Raise a Ramada: Southwest romance

A regional tradition lives on in Tucson

Raise a Ramada: Southwest romance

A rustic ramada along with the golden gate below) has posts and crossbeams of mesquite and a roof of ocotillo canes. Accessories enhance its Southwest simplicity: a cobalt blue pitcher from Mexico, a bright tablecloth made in Guatemala. A living ocotillo fence screens an unwanted view.

Terrence Moore

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When Ann and Mike Liebert throw parties in their Tucson garden, guests are always slipping away to spend time in the ramada. The structure, with a beautiful nighttime view of downtown Tucson, feels like a retreat and draws guests like a magnet. "It's irresistible," says Ann.

This twiggy shelter - open on three sides to let the breezes blow through - was designed and built by Ed Kisto, a member of the Tohono O'odham, in the authentic Southwest style. Native Americans have been constructing similar sun shelters in the Sonoran desert for centuries using natural materials.


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