Here is a still from Henry Ponce’s Casa 59, an elaborate corner property in La Mejorada. I love its masculine colors and its aura of brooding romance. But it’s a teeny bit out of my price range. But who says I can’t take notes.
To the left is the central courtyard, the smallest of the property’s outdoor spaces. My property isn’t going to be nearly as large, but I think the idea of a courtyard surrounded on three sides by rooms is worth holding on to.
But what about security? If a window is on the street, we put up bars and locks. It seems to me exposing a room to an inner courtyard is still exposing a room to prowlers. If the room in the foreground were the only exposed room, that would be fine. It would be my sacrificial room — more of a porch. But the next one out also appears to be completely open. At which point do you start to install barriers?
A number of houses we toured had this situation. When I would bring it up to the real estate agent, he or she would go silent or change the subject. Were they embarrassed for me that in my wild paranoia I would consider something so far-fetched, even insulting? Or were they just pausing so I could resume suspending my disbelief?
I want to live in a fantasy house, but not in a fantasy world. I know there must be one or two burglar-types in this overall safe city, and they know expats might be absent for extended periods.
The opposing goals are to open the house to the air and light, and to close the house from unwanted guests.
Here’s my other question. Up here, we made fun of people in small houses who put plaster lions at the end of their driveway. So pretentious! With that in mind, let me ask: How big a house do I need to pull off arches and columns?