Located in the Mexican town of Chapala in the state of Jalisco, an early 20th century home has been rehabilitated and expanded to retain its original cultural beauty while transforming it into a contemporary house to rival its peers. Mikkael Kreis Architects has undertaken the task of renovating a magnificent colonial style home to retain the best of both worlds.
Built in 1920 for one of the most affluent families in the area, the structure has a rich history and a beautiful design. The restoration work began in 1997 and was completed in 2000, succeeding in repairing the best features of the house as well as keeping many of the original trees and plants which endows the property with its superior character.
Join us as we take a look around this villa with a hint of nostalgia for an era gone by.
From the road we meet the Casa de Descanso, standing tall in the streets of Chapala. From this vantage point the house has a design distinctly reminiscent of the colonial style in the area, now long forgotten. The large wooden doors and wooden-framed windows provides an air of elegance to the whitewashed exterior of the home. Steel elements are found in the balcony balustrades and window bars. The flat, tiled roof is characteristic of the architecture in this area. The symmetry of the the façade lends a superior personality to the structure which makes it easy to see that the house was originally built by a very wealthy family.
Hidden behind some of the ancient fruit trees and other courtyard plants, we find a side entrance to the house. It is a beautiful wooden-framed door with glass panel inlays. The door is found in a little alcove, creating an outdoor lobby and making the space more intimate.
The rich use of plants in this courtyard area complements the white structure very well and blends in very well with the wooden elements of the doors, windows and roof beams. The stone-paved courtyard contributes to the nostalgic old-worldly feeling of the houses exterior.
Moving to the right from the previous entrance, there is a rustic stairway leading up to an alternative entrance on the first floor. This blue-painted staircase may be much the same as it was several decades ago, painted in the rich colour prominent to colonial architecture.
The potted plants on the side of the staircase and leading up all the way to the door suits the rest of the vegetation in the courtyard, and provides a pleasant colour variance to the blue painted stairs. These plants also creates a pleasing visual rhythm which supplements the already constant rhythm brought to life by the stair treads. The overall image, with the warm wooden door, is very inviting.
Getting to the inside of the house through one of the many classic entryways, we find the living room. Looking out on a wide open back porch, the room is certainly designed to encourage indoor-outdoor living and to create a larger entertainment area. Here we can see the brilliant amount of light let into the room by the open space.
All of the furniture in this regal house was designed specifically for these spaces. The lovely, wooden furniture we see here in the living room fits perfectly with the tiled floor, wooden roof beams, and colour scheme. The ornamentation on the chairs adds elegance to the room without making it feel much too rigid.
When we get to the dining room, we find a sturdy dining room set, with a large, bulky table made out of wood and accompanied by chairs in the same style. The warm brown hue of the wood is perfectly complimentary to the blue tile inlays of the floor. Although this furniture may seem simple at first sight, it is ideal for the space it is found in and reminiscent of the early century Mexican style.
The vivid paintings found in this room was painted by the owners of the house herself, and lend a very personal and intimate touch to the room.
Not many modern houses make use of an atrium as a space that has more purpose than just to be a transition area. This is one of the ways in which the character of this 1920s house is kept alive and can positively contribute to the new design's charm.
This atrium is filled with light and makes it the ideal space to read the morning paper or take some time out to meditate. It is tiled in the same style as the rest of the house, ensuring continuity. The light blue hue of the back wall creates a relaxing atmosphere, and the multitude of plants certainly contribute to this tranquil theme.
Finally we come outside at the rear of the house. Here we find a quite and secluded patio area with some space for entertainment. The wide, flat steps leading up to the porch creates a pleasing rhythm, while the short stone wall sectioning off the garden bed blends well with the house's original character. The garden itself is rich with different tones of green, and wide variety of different plants. The creeper on the blue wall is especially eye-catching and romantic.
In the entertainment area itself we can see more artwork in the theme of the rest of the house's decoration, and an inviting clay fire place to brighten up any party. This house seems to be as lively as it is tranquil!
For another colonial conversion check out: Contemporary Colonial Triumph.