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Unveiling the Soul of Trinchera Ranch: A Conversation with Jet Zarkadas

Words by
Kenneth Taylor
Published on
16 April 2024

Trinchera Ranch stands as the marriage of history and design – it is a living masterpiece where every piece, whether a carefully curated artifact or a recent addition, contributes to the narrative that defines ranch living in the heart of the West. In an exclusive interview with Jet Zarkadas, part of the dynamic interior design team Jen & Jet from the Santa Fe-based Los Griegos Studio, we uncover the details and inspiration that breathe life into the ranch’s iconic interiors.

A Journey to the Romance of the West

Jet reveals that the original vision for Trinchera Ranch was that of a western hunting lodge. The space went through a serious transformation – initially, it resembled ‘70s-era JCPenney, where the interiors were decorated with knock-off Italian light fixtures and shag carpeting.

“I made it more of a western lodge with native influences,” says Jet, sharing her dislike for the expected, “Southwestern is cliche.” Her inspiration drew heavily from Louis Bacon’s art collection, regionally specific to Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, offering a romanticized glimpse into the cowboy and hunting heritage.

Weaving Tradition into Design

Jet Zarkadas, alongside Jennifer Wilson, former specialist for American Indian art at Sotheby’s, orchestrates a balanced blend of history and aesthetics. Once folded away in a sunroom, Louis Bacon’s Navajo textiles now drape the conference room walls, a silent ode to Native American craftsmanship. The pottery collection, a mix of aesthetic allure and intrinsic value, adds layers to Trinchera’s story. Recent design additions, particularly the rooms with decks, reveal themselves as canvases awaiting the stroke of artistic ingenuity.

Hemingway Hallway

With a carefully curated book collection that weaves tales of the place and era, the library becomes more than a repository—it’s an expression of the ranch’s soul. Native American artifacts placed among the shelves add layers of discovery alongside a collection of books that tell the story of the setting and history of the area. This literary haven, a key to understanding Louis’s interests, intertwines literature and design to create a space where the visitors can journey through Trinchera’s narrative-rich spaces.

The old schoolhouse, the last completed structure, holds swings from the bygone days. Despite initial plans for it to be the activity center, it evolved into a space that encapsulates the essence of the ranch, with a classroom, spa, yoga studio, gym, and more.

Jet takes us through the design journey of the heart of the ranch, The Lodge, featuring 18 years’ worth of design curation. The first stop of our journey is the vintage sports room, Legends Lounge, with pieces sourced from local antique shops, where hunters can gather and watch sports. The arrival experience is meticulously curated, with a custom pool table, poker table, and light fixtures that evoke a profound sense of place, with Zane Grey’s fishing pole leaning against the wall as a nod to the ranch’s rich narrative.

Designed by Jet, the three-sided fireplace stands as a local artisan masterpiece to The Lodge—a colossal stack of stones with three hearths, which adds warmth both literally and figuratively. “It was a beast to get done,” Jet says.

In the conference room, a buffalo head from Forbes’ day commands attention, while the great room, once the sole gathering space on the ranch, hosts an articulated mountain lion and a piece by Navajo Moe. The great room also holds a view that feels like a “window on the world.” Topographical maps add a layer of depth, showcasing the significant Mount Blanca and the natural beauty surrounding the ranch.

Jet emphasizes the importance of authenticity in design, from the patina of lived-in, distressed pieces to the display of 140-year-old handwoven baskets and game heads sprinkled throughout, with 75% of the game shot by Louis Bacon. Each element, from hair-on-hide textures to vintage cameras, carries the soul of the ranch’s story.

Unique Guest Rooms

No two guest rooms are alike at Trinchera Ranch. Jet walks us through her favorite guest room, the Ralph Lauren room, with its distinctive red, white, navy, and brown palette. Vintage and antique pieces, including pattern Zapotec rugs, adorn each room, creating a highly personalized space for every guest.

Victorian References

The ranch pays homage to a bygone era with Victorian references, curtains, and unique artifacts like an English Shepard dog figurine. Fritz, the craftsman behind the entry gate and stone cabin, adds his touch to the design. The hand-carved furniture and the careful assembly of structures at a breathtaking altitude add a layer of authenticity that captivates every visitor.

According to Jet Zarkadas, being at Trinchera Ranch is like being in someone’s home, with something new to discover at every turn. The design is not just aesthetically pleasing; it’s a journey through time, a celebration of tradition, and an invitation to experience the West in its purest form.

An Inclusive Experience

<p>While most Trinchera Ranch experiences are included in your stay, there are a few exclusions and experiences available for an additional cost. Please reach out to our dedicated team for specific rates.</p>


Start your day with a delicious breakfast and savor inspired lunches, dinners, and snacks throughout the day.
Quench your thirst with an extensive selection of beverages, including our signature cocktails, mocktails, liquors, wines, and champagne.
Set forth into a world of recreational and educational activities offered on our property, equipment included.


For those eager to embark on exciting fishing adventures, we have half-day or full-day guided fly fishing trips available.
Embrace tranquility with spa treatments and daily yoga classes to nurture your mind, body, and soul.


15% gratuity will be added to acknowledge our dedicated team members who ensure a remarkable stay.
A 6.9% state and county tax will be applied to your total bill.
While transportation from the airport is not included, we can assist you in making arrangements.
<a href=""> Interested in a full-lodge buyout?</a>