Valley born and raised, Erik Mestas is an artisan of grand standards and his medium is stucco. Miraculously, he has turned my 109-year-old home into a beautiful sight to behold!
I first met Erik, who built his own house, when I applied and was approved for the USDA Rural Development home grant for construction and repair. The program allots a one-time grant $7,500 to homeowners who qualify under an income-based scale. The program’s goal is to help rural residents improve their homes.
Single family homeowners may apply for the grant of $7,500; a link for more information is: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/co
Basically the grant requires the homeowner to be 62 years old or older, to be unable to obtain credit elsewhere, have income below 50 percent of area’s median income, and to not have income to pay monthly installments. Check with Angela Gonzales (719/589-3497) at the Alamosa USDA Rural Development Office on Craft to ask questions.
I met Erik, a skilled contractor, when Angela said, “He did a good job for others.” He provided a bid for the stucco redo and repair that beat the three others that I had obtained. When he won the bid, he provided sample colors of the stucco and I found the source online where I discovered the perfect color: bison beige. That was after considering cobblestone, adobe, ranch, and a deep brown.
He has worked faithfully and produced an end product that rivals any other contractor’s. I am so pleased with the stucco, which lasts a long LONG time. I feel like I’m living in a new home, not a rickety century-old cottage.
The way he wields the trowel across the cement and forms the textured stucco (a bison beige color) is a marvel. To me it is like watching a Michelangelo with stucco instead of paints. He even brings his own scaffolding. In relation to his dogged concentration when he works, he says, “Whatever the customer wants, I try to provide.”
His son Cimarron is completing the trim, which is a bright contrasting freckled lime. He brushes on the acrylic color like an intense pro; but first he brushes the cobwebs away and paints. So, now the new home on the block is mine and it pops like oil colors on a canvas. I feel a song coming on.
Nelda Curtiss is a retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her with ideas for her next column at [email protected]