face a lot of problems with that site! But working steadily with your team of contractors, you found ways to make it all work.
You not only preserved the views we wanted but improved them. You gave us so many special touches, such as the decorative tile patterns, the high nicho in the living room, and the powder room vanity crafted from an old cabinet you found in your travels. You and Melissa found replacements for the many out-of-stock items we’d counted on, and you continually offered suggestions for small improvements, both practical and aesthetic. The final result is a beautiful, comfortable, unique and energy-efficient house.
From our first night, it has felt like home – our home! Thank you to you, Max and Melissa and the rest of the crew! And to Mario for agreeing to take on our middle-of-nowhere project so many years ago.
All the best!
Bart and Cindy
I want you to know that the house has been wonderful! During the terrible winter cold snap, when the electricity went out and we couldn’t use the heater, the house never got colder than 65 degrees. Once we lit the fireplace and kept a fire going, the house quickly warmed up to a toasty 75-77 degrees and stayed warm long after the fire went out. And remember, it was sub-zero weather outside. Loss of water service was not caused by frozen pipes in our house, but rather by freezing problems of the water company’s pipes. We were able to take in our niece and her children for two weeks (their mobile home’s pipes all broke, they had no heat and no electricity). Rammed earth construction saved the day with its remarkable insulation quality. Also, during the hot summer months, we love coming home from work to a naturally cool house – no need to run the air conditioner in our absence during the day. In all respects, this is truly our “dream home”! photo tour of this home
I look forward to seeing you soon.
This note is to express to you our heartfelt thanks for a job well done in building our dream house. You made this process as easy as could be, even under very trying circumstances for Soledad Canyon.
Jeannie and I especially appreciate your being available to answer our questions and always getting back to us quickly. It helped that we were right next door during most of the construction; we felt like we were almost part of the SCEB crew, or as Jeannie called them, “our boys.” You kept things on schedule and we really didn’t see any pauses between your subcontractors coming on site. That was impressive.
We seemed to fell Mario’s presence around the job site like a good influence that urged everybody to, “Let’s just get this done.”
We enjoyed the building process and we love our Soledad Canyon rammed earth home. photo tour of this home
Thanks for all you do,
Bill and Jeannie Stowe
Dear Pat & Mario,
We are absolutely delighted with the house you built for us! It is, every respect, very lovely and well built. There are so many thoughtful features and touches! The house is also well insulated; we rarely need to use the air conditioner, as the house stays cool through most of the hottest times of the year. Thank you for that—after 24 years in Texas we were very tired of using as air conditioner 24/7 most of the year!
You obviously subcontracted to firms who are expert in what they do. People constantly comment about our wonderful roof, the concrete work, the tile work & just everything. Your crew was wonderful. The pride in their work shows in every room.
We also appreciate your attention to the very short list of warranty repairs. Its a good feeling to know you do more than just build a home, but that you also take care of things for that first year.
When people from this area come to visit they always ask who our builder was. They wish their builder had been so extremely competent. You were both so very helpful and creative. We feel fortunate to have had you build our home. Please feel free to stop by anytime and see us! photo tour of this home
Wayne & Patricia Greaves
San Patricio, New Mexico
Pat & Mario
We offer the highest praise for Soledad Canyon Builders. From the time of our initial visit, when we just getting to know the Las Cruces area and attempting to decide whether or not to retire there, to our first visit to our completed home, we were sure that our decision to choose them as our builders was the correct one.
Mario was terrific in working with us on the layout of our home starting with our initial drawing (a sketch about the size of a match book) right through to our final blueprints. He drove us around and helped us find the land that we ultimately purchased and then presented the various options for the placement of our home on that land. Mario maintains his own crew for all of the rammed earth construction and uses the same sub-contractors for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc. for each home he builds. These close relationships really insured good coordination throughout the construction process. He was there every step of the way as construction proceeded.
Pat and her staff were key for everything else. Bill and I were still working and residing out of state as the planning and construction process proceeded. Pat walked us through every step of the thousands of decisions that needed to be made before we could start construction. Making the big decisions like on flooring, and granite were relatively simple, but the smaller ones like knobs for cabinets or lighting fixtures in the garage, seemed to never end. Pat coordinated the decisions limiting the number of visits we needed to make to New Mexico.
Once all of these decisions were made, and only then, were we presented with the final cost of the house. Once we approved all of the expenses, all bills and payments were rigorously overseen by both Mario and Pat. We saw all of the bills as they were paid and there were no surprises as the building proceeded.
Our friends thought we were crazy not to be here when our home was being built but our confidence in Pat and Mario was well placed. They outdid themselves. We love our home and would not change anything about it or the process of getting it built and we now consider Pat and Mario to be our good friends. photo tour of this home
Sally Williams and Bill Perry
Pat and Mario,
Thank you for you wisdom, your patience, your knowledge, your perseverance, your sense of humor, your insistence on excellence AND the beautiful home you have created for us!!!!!!!
Sheri & Marty Semel
Dear Pat & Mario,
Building a home must always be a test of endurance, patience, and determination. Because we have chosen the two of you, we are much more at ease with the process. We enjoy the trust we have in your abilities.
Thank you for the hours you have spent helping us make decisions, introducing us to Las Cruces kind people and sharing laughter.
Sincerely, Jim & Mary Pierce
Dear Pat & Mario,
Now a year later, the beautiful home you built for us has meant we have enjoyed many peaceful nights and days. We appreciate the help you and your crew have given us in fulfilling our dream.
Love, Jim & Mary Pierce
Pat & Mario,
I would have to say we are very pleased that we chose rammed earth since it is very quiet and energy efficient. We have run the A/C less than 50 hours so far this year. Honest. A lot is due to the rammed earth but another factor is the layout and the way the house it set on the property (not a lot of afternoon sun). Plus with all the screen doors the breezes are great and this keeps the house very comfortable most days. Everyone loves the caramelo tile on the banco and fireplaces so that was a great late addition.
Joey & Terry Monzo
Pena Blanca Loop
Dear Pat and Mario,
We have been in this delightful house for nearly four months now. The move, adjusting to a new house and attending to family matters are mostly behind us and we have begun to see the less obvious but so important features that make it uniquely a part of your work. Your attention to detail, ability to find conscientious staff and subcontractors, and your simple but elegant and sensible design are so appreciated. The early design process was made easier by your patience and good humor.
Just now I noticed how carefully the entire expanse of tile in the house moves from one reference point in the entryway. How straight and uniform every grout line is. How true every interior wall is. How quiet the house is. How right the lighting in the house is. Just now an F-16 flew low on approach to the airport but I wouldn’t have noticed the roar, reduced to a whisper inside, if I didnt pay so much attention to aircraft. Even the air conditioning is quieter than expected.
When callbacks have been necessary you were able to get all but the most intransigent to show up quickly and make those minor changes that will always come with living in a new house.
Just yesterday Judy McMillan, who did such a skilled job executing the design for the French doors, came by to photograph her work. She is another of the people who worked with you who seemed so conscientious. She certainly respects your work too. It was a pleasure working with your crew and your subcontractors.
Please use us as references if you would like to.
Sam and Phyllis Palmer
Pat & Mario
Friends had told us that building a home, especially across the country, could be agonizing. With Soledad Canyon Earth Builders, we found it to be a great experience. We first met Pat and Mario at a Showcase of Homes, where we were immediately drawn to their southwestern style. When, after visiting another Showcase and interviewing several other builders, we decided to hire Soledad Canyon Earth Builders, we were so pleased with Pat and Mario’s warmth and enthusiasm. They always listened fully to our ideas, paying careful attention to our preferences and giving us advice on what would work and what would not. We were thankful for their honesty and good humor in what became a streamlined, pleasant process. With Pat and Mario in charge, we were at ease, even when miles away in NY state.
Pat’s decorating expertise taught us about southwestern decor as we learned about tile work, vigas, corbels, etc. Mario suggested many ways to build a “green” home, implementing energy-efficient systems and materials. The sub teams did exacting work, monitored by Pat and Mario’s careful on-site inspections. In fact, after several months in our home, when Pat asked us to make a list of items needing attention, it was a short list!
Now as we spend each day in our beautiful house, we are thankful to the builders who not only created our dream home, but became friends, as well. We are proud to live in a Soledad Canyon Earth Builders home.
Margie and Dave Herberger
Pat & Mario
We love our new home!! As we pass 6 months in the home we can’t believe how lucky we are to be here and in this house. The journey from New Jersey was not without skeptics. Many were concerned about our building a home from so far away, we only had to reassure them that the builders we chose were wonderful, competent and trustworthy (a rare commodity in builders in NJ). When we met Pat and Mario we were instantly taken with their low key, warm manner, with a sense of humor and an aura of experience thrown in. As we wandered through Las Cruces on early visits we would browse through design centers and when approached about our builders we were always met with a response that we were lucky to have Soledad Canyon as our builders. As we continue our adventure through Las Cruces we are the envy of neighbors and acquaintances when they find out we have a Pat and Mario house. The attention to detail has been second to none. What a joy when we first saw the completed house!! Seeing the quirky little things we wanted in (“special home” for the dogs) and the touches that Pat added for the first time made realty almost seem like fantasy, we couldn’t believe that this was our house. We have been lucky enough to meet other rammed earth home owners and they too share a similar respect for Pat and Mario, a relationship few of my neighbors have with their builders. We can’t leave out the importance that building like this is to the environment and that is something that is not lost with SCEB either. Thank you for helping us go green with the building of our home and the addition of solar to the home. Thank you for helping us make our dream come true.
Pattie Gipson & Sue Williams
It’s funny how things turn out in life and we consider ourselves very blessed to have met Pat and Mario years before we actually built our home with Soledad Canyon Earth Builders.
In 2000 (if memory serves), we attended an open house on Bluestone Court offered by Pat and Mario during the Spring Showcase of Homes. We lived in Talavera and were curious to see some of the new home designs being built. The home was lovely! While we were visiting, the owners called from out-of-state and were talking to Mario, asking him how things had turned out with the home. He put me on the phone so I could share my opinion with the owners. Needless to say, I was deeply impressed by what I saw (and we had only just finished our then-current home the year before) and was effusive with my praise about the quality of construction and details. I suspect Pat and Mario knew that the quality of their product “spoke for itself” I was pleased to tell the new owners that I agreed!
Several years later we moved out-of-state, but always planned to return to New Mexico. When the opportunity to relocate to Las Cruces presented itself, my wife and I knew that our builder had to be Pat and Mario. We contacted them via their web site and emailed to meet during our visit to Las Cruces. They showed us parcels of land and helped us locate the best building site once we selected our lot. Upon moving back to Las Cruces, we coordinated with Pat to begin the process of designing the “home of our dreams.” We had built several homes, looked at lots of plans, but were finding it more difficult than we expected to come up with a “perfect plan”.
Pat and Mario suggested we focus on the essentials and allow them to design a home to fit our vision, the parcel of land, and our specific needs. The result was fantastic! At every point in the design and construction process, Pat and Mario were supportive and helpful. We felt the relationship we developed was incredibly professional, yet we had made great friends as well.
We know that the home we built with Pat and Mario is exceptional, and have witnessed our opinion repeatedly reinforced by the positive comments of our neighbors who watched the home go up, and the folks in the community (like bankers and appraisers) who know that Soledad Canyon Earth Builders creates a remarkable home. Most importantly, we know that our home is indeed “uniquely New Mexico” and love every day we enjoy its wonderful qualities.
Chris & Lynn Ray
In 1998, I looked at a map of New Mexico, picked out Las Cruces and decided to move there. I looked for a local builder online and the first builder in the list that had a web site was Soledad Canyon Earth Builders. I looked at the picture of their showcase home and decided that I wanted a home that looked like that. I had no idea what a rammed earth home was, but Pat Bellestri emailed me back and asked me to come to Las Cruces and she would show me that house.
After a quick visit to Las Cruces, I returned to California, sold my house and rented an apartment in Las Cruces. I bought a lot from Mario and Pat and asked Mario to design me a perfect home. He did. That was 8 years ago, and thanks to Pat and Mario, my house is still perfect. Pat helped me every step of the way, suggesting features for my new home that I would not have thought of, finding craftsmen and women to build some unique features, and gently talking me out of unworkable ideas.
Working with Mario was fabulous¦. especially since he knew what a rammed earth house was and I had no idea. Although my request for a perfect house caused Mario to take a deep breath, he understood what I wanted and he made sure he and his crew delivered.
Pat and Mario are honest, trustworthy and a joy to work with. They are proud of their homes and are ever on call to answer any questions or requests I have.
Working with the Bellestri’s has been a wonderful experience and I gladly recommend Soledad Canyon Earth Builders to anyone who is considering a rammed earth home even if they don”t know exactly what that is!
Dear Pat and Mario,
The best testimonial I can give is that when my dad and his wife Nancy came to visit right after we moved in Nancy told my brother that she couldn’t find anything wrong with our house, and that she looked. We love our rammed earth house and even more, we loved the building experience. This is the third new house that Jim and I have owned, the other two were houses built on spec; our current home is the only one we were involved in from the beginning. The process, from design through move-in, was great. From the beginning Mario told us that he wanted to build the house we wanted; Soledad Canyon Earth Builders did exactly that, we love this house. Pat helped steer us in the right direction during the design phase and ensured that every fixture and the overall design we picked out complemented each other.
It fits our lifestyle, we love entertaining our friends here as much as we love just hanging out. Thank you for building a great home and even more for becoming our friends in the process.
Lisa and Jim Lamb