Here’s evidence of more green coming in! I’m not there in person, but the photos being sent to me make me green with envy for anyone who can be there. If you’re in Mérida right now, let me commend you on your life choices. Congratulations are in order. Also, I hate you just a little bit right now. We can be friends in April, but right now it’s March and we still have snow and ice on the ground. By now, we should have baby crocuses, the first signs of spring, but this has been a brutal winter. So the architect tortures me with these photos every week.
I’m still not “over” my fascination with courtyards and terraces in a tropical setting. Up here in Connecticut, you’re either inside or out. And if you’re going out, close the door so there’s not a draft! If it’s summer and you’re heading to the deck, close the sliders behind you because we’re not paying to air-condition the whole yard!
In Mérida, we have air conditioners installed everywhere. We promise not to turn them on. They’re just for guests. We want to live that indoors-outdoors thing. If it rains, we’re just going to get a little bit wet. Fine. We say that now, anyway.
Gardeners are busy. We have replaced the Flor de Mayo tree in our courtyard, the one where the lady of the house used to sleep, with something fuller and more sculptural.
Here’s our new Flor de Mayo. It is surrounded by the beginnings of a verdant ground cover, a revision of earlier plans to use red gravel. The kitchen and a bodega, which would have been a good wine cellar if we hadn’t required space for a water heater and a water-pressure thingy. The bodega, which is under a staircase, looks pretty ample, even if it’s supposed to take the place of a full basement, which I’ve never seen in Yucatán.
That’s the dry side of the courtyard. The other side is taken up completely with a pond of floating lily pads and some stalky water plants. A bathroom and our media room will overlook it from either side. We saw it at night, with its dreamy lighting design, before the plants arrived. Soon we’ll be able to visit and see how it looks with the plantings, including vines growing up the side. It will have that moody, serene and romantic feeling we were looking for. Chukúm finishes with limestone walls and paths, stained wood that is both new and antique, and bamboo fencing. And guppies!
The casita at the rear of the property is all new construction, and comprises the master suite. The architects wisely didn’t shove the rooms against the rear wall; they created a niche off the bedroom, and one off the bath. That’s like having two mini-courtyards in addition to the one in the center of the main house.
The one off the bedroom has a small, square pond fed by a caño — an old-stone irrigation channel piece — and criss-crossed wires have been installed to tempt vines up the wall to make a “green cube.” A rock garden, making use of the existing rocky turf, will be a pleasing sight through the bubbles rising from a sunken tub inside. Off the bath is the smallest of the courtyard spaces, with a gravel surface and room for potted plants, and a line to dry towels. A bathroom so exposed to the outdoors is a little strange for a New England Yankee, but I asked for indoor-outdoor living, and I got it.
The roof patio over the casita has an herb garden now, which will be enjoyed by the tenants, unless birds and iguanas get to them first.
The herbs, that is. If the birds and iguanas get to the herbs first, not the tenants. I’m sure the birds and iguanas will be peaceful companions to the humans staying in the house this spring and summer.