(Source: John Houschmand)



Contemporary or Traditional,
it all ROCKS!

Every house has amazing flowers or plants bounding out of its windows, off its roofs or planted in zillions of pots.

I'm always looking at surfaces. 
Lots of tile with stones in mosaics.

Tiled walls are everywhere as it's considered an art form. The "Talavera" tiles above are crisp and add an extra layer of charm to any garden wall or indoor space.

These burnished oxblood red flourishes are all painted in the 'naive manner' by artisans to embellish modest buildings. 


In San Miguel the lines are blurred between the inside and outside spaces, every house has a courtyard, large opening windows and doors and the lifestyle is casual and not fussy.

This is true Mexican - simple pops of color balanced with warm tones.

This home has a typical entrance courtyard which is where visitors enter as well as being the owners private area off the street, serving as their private garden.

Mexican homes are always stucco with dark timber trim. Notice the pointed arches with leaded glass which are influenced from the Moorish invasion of Spain in 711, which was in turn brought to Mexico with the Spanish Conquest in 1519.

This is a newer renovation in the Centro Historico. 
The materials, colors and textures are all taken from antiquity. The houses are on very small lots so everything is minimized - creating cozy, human-scale houses.

The Gringo's are in town... An American interpretation of Mexican style...NOT!  All of the items are just too Mexican to be true Mexican...jus sayin'.

Now dis is da REAL Mexican, baby!
An eclectic melange of mismatched bits which create a charming loggia in this 16th century home. Color, texture, architecture and "real life objects" make this perfect.

This cozy loggia has the color provided by the oriental carpets and the warm yellow walls. The super-dry climate at 6000 feet eliminates the danger of damp-rotting carpets and textiles.

The cafe doors opening to the kitchen are smart as it allows the people to talk and not see the kitchen clutter. The window above the cafe doors is called a 'therm' (Greek) and it lets the hot air out.


This large home is typical of a home on the outskirts of San Miguel where there's more space to build out.  Notice nothing is 'slick' as it would look as horrible - as 'adobe' would in a New York or London apartment.  The custom furniture is by its owner John Houshmand who's natural pieces are enhanced by the simplicity of the space.

I know, right? Totally flawless...
It's odd as I'd thought Mexico had a more ornate aesthetic, and it's been surprising to realize it's the absolute opposite, clean, well-edited with a sophisticated usage of color.

With the temperate climate there's no need for super-insulated glass or impact-resistant building materials, this allows designers more design freedom. Here, the huge walls of glass open outward. The cement floor and timber ceiling feel natural and allow the beauty of the mountains as the focal point, not the structure.

A narrow Centro Historico townhouse. Warm, natural tones mixed with the bold blue wall create a contemporary feel within the adobe style building. It's enhanced by a mixture of traditional Mexican craft-style furniture and modern artisanal pieces.

This house was so rad; when you walked through the front door from the strong clear Mexican sunlight your eyes kinda go "wow." (the colors in these photos are true too) The vivid turquoise is beautiful as a foyer color - maybe too much for a room you'd be in a lot though...

Walls of windows, a huge stone fireplace and all the natural materials you can conjure come together to create a handsome, well-edited, updated-traditional feeling. Notice the outdoor living room/loggia - that's where everyone lives - outside.

"Good Mexican Decor 101"
Arches, groin-vaulted ceilings, tile or old wooden floors and lots of white stucco! .... And how freekin' good it looks, too!

Hotel Matilda, a hip, modern place to see and be seen is quite a departure for San Miguel. What makes it work is the owners skill at bringing in and constantly rotating important or emerging artists work which draws the artsy crowd from Mexico City who enjoy its sleek, modern look within the ancient San Miguel city.

Ancient, rustic, antique and modern in one space...
That's San Miguel Style!

The current trend for 20th century stuff isn't popular in Mexico like it is in the states, but it has it's own trend "Distressed-Euro-chic!"  
I think it's more creative and less ubiquitous.

Mexico - as a historically poor country (now the #1 growing economy in world) the people have had to make due with whatever they could find to get by. Ordinary people crafted things from left-over bits of this or that - Now, this has come full-circle to influence their flourishing art scene. Notice these magnificent doors fabricated into a gorgeous patchwork from scraps of discarded metals.

This conservatory has polished cantera stone floors and reclaimed timber columns with white stucco walls. The slip-covered antique upholstery and rough wooden bench blends the ancient with the contemporary to create a timeless, fresh room.

Those awesome doors are all you need to make an impressive foyer,  any more decoration would be superfluous! Let the good stuff shine alone, don't "present it" and don't hide it.

The humble brick floor and stucco walls are part of this subliminally chic room. If the floors were schmancy-ass stone or tile the walls would make it too-too formal. I love the chunky-timber table top with the humble Mexican ladder-back chairs.

This is sooo awesome - my favorite look!
The indigenous architecture has been ramped-up with a more modern window plan; the rough walls, flooring and furnishings all somehow create a sensually attractive environment.


The Mexicans LOVE to tile everything. Personally, I don't like tile countertops as I think the grout holds dirt and germs. But hey, I'm a germaphobe...
But you can see the way it can create a really fun and colorful space. This 'happy to look at' modern yellow tile island is good for everything, working, eating, homework, etc.

My very favorite kitchen in San Miguel!
I love eat-in kitchens, and this was so cozy and well proportioned too. The entire range and counter are made of polished black cement and the black and white tiles above it are Talavera. The bright pink walls were alive with natural daylight streaming in through the skylights. 

It's kinda like 'Barbie goes all Mexicali' on us - but I do love it. 
A happy, casual place to start your day.


Orange is a great color for Mexico as it just 'feels right' there.
The use of naturals with the orange makes this simple room feel sophisticated and modern. It plays with the wooden headboard and terracotta tiles.

This room is an envelope of natural colored stucco and tile floors. This simplistic direction is so edited it becomes monastic almost - but in a chic, minimalist way.

The hacienda drops a Casbah bomb on us!
I freekin' love this! It's sexy, stylish and architecturally interesting.
Why not have some fun - it's only paint, right?

This is the ultimate 'undecorated' look, which I totally groove on! 
A well-traveled look with a mixture of periods and styles all incorporated into a handsome, cheerful room. 

A lady's room perhaps or maybe a guest room, but nonetheless a pretty room. The dark Portuguese-style poster-bed with the polished floors and white walls make this a very restful room. The blue and white ceramics give it a soft punch - kinda like a love tap...

This smacks of 'dinero nuevo
I have one question: Where TF do you put all those pillows when you want to go to bed??? Who does that???
But, the floors, ceiling and walls rock - but that's all...

This headboard is hammered and pierced tin-ware which is a regional art. I love the mixture of mismatched pieces and the antique Suzani bedspread. 

Casamidi Furniture is based in San Miguel and they have an amazing wholesale showroom.  Here are two of their designs; the leather panel headboard and the suspended lanterns. Rustic-Chic!

This 'Portuguese style' headboard is very common in Mexico and Spain. They look 'substantial' and masculine and very old world.

When I walked into this bedroom I immediately said to the realtor "These are Americans aren't they?" He laughed and said as a matter of fact, yes they are.  I just knew it - they have every cliche piece of Mexicana in ONE room.  It's actually a cute room, very happy and colorful, but a bit too Gringo-Mexicano.


This beautiful tub-surround is crafted from one type of handmade tile while the deck and tub interior are two other types - creating a very Moorish feeling.

This super cool bathroom has everything in stucco or tile, even the sink-base is stucco. I like the crude texture of the stucco, it feels antique and modern at the same time. The super-sized tin sconces are fun, they add a feminine charm to the space.

GTFO! How awesome is that bathroom???
All crafted from cement - floor, walls & tub! The timber sink-deck and old stone basin make the space feel more earthy - less industrial.

    You can do it, I'm here to help!