Getting away to the mountains is an easy jaunt from Las Cruces, but if you’re a bit burnt out on the rustic, log cabin vibe, consider a vacation rental that can transport you to somewhere else entirely —like say the French countryside, Bella Luna Cottage!
Written and photography by Jessica Salopek
This Ruidoso area vacation rental will transport you to another time and place.
Owner Beverly Chavez-Floyd has made a name for herself in Las Cruces as a designer and an artist. She was the visionary behind the antique and vintage decor store Patina Home in downtown Las Cruces before retiring last year. Ready for a new project, she decided to put her stamp on a mountain cabin that has been in the Floyd family for over 30 years—and the results are nothing short of magical.
“I come from a large family of artists. My dad was a commercial artist in Las Cruces, and art has always been a big part of my life. When I decorate, I want that artistic side and my eye for detail to come through,” Beverly says. “The Patina Home store was big influence on this project; that’s when I started finding all the French Country antiques and collectibles. If I hadn’t started seeing the beauty of those things, I probably would have put more of a Mexican or Southwestern spin on it, but I just felt an urge to transform it into something different.”
“I want guests to be excited and surprised around every corner.”
Perched on a hillside in Alto (only minutes from Ruidoso and just over a mile from the turn off for Ski Apache), Bella Luna Cottage isn’t your typical New Mexico cabin. The façade is a quaint mix of river rock and white clapboard with a wraparound porch shaded by the soaring pines. Colorful gathering spots dot the property in the form of a yellow wrought iron table and chair set, turquoise loungers, and cozy benches tucked into corners.
“I wanted to create little vignettes everywhere,” Beverly explains. “I want guests to be excited and surprised around every corner. I want them to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to read my book here,’ or, ‘That’s the perfect spot for my morning coffee.’”
Beverly’s design concept is perhaps most evident upon stepping inside the home. Each space is a new display of antique treasures that is trendy and chic enough to not feel like your grandmother’s. The kitchen is bright and airy with a tin tile backsplash, white cabinets, and a beadboard island with room enough for four distressed metal bar stools. The river rock fireplace in the living room is flanked with a sumptuous velvet sofa, two linen reading chairs, and a plush ottoman pouf. Tucked away in one of the antique sideboards, you’ll find vintage board games, jigsaw puzzles, and a collection of old movies.
Each of the three bedrooms maintains its own unique personality. The “Wildflower Room” boasts pastel hues, feathery curtains, and a chunky whitewashed wooden daybed. The adjacent bedroom is a bit more “country” with darker furniture and a red quilt spread out over the queen-sized bed. The master is a pristine cloud of whites and creams that gives off a romantic glow at any time of day.
“The master bedroom is one of my favorite spaces,” Beverly admits. “It just makes you feel like you’re in a different world. And I really love the enclosed porch that’s right off of it. In the summer, it’s just phenomenal to sit out there and play cards or have breakfast.”
While the entire cottage is decorated to the nines, Beverly says her work is never really done. To make the rental extra special, she adds thematic elements coinciding with each major holiday. In December, a snowy white Christmas tree held court in the living room. For Valentine’s Day, she added touches of red and set out flowery china with a note inviting guests to use them for their date night meal. For the summer, she’s planning to bring out hand-painted dishes from France adorned with bees and summery blooms.
And she has a whole lot of other projects planned for the spring and summer. Last year, the Floyd family concentrated on landscaping—hand-placing each brick, rock, and plant around the cottage. In 2019, they plan to build on their work by expanding the grilling area, adding in ski storage and a hammock, and planting “a ton of lavender.” Beverly also hopes to add in a covered hot tub styled to look like a conservatory with old wooden windows, English fretwork, and even a chandelier.
“I can see it in my mind already. There’s so much more I want to do here,” she says. “I can’t wait to go look for more urns and benches and lionhead statues. I want the whole place to look and feel like it’s in some little village in France. My goal is to take people out of the ordinary; to create a true getaway for the soul.”
Bella Luna Cottage is available for rent through Condotel Ruidoso Cabins at ruidosoreservations.com. This romantic venue is also available for weddings, showers, and bridal parties.