Thursday, January 28, 2010

Colonial Mexican Architecture Series - Another Merida, Mexico Gem


I'm afraid I'm in one of my obsessive runs lately with colonial Mexican
architecture.  Since we're (me and my sweetie) planning a trip to
Merida, Mexico to get a feel for the city and to look at properties, I've
been scouring a lot of properties online so we can narrow down properties
we want to look at.  They include properties that are totally finished and
properties that need a lot of work.  I'm showcasing some of the homes that
have really inspired my imagination and hope it will do the same for you.

This home has clear Moroccan/Andalusian influences on it with the
detailing in the arches.  The home is a fantastic blend and comes
turnkey.


I'd have to say that this courtyard is pretty fabulous.  You get a
great centralized view of the entire home and property.  The
home is developed in a "C" shape.


You may wonder why the pool is above ground.  There is a lot
of limestone and bedrock beneath the surface.  If you hit bedrock
while trying to dig a pool, you may as well make an above ground
dipping pool for all the trouble it is to jack hammer bedrock.


Here's that outdoor living space next to the courtyard.


It leads right into one of the 3 bedrooms in the house.


This is the side living area.  The glass doors are really great
so you can open them up completely for outdoor/indoor
living.


Here's a more traditional piece of furniture.  It
makes sense to have all the holes in it to breathe.


A lovely dining space.


The kitchen is gorgeous with a modern twist on the classic
Yucatan kitchen.  The Andalusian influence is very obvious.


Since the rooms are so large, this designer
but two double beds in one room.


This is one of the really unique rooms in this home.  It's a
completely Moroccan styled bathroom - right down to the
sink being smack in the middle of the floor.  I imagine in the
olden times, it was a small fountain that was used to wash.


Upstairs next to the balcony is a room that
serves as an office or an extra guest bedroom.


A nice little washing area next to it.


They either had this piece custom built or they
got really lucky in fitting it into this nook!


I love the little lanterns strung across canopy made of
branches.  The branches are perfect to provide some
shade while still letting light through and the lanterns are
perfect for ambience at night.


A view from above.

So what do you think of this home?  What do you think
of having a courtyard in a home?  I personally love the
idea of a courtyard. 


Monday, January 25, 2010

African Safari Style - Makanyane Safari Lodge


One of my dream places to go on a luxury tour is Africa.  Of course
I'm really going to have to save my pennies because these luxury
lodges are definitely not cheap running at several hundred to several
thousand dollars for one night.  But in the mean time, I can certainly
drool over these fabulous places.  One thing I adore in many of these
lodges are real fireplaces with canopies in the bedroom.
 

It's a great inspiration for any of you who would love that African safari
style.  This lodge is called Makanyane Safari Lodge and it is located in
the northern part of South Africa.  It consits of a main lodge witih 8
individual suites.


Can you imagine staying in a suite where an
elephant is literally steps away from your room? 


I don't believe I've ever seen an upscale African lodge with a
bed and sheets that do not look like the epitome of comfort.


Love the open concept bathing idea.


Better than many spas.





Even the private decks at this lodge give chances for wild life viewing.


What a way to take afternoon tea.  Count me in for sure!


Or take it from your own deck.


The main lodge.


The wall of branches are so cool.


A small infinite pool with fabulous lounge chairs. 


For lounging with a loved one or reading, this is definitely the spot.


It's so romantic at dusk.  Dusk is one of my favorite parts of the day.


How about a traditional outdoor meal.


What an awesome experience to view the wild
life of Africa from a lounge chair.


Of course you'll get a better view up close and personal on a safari.





Never imagined elephants in a field full of
yellow wild flowers.  It's almost fantastical.



And mother nature is a force - it's fearsome
and awesome at the same time.

If you've ever thought of having an African
styled safari room, hope this has provided
some great inspiration.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Scandinavian Color Inspiration - Color on a White Background


Ever since we've the Scandinavian invasion from Ikea and H&M,
many of us can't seem to get enough of it.  While pure Scandinavian
design isn't for everyone, there are many elements of it that anyone
can incorporate into their own modern designs.  One thing ths
Scandinavians do very well with is being able to use color
dramatically on a blank white canvas.

Or a black one...


Here we have white walls with pickled floor boards (great
Swedish floor treatment) with really vivid pops of yellow,
chartreuse and green.  It's just fantastic!


A closer look at those fantastic throw pillows.


Wall stencils make a really great statement - they're especially
great for people like me who can only draw stick figures...





Another example of putting color on a
blank canvas.  Very simple yet interesting.


If you don't want to deal with stencils, how about wall decals!
Love the pink bamboo rug, but love the brightly colored nook
for storage space even more.


Just place them where you want it, stick and unpeel.





Love the color of the towels.


Hope this post has given you some ideas
on how to brighten your white walls.

Photos by Thomas Dahl and from Bolig Magasinet (magazine)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Colonial Mexican Architecture Reimagined ~ Merida, Mexico (Yucatan)


First of all, I'd like to apologize as it's come to my attention that my Email
RSS feed has been coming out in a jumbled mess.  I am trying my best to
fix this.  It's been a bit tough since Google has no support for Feedburner. 
Please stick with me a bit longer.  



One of my favorite shows is House Hunters International on HGTV.  This is
because it combines two of my favorite favorite past times:  travel and
design.  In December, HGTV aired an episode in Merida, Mexico which
is on the Yucatan peninsula (opposite side of Cancun.)  I'd never heard
really heard of Merida before.  It's actually a city of about 1 million people.
However, what makes it uniqe is it's old colonial center of town and the
fact that it is only 30 minutes from the beach.  On the outside, these
homes look "poor and run down", but expats have been moving there
and taking these neglected and run down colonial homes and renovating
them.  The result is astounding.  My jaw literally dropped seeing the inside
of some of these renovated homes.  It actually has inspired my significant
other and I to plan an Easter trip to Merida to seriously consider buying
property there.  As it's our first time to Merida, of course we have to
evaulate if we like it first.

This home is a gorgous home that has been renovated. 
The plants and landscaping is also outstanding.


Because Merida has tropical weather, it's very
much so indoor and outdoor living at it's finest.
My parents are from Malaysia so I know very
well what the weather is like and the fact that
most homes are not "air tight" like our homes in
the states are.  But my parents certainly did not
have a home they grew up in like this!





The colonial homes in Merida very typically have
18-20 feet ceilings.  The expats have carried
over the concept of open living to create large
and spacious rooms that are dramatic in their
height alone.


The French and the Spanish brought over their influences
during the colonial era.  From the Spanish also came
Andalusian influences which is why many of the traditional
kitchen designs in Merida look Andalusian in nature.
Andalusia also has heavy Moorish influences in their
architecture - so it seems almost natural to incorporate
moorish elements in their design.  Isn't the bathroom
above fantastic?


Here is that kitchen I was talking about.


The kitchen follows the lines of traditional kitchens in
Merida yet incorporates modern finishes and pasta
tiles (you can see on the back splash) that are hand
made in the Yucatan.


You can see just a hint of the Moorish influence in the arch.


Because the Yucatan peninsual has tropical weather, they don't use
rugs there very much - instead they lay down these fantatsic pasta tiles
in all sorts of patterns to serve as a "rug."


The ceilings and the walls in this living area is very traditional.





Isn't the paint job fantastic?  Do you notice the high walls to the left in this
photo?  All of the colonial homes have very high walls so even though the
living space is so open, there is no concern about privacy unless you live
next to a building even higher than yours ^_^





I'm totally drooling over this long wooden table and view. 
What a place this would be to live in!

Hope you enjoyed feasting your eyes on this home as
much as I did.  I'll be showing more homes in Merida
later on.

If any of you are interested, a reputable real estate agency
in Merida is Mexico International.  Eric Partney is an agent
there who is very knowledgable (and was the real estate
agent in the House Hunters International episode.)