Wood-and-lacquer closets were custom built for the twin bedrooms that overlook the pool and garden. When our architect/designer gave us a tour of a more modern house they had built in the northern Mérida neighborhood of Montalbán, I noticed closet doors with decorative perforations that combined function and whimsy without disrupting the clean lines that defined the home. It was suggested that we could do something like that, too.
Months later, after going back and forth over sketches by email, we approved three-door closets with adjoining open shelves for both guest rooms. But the sketches didn’t include a rendering of the perforations, and I left them up to Josefina, who is artistic director of the architectural firm that built Casa Nana. What would she finally decide? When we received photos, we finally saw the perforated dots: A strangely familiar geometric pattern. I immediately loved it. It seemed so unusual, yet so fitting. But why did it seem so fitting?
It took a minute but I remembered the tiles we kept from the original house, mixing them into a patchwork that we repeated throughout the house, from center hallway to rear master bedroom. And when a house is almost done, you don’t want to pull colors and patterns from thin air. You want to pull from what you already have. In the kitchen, we already matched a blue accent color from the same tile. Our door numbers are the color of the tinted accent windows. The arches out back reflect the pediments over the front door and windows. The arched ceiling over the tub repeats in the foyer of the master bedroom, and so on. So that pattern on the closet doors is not an ancient cuneiform, it’s an established motif that we’re repeating.
Combining wood and lacquer was not only economical, but the lacquer opened up color possibilities. We chose neutral tones for the bedrooms. All that green on the floor gave me pause (and maybe a small stroke) at first, although now that it’s all installed, I wouldn’t change a thing. Do I seem like a color coward for favoring all natural finishes and a gray facade? I promise you, when the artwork comes in, I’ll make my case that I’m actually color courageous.
All along, we’ve been conscious of balancing materials and textures: smooth chukúm plaster, rough raw rock, polished tile, Brazilian hardwood throughout, and wrought iron. I would like a traditional armoire for the bedroom in the original part of the house, but that will have to wait.
Our center hall lights are surely one of a kind. Josefina found three large tinted blown-glass teardrop globes and illuminated them from recessed lights. I haven’t seen them in person yet, which is frustrating. This is a bit of an experiment, we admit. How well do the globes diffuse the light? We won’t know until we see it.
When all the center hall doors are open, the teardrops are supposed to lead your eye through to the terrace, then through the garden and to the rear casita. We needed a contrasting, somewhat more stately light fixture to emphasize the terminus of the hallway (although visually, the line continues as a garden path).
So, speaking of wrought iron, we can now verify that it’s true. Expats like to tell you how they can show a picture of something to a fabricator, and for a fraction of the cost of the same item at retail, get a pretty reasonable facsimile. I’ve wanted to have one of those success stories to report, and now I do.
We sent a catalog shot from a high-end home Los Angeles-based decor center, left image at the top of this post, and Candiles & Decoración created what you see at the right. The copy is much bigger than the original, too, scaled to the width of the center hall. (That’s not my tile or door in the background. I think it was photographed at the Reyes Rios + Larrain gorgeous offices on Calle 62. Who wouldn’t kill for that floor?)
We didn’t want anything too complicated or busy, or difficult to keep pretty. I also wanted something fairly classic, since we were leaning so contemporary elsewhere. The circular wagon-wheel shape mirrors the outline of our ceiling fans and a porthole window, so we’re abiding by that little rule about repeating motifs.
It also reflects the circles I’m pacing in while I await my next trip to Yucatán in August.