Designer’s Santa Fe neighbors decry “Wal-Mart on the hill.”

Will Tom Ford be able to build his rugged adobe pleasure dome on a hilltop in his hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico? He’ll find out next month, when the city decides whether it’ll allow him to erect the 16,647-square-foot complex, which includes a 9,000-square-foot house, a 1,600-square-foot garage and guest apartment, and 4,000 square feet of covered portals, with walls made of genuine mud-based adobe. “Our goal is to make the house seem of the hill and not on the hill,” Ford told the Albuquerque Journal last month, after dropping a garage bay and shrinking the project a bit to appease the neighbors. The plot is on the meticulously Old West–rustic east side of town, where the roads are dirt and the residents include Ron Howard and Jane Fonda. Ford got ahold of the ten-acre plot after the city refused to let the previous owners build a somewhat smaller house than Ford proposes (the old owners sued Santa Fe and won $300,000). Ford shouldn’t think the locals will defer to his superior sense of design: One citizen described his planned home as “a Wal-Mart perched on a hill.”

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