Monday, November 19, 2007
The first house we finished in Merida back in 2001 was Ermita. When we told local people where we lived they recoiled in horror. It didn't help that I'd decided I couldn't get a decent haircut in town and so let my hair grow to my shoulders. It didn't help that we drove a 1986 jeep cherokee with two fox terriers hanging out the windows either. But the thing that horrified everyone the most was that we lived downtown and in the worst part of town. I never met the local drug dealers and addicts that were supposed to plague the neighborhood. I did meet the local kids who hung out break dancing in the park and my neighbors just wanted to know when I was going to knock down my old ceilings and build a mezzanine. It wasn't long after that when I saw this house on calle 75 for sale. I loved my 18th century ruin and thought this mid-century modern was about the worst thing on the market. Five years later I thought it was about the best thing on the market. I'd been collecting and making modern furniture that just did not fit into Ermita and I was in the mood for something light and clean. It was the open sky and the big garden that convinced me to buy the house though I had no idea what to do with it. The garden wall reminded me of the morning in 1987 when I was the only person visiting the Ryoanji temple rock garden for a least an hour. I kept hesitating to re-plaster the last old wall in the garden so I filled the garden with gravel and left it... see the last photo on this page.
In 2006 Ermita became the hot neighborhood for expats looking for a nice old colonial. I spent the better part of 2007 renovating this new house around the corner from Ermita. Josh and I moved from Ermita to El Portico de la Candelaria the house he had renovated through most of 2006. Now I want a real zen garden in the middle of no where. Thank god we still have the jeep and now we have 3 fox terriers...
The first thing you'll notice when you enter the house is how light it is. The skylight in the entry corridor is 9 meters long. For most of the skylights I used 'reflecta-sol' glass which filters the sunlight and reduces the amount off heat significantly. The next thing you'll notice is the use of a natural off white plaster throughout the house. All of the thresholds are made from a hard tropical woods that I also used as a detail in the glass doors. One of the things that impressed me when I started working on this house was the excellent air flow througout the house. When I raised the ceilings I added vents, skylights and windows to take advantage of northeast breezes.
In this photograph you can see the barrel vaulted ceiling of the dining room. You can see the entrance from the entry hall and the door into the kitchen. On the wall to the south (right) there is also a double door into the livingroom or office.
When you enter the house from the pool there is a tiled sitting room. The sliding windows open onto the pool patio area and over look the gardens. There is a very open and light room that has a ventilated skylight in the roof. One of the guest rooms opens onto this seating area.