The Insta-Home Challenge: Albuquerque

by Angela on October 12, 2012 · 5 comments

We Hollicks deem ourselves fairly well-traveled, but this is the first time either of us have stepped foot in New Mexico. And our feet landed in a Pueblo-style townhome in Old Town, Albuquerque — complete with five adults, one tween, one toddler, one cat and a couple of hamsters! Full House has nothing on us.

The Lion King at Popejoy Hall on the campus of U of NM happened to coincide with the busiest time of the year for Albuquerque: the International Balloon Fiesta. It’s the largest hot air balloon event in the world, and if you didn’t start looking for housing back in, say, January, you’d have pretty slim pickins since the first couple of weeks in October have been booked solid everywhere.

I got lucky, scoring this 1,750 square foot vacation rental in early May (five months ago!) on VRBO right when a previous reservation cancelled. It’s a 4 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse near Old Town Plaza, so there are plenty of shops and restaurants in walking distance. The drive is about 10 minutes to the theater, roughly 5 miles away. We invited the Cordileones to live with us, as well as Conwell (assistant stage manager) and Tony Freeman (Zazu/Timon/Pumbaa/Scar cover). By sharing, our family’s rent portion was right about $1k for the four weeks, and the added bonus of a very social month was fun after Wichita’s solo living. Come inside and see our abode!

(Please excuse the yellowish hue seen throughout some of these photos. We don’t get too much natural light in the house, and nighttime photography accentuated the painted yellow walls. Or maybe I failed to adjust my camera’s white balance. Who knows?)

The owners might have invaded a hotel fire sale, with the amount of tacky art lining the walls. Ah well, it could be worse! This living room is a little cozy for the seven of us, but we make do.  A wood-burning fireplace anchors the space.

Here’s the front door to the townhouse. The entrance to the two-car garage hangs around the bend on the right…

The kitchen is small-ish but totally workable.

Through the kitchen doorway is the dining area, which seats six comfortably and eight cozily.

Up the stairs, all our roommates dwell in three bedrooms and one bathroom. There is an extra sink outside the full bathroom, which counts as a “quarter” bath, evidently! You learn something new each city.

Tucked away underneath the stairs is an office-y area with a small desk and room for storage, and even more hotel wall art. Hero keeps much of her school and art supplies here, and we plopped our scanner/printer/copier on the floor.

The entrance to our master bedroom is right off the living room. Cat not included.

It certainly was difficult for us to go from our Wichita penthouse, which we had all to ourselves, to cramming most of our things into a small 14’x14′ bedroom. Check out the identical art pieces on the wall above the dresser. Like I said, hotel fire sale. But who are we to talk? We’re living outta bags, like the orange tote of shoes on the bottom left.

So the reason a lot of our suitcases are not stored in our closet is that someone has his crib in there. And it’s tight.

Our sink is outside, which is pretty functional…

… since our bathtub/shower and toilet room is tiny. We’ve even managed to squeeze Turkey’s litter box alongside the toilet.

We’ve got an outdoor space right outside our master bedroom, which is also accessible from the dining room and kitchen.

I’m taking care of both Hero and Genesis during the show, and our evenings are spent winding down in the living room.

The roommate situation has been fun so far. There’s a mix of the Hollicks and the Cordileones using the common rooms often, with Tony and Conwell coming in and out occasionally. Oh, Tony and the Cordileones have flat-screen TVs in each of their rooms. And Tony has a private balcony off his room. He’s got a pretty sweet setup. (Photos from the owner’s VRBO page.)

Conwell’s room has twin beds, as does Nick and Hero’s.

Both rooms are quite snug, especially if you consider that Hero also adopted two female hamsters named Carlos and Mavis, photo by Nick Daddy.

This is the first time I’ve gotten to hang with Tony and Conwell, and they are hysterical, like a Martin and Lewis duo. They trade barbs so quickly and wittily I once almost shot wine out my nose when I heard this exchange:

CONWELL (watching a movie trailer on TV): I wonder when this movie is coming out?

TONY: I wonder when you’re coming out.

In fact, it sort of feels like a grizzly white guy frat party in the late evenings after they return from work. I mean that in the most enjoyable way.

As for the exterior, our house is in a complex called Pueblo Del Norte.

I suppose I’m not the biggest fan of the whole Pueblo style of architecture, as it seems pretty monotone, boxy and merely functional at the end of the day. But the terrain of New Mexico is so beautiful, with its plains, mountains, basins, mesas, and deserts, that the architecture of the buildings seems designed in deference to the land, obstensibly plain as to not upstage nature. Anyhow, parts of the complex are accented with green. It’s lovely.

Welcome to our Albuquerque home!


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Darrell Cohn October 14, 2012 at 6:25 am

What an amazing experience you’re all having. Great photos! I especially like the hamster one.


Janeen October 14, 2012 at 11:29 am

Hello Hollicks,

I stumbled upon your blog googling Orlando vacation tips and now I am addicted to your stories. Ifeel like I’m truly traveling with you! Keep up the great wiriting and safe travels everywhere!!

Janeen Hummelstein


Lauren October 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Looking fun!


ANGELIQUE October 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm



Mr B October 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Wow !! What a great experience. Dan tells me your coming to NY soon. Enjoy and be safe


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