As I’ve previously written about here, I’m currently STILL building a house in Merida, Mexico on the Yucatan peninsula.
Over two years ago, in the fall of 2020, 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 de Montejo. It’s over 50 feet wide on the main entrance side, 100 feet deep with a separate street entrance around the corner, with a 30 x 40 foot “bonus lot”.
Over the past year two years 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 a 3 bedroom, 2 bath guest “casita” (little house) with its own kitchen next to the 11 meter lap pool at the rear of the property.
I haven’t posted here in a nearly 6 months, so there’s lots to catch up on…
I will divide my time between upstate New York & Merida, I returned just before Thanksgiving to over see the final stages of the project. So much has happened over the past two and a half months.
The interior courtyard, diving wall and fountain were completed as well as the kitchen and the pasta tile backsplashes.
I had a few visitors over the holidays and I hosted Christmas Eve dinner for 13. Outdoor built-ins that would seat us all were completed in time but the rain forced us inside and we blew a circuit right as dinner was being served. So we ended up eating in the gallery at small tables by candle and smart phone flashlight. Not what I had planned but it made for a “memorable” Christmas Eve.
Two of my best pals chef Cary Richardson and creative director Billy Cole were my first two guests, though not at the same time. So the casita, where I’ve been living, held visiting guests and the host.
The pool was sealed, circulation pumps installed, but it wasn’t holding water. So the workmen did a test using red dye to watch where the water was being pulled. I filmed a short clip and posted half-joking on Instagram
Investigators using red dye…”
I started to notice I was getting a lot of new Instagram followers, like 100 a day and I couldn’t understand why? It was that video pool post (below). For some reason it went viral and has 26,000+ likes and gained me hundreds of followers. Bizarre.
My friend, Lisa Gaffney has built several properties here over the years. Her last one, The Secret Garden, I stalked on Instagram before I really knew her well. She has since become a friend and is helping me with my garden. We shopped for bougainvillea, a few small trees and some good sized palm trees. Those got installed two weeks ago and were slightly traumatized but are bouncing back now.
AC units, ceiling fans (painted matte black) and light fixtures were installed and all of the ceiling were painted matte black.
The gallery, living room and kitchen still have the original “pasta” cement tiles but some were damaged when we removed the concrete ceilings. So, 60 new tiles were made to replace the worst of those and now they awaiting cleaning, touch ups, polishing and finally waxing.
Custom doors made for the main house were installed just yesterday (02.11.23) and once the plaster work and floors are cleaned and polished, I can move into my bedroom.
I cannot wait.
We still need to install the front gates and garage doors, complete the laundry room, garden bathroom, pergola overhangs, install the solar, built-ins for the pantry, living room, my bedroom and office and even more.
In 3 weeks I will open my exhibit Trey Speegle: 80s Polaroids in the gallery and debut the house for friends. Then it will get photographed, and I will rent it and return Upstate in April.
My next post should be the final big reveal.
Merida was 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 Mayanhistory. 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
Vogue put Merida at the top of their “8 Places to Visit in 2022” list:
“Merida, Mexico still manages to fly under the radar, despite its proximity to incredible Mayan ruins and neon-blue cenotes. Plus, it has a unique culinary scene that runs the gamut from perfectly fried street cart churros to haute takes on traditional dishes by chefs like Pedro Evia, whose restaurant Kuuk is a critical darling. Look around for some excellent lodging options, including rooms in sprawling historic haciendas and sleek little city apartments.”–Laura Motta, Senior Director of Content at Lonely Planet