Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Casas in San Miguel de Allende

Unlike American houses where "curb appeal" is a desirable attribute, Mexican houses are intentionally designed to have no curb appeal at all. It is only when you get beyond the nondescript exterior that you see the hidden treasures like the courtyard above.

There are a couple good reasons for this lack of public appeal.

Bear in mind that many Mexican towns are in hot climates.  Rather than be exposed to the heat and noise of busy streets, the most important living areas for the family are placed well away from the road.  The heart of the home, the courtyard, will be shaded by foliage and will remain consistently cooler than the street outside.  The bedrooms are at the back where little street noise penetrates, thus ensuring a good night's sleep.

Bedrooms located upstairs often have small balconies to admit the breeze on hot nights.
The other reason is that Mexicans do not advertise their wealth or status by ostentatious facades. The most ordinary door may lead to a mansion.

But no matter how humble or grand a home is, it will always have a dining area so meals can be shared with friends

and a garden because flowers are ubiquitous in Mexico. Someone joked that a popsicle stick stuck in Mexican soil would grow, and that's not far from the truth.   

The houses pictured in this article are all in San Miguel, a UNESCO World Heritage city, where the outstanding colonial architecture is one of the many charms of the town. But, similarly beautiful homes that may be lacking a bit of historical charm but are no less lovely, are located in all Mexican cities where expats congregate. To prove my point, here is the living room of the three-story home I rented in Ajijic.

Practicalities -
If you'd like to rent a place long-term in San Miguel de Allende, either in the historical center or in one of the lovely suburbs with modern houses and great views, you can consult the English language newsmagazine, Atencion. I've been told Civil List San Miguel de Allende is also helpful.

If you are considering a vacation for a few weeks or so, in San Miguel de Allende or elsewhere in Mexico, you might check Home Away or Airbnb.

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