COTE DE TEXAS: Let’s Visit a Fabulous House in San Miguel de Allende!

Let’s Visit a Fabulous House in San Miguel de Allende!



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San Miguel de Allende at dusk
Today, we have a special treat!  The houses that were submitted for the Aidan Gray catalogue contest came from all over the United States.  Many came from Texas, but there were some from other states, as well.   And, we did get one house from outside the states - from Mexico, in San Miguel de Allende.   If you aren’t from Texas, you might not be familiar with San Miguel, which is an artsy colonial town smack in the middle of the country.   But for Texans, the town is a very popular vacation spot. 



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San Miguel de Allende is located right in the middle of Mexico, north of Mexico City.
San Miguel de Allende was once an important stop for the silver trade between Zacateas and Mexico City.  Today, it has well preserved 17th and 18th century buildings that date from that time.   There are cobblestone streets, beautiful Baroque and Neoclassical colonial architecture and hidden courtyards – all of which make San Miguel one of the prettiest towns in Mexico.
Besides tourists, San Miguel attracts both art lovers and artists alike with its many galleries and studios.  There is also plenty of shopping and sites to take it, and its year round mild temperature is another major draw. 
If you are planning to visit, there are many places to stay in San Miguel, from hotels to bed and breakfasts, and many people choose to rent individually owned houses.  Some of these houses are centuries old and some are new construction.  Most are very well designed in the Spanish style. and most are quite attractive.
The owner of this guest house in San Miguel knew it was a long shot to enter her house in the Aidan Gray contest since it was out of the country, but I am so glad she did!  I love the way she decorated it  – very casually with linens mostly from Les Indiennes. 

Let’s take a look at her house first:

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The owner sent in her house in saying she knew it wouldn’t be picked because it was in Mexico, but I still took the chance and sent it in as a finalist because I loved it so much!  To me – it could also be a  house in Austin or France, it just had a wonderful look to it.   Here is the front with a balcony that leads to the front door.    The house is made of stone and the roof is tiled. 



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The front of the house overlooks a gravel courtyard enclosed by a low stone fence that surrounds the property. 



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To the right side of the house is the kitchen and dining room – notice the stone stairs at the side.    So romantic!



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This door leads into the kitchen – the table is perfect for outdoor meals.



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The front door opens to a large living/dining room combination.  Notice the wonderful wood ceiling. 



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The owner decorated the house using Les Indiennes fabrics in the gold colorway.



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Across from the sofa are two wicker chairs with more Les Indiennes fabrics – and the quilt is also from there.



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At the opposite side of the living room is the dining area.   I love the wood floor and the wood ceiling.  Such a pretty room!



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A large painted armoire sits between the two windows.  The seats of the chairs are covered in another gold Les Indiennes fabric.   The kitchen is off to the left.




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Off from the dining/living room is the kitchen.  A half stone wall divides the two rooms.  The steel French doors lead to the gravel courtyard where there is a table and chairs set up for al fresco dining.    The floors in the kitchen are old hexagon terra cotta tiles.



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The kitchen has a wonderful lantern hanging from the beam.  I love how she built in the refrigerator.   Notice the tiny window above the refrigerator that is surrounded by stone.   Such a cute house!!!



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The countertops are wood and the backsplash is terra cotta tiles which is so Spanish looking.  Open shelves hold dishes and pots. 



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To reach the bedrooms, you walk through the living room.  Notice how the backs of the French chairs have red and cream checked fabric.  And notice the top of the arched doorway leading into the hallway.  Love the rustic wood.



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The hallway has brick shaped terra cotta flooring and a row of Spanish pierced tin lanterns. 



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The main bedroom has stucco walls with a stone wainscot.  The bed is covered in a red handblocked fabric quilt.  Love the sunburst mirror over the bed.



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Across from the bed is a window that overlooks the stone wall. 



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The brick shaped tile floor continues into the bedroom.  Love the lantern!



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Love the arched steel windows.




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The staircase that leads to another bedroom is made of the stone, stucco and terra cotta tiles.




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A lantern hangs from the white painted wood ceiling.  The staircase seems like it’s in it’s own tower.



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And upstairs is this bedroom with an iron bed and cornice from which a panel of lace hangs.  
I wish there were even more pictures of the house!  I just love it.  I think if the house was in Texas or a nearby state, it might have been a winner.  I can definitely see it filled with Aidan Gray furniture, and the owner said she loves everything in their catalogue!
The owner didn’t mention if the house was available to rent out, but many homeowners in San Miguel de Allende do rent out their houses.  


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Here’s a panoramic view of the town – the church is considered one of the prettiest in Mexico and it is also the most photographed one.   The church was built in the 17th century and the gothic façade was added in the late 19th century. 



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The complex with two smaller domes.



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The back of the church with the terrace set up for a luncheon.  Orange is the most popular color in the town and many buildings are painted this vibrant color.



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Lit up at night, the church, La Parroquia, is gorgeous, but wait until you see the inside of it!



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Notice the crystal chandeliers and the brick ceiling – and notice the tiled floors!



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Here you can see the wainscot of tiles on the walls. 


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And looking up at the ceiling.  Wow.  This church is not a cathedral, but is instead a parish church.  Lots of locals get married here.
 
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Off the main town square is the Church of San Francisco.



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Inside the Church of San Francisco -  besides the main chandeliers, notice the smaller ones on the side.   Isn’t this the prettiest church?  Gorgeous!



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A cobblestone street in San Miguel.  Just like in the French Quarter, behind the stone walls there are courtyards hidden away from the street.  Notice the pretty pair of lanterns on the left under the flag of Mexico.



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The buildings are mostly painted rich terra cotta and ochre.    The streets have the original cobblestones.



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It’s hard to tell what lies behind the doors – it could be an unrestored building or a house that is totally renovated and decorated, only a polished door can give it away.



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Shop filled with Mexican dishes and religious items.



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While many people live in town, there are houses in the country, along with large estates.



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This house is out in the country – the porch overlooks the mountains and the town in the distance.



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These are obviously well kept houses, hidden away behind the doors.  Notice the ivy overflowing from the rooftop terrace.  Many townhouses have terraces on the top floor that look out on the town.

1.

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Since there are so many artists in San Miguel, many houses are very eclectic.  And, many decorate in the colors found in the town – the oranges and golds.  While some houses are new, most renovate original buildings – like this one. 

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Another original house – renovated.

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This house is another original building.  The walls are left how they are found.



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The same house – the kitchen and dining room.  Notice the wood ceiling.




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The rooftop terrace of the same house.  Notice the enclosed garden across the street on the right.  It must be so tropical inside there!


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Hidden behind the doors are lush landscapes.  The covered terrace can be seen on the top floor.

5.

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This house is behind peach colored stucco walls.  The gate and flower pots lets you know there is a renovated property here.



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The front gate leads to a walkway with lit niches.



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Their rooftop terrace becomes the backyard.  Love how the fabric matches the peach walls. 


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There is even a small pool on the upper terrace!  Beautiful!

6.

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Casa Carino is a large, four story, 7 bedroom rental.  Built in 2002, it is an example of a newly built property.   The house has a surprise inside – a rotunda!   Double staircases lead down to the fountain and swimming pool.
 
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Beautiful architecture – columns and arches which overlook the garden.



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Close up of the balcony.   The door leads to the rotunda.



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The three story rotunda.  Incredible.  Notice the fireplace and the niches with the life size santos.

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The sun shines through the rotunda.  So pretty.



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Close up of the doors that circle the rotunda.



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The living room.  Notice the wood table with the carving of an angel!  Beautiful fireplace and more santos. 



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The dining room – notice the stone floors and steel windows.  It seems like everyone here has steel windows – wonder why? 


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The tile kitchen.  Look at the mantel over the range!!!!! Whoa!!




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The master bedroom.  Wood shutters at the windows. 


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The bath has a mural done in the same tones of the stone floors.  The towels are monogrammed with the name of the house.





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Open air terrace.



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Is the pool tiled?  Love the way the courtyard is enclosed with high stucco walls.




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The pool does look like it is tiled – isn’t it beautiful?! 




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Fountain and pool house.  Romantic Mexico.

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In another house, this is a surprise – a new, modern exterior!



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But the interior could be an old house in town!  Built around the courtyard, part of it is open and part is covered.  Beautiful stone arches.



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The covered part of the courtyard.  So pretty. 



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Inside, the décor is white – which is unusual in San Miguel, but I like it, of course!!  Sconces and Venetian mirror which is a surprising choice.  I wish the sconces had a black frame instead of gold.  They don’t really match the chandelier at all. 



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Another view of the great room.



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Tall ceilings in the kitchen. 



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Fab bed!!  Love it!!  And I love the old fashion phone.



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The bathroom with a contemporary styled window in the middle of two mirrors.  While I don’t care for contemporary, the interiors are classic enough that makes this house appeal to me.



8.

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At this next house, brick and stone stairs wind around the wall – it leads to the front door – and an upper terrace.



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Another stone staircase leads to a pergola covered terrace.



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Two sets of doors and stone steps lead to the house. 



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The pergola covered terrace is set for an outdoor meal.   Huge antiqued mirror is set inside stone.



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The entry with a mosaic floor and religious styled painting. 



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The living room with a stone mantel.



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And looking the other way towards the dining area.



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A banquette and Mexican chairs.  Notice the dark terra cotta floors.



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The formal dining room with another fireplace leads to the pergola terrace.  Isn’t this a pretty room?



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Looking at the other direction. 



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Looking from the pergola terrace into the dining room.




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The kitchen with Mexican styled cabinets. 



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The bathroom with a stone sink.   Notice the cabinet door below it!



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The bedroom has Mexican country painted furniture.

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This house, Casa Ambrose, is for sale OR rent!  Take  your pick.  It’s new construction, located a short walk to the Jardin, or town square.  It’s built on a corner and the courtyard  follows the shape of the house.



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Stone floors, dark beamed ceiling and iron staircase that wraps around the front door.



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The entry leads to the left side of the house – the living room.



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Beautiful stone fireplace. 



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The living room overlooks the front of the house on the street and the back –the courtyard.



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Such a beautiful mantel!




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The kitchen leads out to the courtyard.


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The kitchen has green painted cabinets and tiled floors and backsplash.



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Incredible headboard!

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Blue and white tiled bathroom.



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Master suite with brick ceiling.



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The V-shaped courtyard.  Just beautiful!!



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The walls of the house are painted typical San Miguel colors.




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So romantic!!!



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The Koi pool sits in the middle of the courtyard.



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The second level of the house – of course there is a rooftop terrace to overlook the town!



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At dusk.



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And, there’s an outdoor kitchen.



10.

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Remember the movie The Holiday -  where Kate Winslet traded  her cute Cotswold cottage for a California mansion?  You can do the same with this house – it’s a  home swap!!!  Isn’t it pretty?!!!!



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Their beautiful courtyard with a tiled pool.  I suppose all the pools are tiled in San Miguel?   Love it!!!   To contact the owners about a swap, go HERE. 



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If you don’t want to rent a house, there are many other places to stay in San Miguel.  Some boutique hotels are housed in older buildings like this, with beautiful, lush courtyards.  Others are in newer ones.

11. 

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Casa Schuck is a bed and breakfast hotel that’s been open for more than 30 years.



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Casa Schuck is centered around a beautiful courtyard, of course!


12.
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Casa de Sierra Nevada is a boutique hotel, part of the Orient Express group.


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Balcony at the Casa de Sierra Nevada that overlooks the town.


13.

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L’Otel San Miquel de Allende is rated tops by Conde Nast.
 
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It’s not decorated in a typical San Miguel style – as seen here.




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The living room of the hotel.



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I think the dining room is my favorite – look at that wall of crystal glasses – amazing!



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All the suites are different.



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Love this bed and headboard!



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Lime greens and linen in this suite.



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Rooftop terrace off one of the suites.

14.

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The Rosewood Hotel is one of the highest rated hotels in the town.   Besides renting rooms, you can also buy a house on the property.



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The Rosewood bar.



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Rooftop terrace overlooking the town.



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Beautiful rooms, of course.



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Private terrace off of a guest suite at the Rosewood Hotel.



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Besides the Rosewood Hotel, there are also residences available to purchase.  Here, the living room sits right off the courtyard.



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The dining room – love the beamed ceilings.



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Beautiful and luxe kitchen.  Great island.



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And the master bedroom with a fireplace, right off the courtyard.


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Even the bathroom is located off the courtyard with its San Miguel painted walls.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at San Miguel de Allende.  There were so many rentals, but most had teeny-tiny pictures, too small for me to show here.  If you are interested in renting a house, just google rentals, San Miguel de Allende, and your internet will explode with options. 

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Also a huge thank you to the homeowner for sharing her house in San Miguel with us!  To tell you the truth, it’s my favorite of all those I showed today!  I just love her style so much, I could move right in and just bring a toothbrush, as my mother says!!


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FINALLY,

A little obnoxious self promotion:   the good people at Restyle Source did a profile on moi, with a short interview and a few pictures (that you all have seen a million times.)    Their site is great, so even if you don’t want to read about me (not that I blame you one bit!) click on it for design inspiration.   To read the story, go HERE.   And a  huge thank you to Restyle Source!!!  



44 comments :

  1. So shall we start over ????

    AnonymousFebruary 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    The outside of the reader's house is charming, but definitely under decorated on the inside. Perhaps it is a second home so the decor is not as important. It appears that many pieces of furniture might have been taken there from a primary residence so style was not important. The built in fridge which you liked so much made me laugh out loud. Shoving a free standing fridge into a cabinet does not a built in make. It would have been nice to see more of the neighborhood where this house is located not a travelogue of the truly beautiful places in the area.

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    1. @Anonymous February 27, 2013 at 7:19 PM - Thank God you had the strength and perseverance to find the previous post and copy/paste your profound comment here for anyone who missed it the first time. I don't know what we would have done without it.

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    2. LOL, I think Anonymous is correct on some points (esp. my attempt to camouflage the ugly fridge), although the delivery was a tad harsh. I think he/she forgot that these photos were submitted to win a chance at some lovely Aidan Gray furnishings--not a show off opportunity. I made no pretenses at being a decorator or designer. As Joni said, it was a long shot. But I appreciate how generous she was with my humble cottage, and she profiled our beautiful little town so well that I hope it inspires more people to come visit.

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    3. Dear katcar,
      Love the gracious way you just b**chslapped our little thorn-in-the-side Anonymous. Ha! Very classy, more than he deserves, but ceertainly well said.
      Sheila

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    4. Sheila, you hardly know a bitchslap when you see or hear one. It appears that disagreeing with you constitutes a thorn in the side. How pathetic. As to Anon's post about the fridge, I agree it is entirely laughable and obvious that the homeowner either doesn't know what built in means or may not care. The fridge would have look better left out of it's box. Unfortunately, Aidan Gray is not in the kitchen design business otherwise this entry may have just won the prize. No go get some large tweezers and get that thorn out of your side.

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    5. Frankly, I think Katcar's home is absolutely lovely the way it is. Not sure any Aiden Gray furnishings would add much to it. As for the "built-in" fridge...come on. That was a very cute solution in a small, modest kitchen. The only reason I can see to spend that kind of money is if you need the floor space or want to pretend that you don't have a fridge. (That's my hubby's idea.) Clearly Katcar's fridge door doesn't stick out too much into the kitchen so, there is really no need for a true built-in. From her other furnishing and exterior space, Katcar is certainly sophisticated enough to know the difference.

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    6. Much ado about .... a refrigerator! hahaha. Charlotte hit the nail on the head. I got sticker shock looking at the built-ins, esp. in Mexico where appliances are so much more expensive anyway (import fees, duty taxes, etc. added on). This was a workable solution for a modest budget, and I indeed did not need the floor space.

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    7. Charlotte if you like a standard fridge popped into a white box positioned next to your kitchen cabinets with a desire to call it a "built in", go for it. It's not built in. It looks ridiculous seeing a simple free standing fridge shoved into a cut out box. What did this accomplish? This isn't about pretending not to have a fridge as it is one of the most important elements in a kitchen next to the stove and sink. It is silly. The kitchen would look better without it. The entire house looks like it has been staged for a rental program so it's not likely that the owners really care that much about how the fridge looks and it is not likely that this is their primary residence from the looks of the decor.

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    8. Our last three homes have had 48" built-in fridges because we have 5 children. We needed lots of refrigerator space and a built in was the only way to go unless you just put an extra fridge in the garage. Built-ins are outrageously expensive here in the US. I can only imagine what they cost in a country like Mexico. Now that we are getting ready to down-size, I will be perfectly happy with a 36" counter depth, French door fridge. Might even buy one that takes decorator panels and just for fun, put it in a "box". OMG!

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    9. Just to correct a piece of incorrect information you posted about built in refrigerators Charlotte, they are no more expensive than free standing ones. Yes, the expense of creating decorative door panels that match your kitchen cabinets and the cabinet space to position it into is the only extra expense. I have a Sub Zero built in and for the same money, I could have bought a free standing Viking. Let's keep the information correct at least.

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  2. Oh Wow !! I've never been to Mexico, but this blog post makes me want to go !! I am like Charlotte from Sex in the City tooooo afraid of the water Ha !
    Thanks so much you MADE my day with these beautiful images- I will now re-read and re-enjoy ! Thanks Joni !

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  3. Nice reminder that Spain used to own most of North America. Love all the Spanish European influence there just like the French influence throughout Louisiana and those surrounding areas. I love that you included a map. We Americans need some history lessons also. Some believe America started on Plymouth rock! Oh how wrong that is!

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  4. All the images of this blog is really very true.The town has a year-round population of artists, artisans, jewelry makers and craftspeople whose shops and galleries are unique in our time.
    Architecture design

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  5. Its so beautiful...Just by seeing it giving lot of happiness..really guys its superb
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  6. Wish I'd known you were going to profile the house--I've recovered the living room chairs since then and put angel wings in the nicho and a few other things! But thanks for the kind remarks. Kathleen

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  7. Large coffee in hand as I take my tour, beautiful in every way. thank you again for the in depth post. One of the places on my bucket list. jeanne

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  8. OMG, Joni you have totally outdone yourself this time. I know when I see your emails to get a really big cup of coffee and get comfy, but this time I need two cups and saved it to go back to. This is sensory overload! Those kitchen cabinets, the details etc. I'm just curious how long does it take you to make a single post??? Thanks for all your hard work!

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  9. Joni, great post ... so much detail. It is all so beautiful. What I love is that the craftsmanship is preserved and honoured rather than torn down to create something new. Gorgeous.

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  10. Thanks for publishing the reader's house which was nice; I love the exterior architecture, steel windows and doors, and the lovely courtyard. The travelogue of of San Miguel de Allende was terrific and I've had the area on my bucket list for years -- your overview was so much better than what I've seen on websites! -- and it's really encouraged me to pursue this trip. Bravo for going above and beyond!

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  11. Just another little note of interest--many of the pieces in L'Hotel are from Casa Midy, which is a fabulous furniture company that I believe you've mentioned before on your blog. They manufacture a lot of their pieces in San Miguel. The owners still have a showroom and own a beautiful old colonial house in El Centro ; however, they have since moved back to Belgium, where they opened up a new showroom. Kathleen

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  12. The first house was just lovely. I love the small, quaint kitchen, and the outdoor areas look so inviting. I could be very happy there. Didn't know much about this city, but I now think I want to go there! Beautiful and, boy, do they know how to do rooftop terraces there. All the houses/hotels are stunning. Thanks for the education!

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  13. I live pretty close to the border and have never seen that part of Mexico. Thank you very much for sharing!

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  14. Check me into #13 please. I wonder how much it costs per night? Love it!



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  15. Wow. I love your reader's (Kathleen's?) house. It's simply wonderful and the perfect size. Is it new? If it is, I love the traditional building style and architectural elements like the stone, wood ceilings, wood and tile floors, the arched windows, and the ironwork. Loved the simple decor. The exterior, the gorgeous courtyard with its stone walls and steps, and the beautiful setting (those trees! the bougainvillea!) are fantastic. What a beautiful, romantic place. Love, love, love. Thanks for the tour of San Miguel. I had no idea. It does look so much like Spain. I have never wanted to go to Mexico, but this may change my mind.

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  16. Hi Joni, Being raised in Cuernavaca (when it was very small) and having visited San Miguel several times, this great, amazing post takes me home.
    Thank you so much!
    Mary

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  17. I love seeing all of the homes that kept their original walls and were preserved as much as they could be. What a beautiful church as well! Thanks for sharing.

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  18. I live in San Miguel...and it is paradise! No humidity, beautiful climate year-round, and a delightful population of ex-pats from US, Canada, Europe etc. Check out www.mexicanhideaways.com for our French-style house in the country and the restored Hacienda of friends of ours. And please...don't be afraid to come to Mexico! Joni, you did San Miguel proud with this post!

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    1. Your home and acreage are magnificent. This would be a house that Joni should feature here. Why are you selling this beautiful property?

      I am going back to take another look at your lovely home especially the inviting kitchen.

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    2. I come from a family of architects and always wanted to be one (alas it was not to be!). Since living in San Miguel though, my husband and I have built several homes to sell, but AT LAST---I got to design and build a house I got to live in! What a joy! The building process here is so satisfying, as anything you can imagine these marvelous craftsmen can do. We have lived out in the country now for 10 years and are ready to move back into town. We bought a home that needs a bit of renovating and updating and are looking forward to the challenge of making it our own. After traveling to many places in the world, we have never found a more delightful, satisfying warm and friendly place to live. You live on such a human level in San Miguel. You don't really need a car if you live in town; you buy your fruit and vegetables from our little version of "WholeFoods"; our free range chickens and local cheeses are raised and made the healthy, old-fashioned way; there is amazing live theatre, concerts, chamber music and jazz festivals; hundreds of fine galleries...I could go on and on. I digress!!! We are moving back into town so that we can enjoy all the above-mentioned delights of San Miguel. Plus we'll be about half a block from my granddaughter! San Miguel---try it---you'll like it!!!

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    3. Sounds like a splendid life. All the best to you in your new venture. Hope we get to see your new house.

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  19. Joni, This makes me want to start packing for a trip to San Miguel. The homes are gorgeous and I adore the roof top terraces. My family vacationed quite a bit in Mexico when I was growing up. Those trips are what inspired my love of tile roofs and floors, rustic beams, plaster and stone walls. Great post!
    xx, Sherry

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  20. These pictures are astonishing! I've never seen that side of Mexico before so I really appreciate you showing me this.

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  21. Oh my! I love this post! Talk about eye candy.

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  22. love the peek of San Miguel + you always have such wonderful post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  23. Thank you so much for this rich, rich post. It is better than any travel magazine, and I understand why you like the contestant's house so much. We are used to seeing highly stylized houses, but this is so authentic. The fabrics, wood floors and terra cotta tiles are gorgeous. My favorite part of the house, besides the curves at the top of almost every window, is the stone wall behind the bed. Thank you, too, to the reader who was willing to share her home with us.

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  24. GRC.Ltd.Design@gmail.comFebruary 28, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Joni, what a wonderful post! Another place for my bucket list....
    Thanks for all your hard work and gracious sharing.

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  25. Oh my the house, the town its amazing, I have never been to Mexico but now definitely it's on my bucket list. The first house is absolutely delightful, it has such a warm feeling about it. I love the exposed brickwork in the bedroom, it's not overdone, just right. The combination of wood and brick and tiles is perfect and the eclectic mix of furniture in the living room works wonderfully. I love how she has combined textures such as the rattan chairs and glass table. Oh, and the rustic piece of wood set into the architrave of the doorless entrance to the kitchen area is so unusual as it appears to be a small tree branch.

    The only thing that puzzles me about this lovely home is the oven in the kitchen, I can see the top (hob) part but looks like there is nothing underneath. I am big on cooking so would have to have a decent size oven. That aside I could move in today.

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post, so much work has gone into sourcing these wonderful images of homes and of San Miguel as usual, a place I would probably never have heard of before, and now one I want to most definitely visit.

    Lee :)

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  26. Great post dear Joni! I have longed to visit there someday!

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  27. I think this has been my favourite Aidan Gray house so far. My favourite house styles are French provincial and Spanish revival, the ones you see in Los Angeles and this seems to be a combination of both. I disagree with one of your anonymous commenters. I like the fact that it is at times under furnished, I think that's what I like about it - it is a real house where someone lives and where I would give my right arm to live.

    I have never heard of this town but am fascinated. I've always had a thing about Mexico but have never been there.

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  28. LOVED this post, Joanie. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put in to all your posts. I've always wanted to go to San Miguel. I know there is a large
    American "contingent" who live there year-round. My favorite house is your readers. Love the fabrics she's used, especially. As the the "controversy" over the
    "built in" refrigerator, I love that! My very first thought was how cute and clever to house it like that. Adds to the charm for me.
    Now I'm off to find a house to rent there! Ha!

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  30. I want to congratulate you & thank you for an excellent work. #FromMexicoToYourHeart!!

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