In our continuing series featuring the unique homes and neighborhoods of Mérida, Yucatán, we are proud to present Barrio de Santa Lucia / Santa Lucia neighborhood. Our host is Keith Heitke, a senior sales agent for Mexico International Real Estate.
Each video episode on our website features a different residential neighborhood of this interesting and beautiful city, focusing on a home which exemplifies the best of that neighborhood. While we’ll give you lots of great footage and design ideas, we hope it only whets your appetite to see more, and of course nothing beats experiencing these amazing homes in person. Yucatan Today operates a series of House & Garden tours every Wednesday from November through March as a fundraising project for three different non-profit organizations.
If you would like to savor the details about the neighborhood of Santa Lucia, and the house itself, scroll down for a written summary. And if you would like to post a comment, you can do so at the end of the article.
Beautiful Parque Santa Lucia is located at the corner of Calle 55 and the main drag out of the Plaza Principal which is Calle 60, just three blocks north of the main square and completely contained within Merida’s Centro Historico. The church of the same name is relatively small as it is one of three churches, including the main cathedral, in a 4 block row. Of course there is the obligatory park in front of the church, here directly across the busy street. Sundays bring out a bustling group of vendors with handmade local goods and even a small antiques selection which only makes its appearance on Sunday. Completing the tranquil pedestrian scene is the fact that on Sunday the city closes busy Calle 60 to vehicles, allowing residents to take over on bicycles for several miles to the north.
Like all bustling city squares, there are a variety of diversions and shaded benches and folks of all ages, and being located so near the tourist zone, people visiting from everywhere on Earth.
This is the closest “barrio” or neighborhood to Merida’s main square, and one of the oldest. There is a high concentration of hotels, “hotelitos” or little hotels, and bed/breakfasts right near Santa Lucia.
It’s Santa Lucia where we find ourselves for this episode, let’s take a look inside a great home just a couple of blocks to the west of this busy square.
This old home was in horrible disrepair, as so many were and some still are. In my business as a real estate agent I showed this particular house many times. No one “got it” as it was so run-down and actually almost sickening in its faded state. There were small cramped doctors’ offices, ugly bathrooms, and literally junk piled in the corners… no wonder no one wanted it. The folks who did end up buying it were no strangers to taking a place with great bones and making it into a showplace, so they took the plunge, hired famous local architect Alvaro Ponce, and set to work on creating their Merida home.
During its century-and-a-half of life, the house had gone from its duty of being home to a prominent Merida family, to being divided into offices, bathrooms being added, then further subdivided into a warren of rooms.
Because of the state of neglect, none of the probably stunning original floors were salvageable. This is rather sad, but it did give the new owner the opportunity of placing a beautiful local marble throughout the main floor, unifying the whole house and providing a neutral backdrop to their stunning collection of art of all kinds from Haiti… sculptures, hangings, and paintings of all sizes and descriptions now grace the home. Color was kept to a minimum and neutralized in order to let the crazy-colorful art shine.
Twenty-foot tall ceilings extend from the front of the house all the way to the back, adding to the sense of space and drama. A calming swimming pool with splashing fountain dominates the center courtyard, visible to the master suite and all the rooms around the colonnade.
The new kitchen and dining room is wide open, both to the dramatic tall hallway and to the patio just outside. Modern appliances and lots of counter space confirm it as a kitchen of today, not the tiny dark room it might have been decades ago.
One of the requirements of the owner is a huge Barbecue grill which has enough surface to roast a small goat!
The master suite, located at the center of the house features a dramatic double room, and views to the swimming pool. One of the architect’s specialties is his bathrooms, and the master is a stunner… it blurs the line from inside and outside, is the height of luxury, and has its own small tropical garden complete with totally private outdoor shower.
The owners tried as much as possible to “go green.” Being involved in civic groups to promote green living, they themselves use compact fluorescent bulbs throughout the house, ceiling fans instead of air conditioning whenever possible, composting on the premises, and solar energy for hot water and pool heating. They are even drawing up plans for a “green roof” which will involve reinforcing the ceilings to support a variety of plants which will in turn keep the house as cool as it is beautiful.
Click here to see more of Keith’s house tour videos.
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