As I’ve previously written about here, I’m currently building a house in Merida, Mexico on the Yucatan peninsula.
Last fall, after visiting Merida multiple times in the last several years, I found an amazing property online in the neighborhood of Jesus Carranza, just a few blocks from the city’s main thoroughfare, Paseo Montejo. It’s nearly 50 feet wide on the main entrance side, 100 feet deep with a separate street entrance around the corner. Bonus lot!
Over the past year I’ve been working long distance with my friend, architect Erik Gonzales of Gonzales Estudio on a plan for the main house remodel with an addition of a new facade, courtyard, parking area, office with separate entrance, storage pantry, laundry, utility room and a 3 bedroom, 2 bath guest “casita” (little house) with its own kitchen at the rear of the property.
Project contractor Russell Zumarraga, has been working on demo and construction since my visit in mid-May. It’s been a bit slow going with all of the rain they’ve had during hurricane season there. (Plus several crew member contracted COVID so he had to replace them with a new crew until they are better.)
The ceiling on the main house was bashed out because of rusted rebar and is being replaced this week –FINALLY. The existing floors (which we are keeping) were covered in 6 inches of sand to protect them during construction.
Erik and I have continued to refine the material choices. I posted three different choices for the breeze block for the exterior facade on Instagram to crowd source the design a bit. Erik showed me the new facade for the first time this week and we tweeked a few elements.
The interior courtyard inside the front gate has the main entrance to the house and to the left an entrance to my office which connects to my painting studio which is convertible into a bedroom for rentals when I’m not there. I plan on dividing my time 50/50 between upstate New York and Merida once it’s done.
We added a second floor to the guest house as it was in progress which contains a large bedroom, smaller guest/TV room and a bathroom/dressing room with a large sunken tub and terrace overlooking the pool with a sculptural concrete staircase.
Hey, guess what? Merida was just named the #6 Best Large City in the world by Condé Nast Traveler in their 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards. 1-5 were Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Singapore & Istanbul.
6. Mérida, Mexico
The streets of Mérida are bursting with the colorful facades of Spanish colonial architecture, but the capital of Mexico’s Yucatan state is also steeped in Mayan history. Centrally located on the Yucatan Peninsula, the city is an easy day trip to UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the ancient cities of Uxmal and Chichen Itza, and the beaches on the Gulf shore in Progreso. Locals recommend visiting Fundación de Artistas, a nonprofit featuring art exhibits in a 19th-century home; Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, a modern cultural museum; and the traditional Yucatecan food at the super casual Manjar Blanco. –Condé Nast Traveler, Reader’s Choice Awards, 2021