San Antonio, San Miguel de Allende
Upon entering from the cobble stone street alongside the San Antonio Church into the sweet lime tree-shaded patio with its soothing cascading pink cantera stone fountain, this historical gem of artistic energy has preserved the magic time of the 1960’s and 70’s in San Miguel. The Spanish colonial style three story corner residence built upon a 200 yr old stone foundation by prolific writer and historian, Robert Somerlott, is a tribute to Mexican art and culture including the local craftsmen whose indelible mark can be seen in the intricate iron work details, boveda ceilings and cantera stone architectural embellishments. Thick plastered stone walls were solidly built around a pair of mystical antique hand-carved wooden chapel doors scavenged from a rancho outside of San Miguel, adorned with mini statuettes of Virgins and Saints mounted on a verdi gris background, the spacious living room is a collector’s paradise of objets d’art, some of which are prominently displayed in a copper-clad floor-to-ceiling wooden display case. Crowned with a hand-carved decorative ornament, this grand cabinet was one of many custom designs created by Robert’s talented artist friends from the Instituto, where he served as professor of literature. Behind this collector’s display cabinet is the half bath adorned with artisanal tile and a gilded mirror. Beyond the living room’s art history and romantic fireplace lies the dining room graced with a boveda ceiling and with an iconic view onto the mature verdant garden resplendent with magenta bugambilia climbing ocre walls observed through the large picture window adorned with exquisite curls of white iron work. An exceptional original painting by Maxwell is suspended over a custom hand-carved wooden cabinet with gilt-framed medallions springing forth from a celeste blue background. To the left of the dining room is the sunny cheerful kitchen painted in the French provincial style with ample cabinets, artisanal tile and stainless steel sink. High ceilings of 13 ft and large window panes span over generous counter tops providing inspiration for culinary creations to delight one’s palate. The present owners of Casa Christina have created a private rental haven below street level with its own private entrance. With an eye for combining textiles from Guatemala, Nepal, Laos and India, the king size bed with its intricately artisan-carved wooden headboard is draped with an Indian elephant quilt accented with Ikat silk decorative pillows. Under the over 12 ft high ceiling are hand-carved wooden bedside tables beautifully framing the luxurious bed on either side. Curtains made of Ikat fabric in shades of plum envelop the arched windows which overlook the lush garden and patio where one can enjoy their first cup of tea or java for the day. Renovation includes an expansive arch flanked by hand-carved grey cantera stone columns as well as ornamental iron work enhancing glass doors. An artisan-tiled private bathroom with shower is conveniently located next to the bedroom. While following the wandering staircase to the second floor from the lower level, one catches a glimpse of their reflection in the giant gilded mirror leaning against the wall on the first floor. Upon reaching the second floor, an open saltillo tile terrace with unobstructed Southern views above the peaceful garden, fronts the blue-themed guest bedroom where a Juliet balcony poses above the sweet lime tree below in the laja stone front patio. Under a beamed ceiling over 10 ft in height, original artwork by renown local artists, Pinto and Samuelson, lends a gallery-feel to the Baroque hand-carved secretary with gilded accents rising from a salmon-colored background. An ornate Baroque metal-clad wooden headboard glowsing with a golden patina crowns the queen size bed swathed in a midnight-blue hand-tufted quilt while the Baroque style hand-carved nightstands are nestled beside it. The artisanal-tiled ensuite bathroom with shower in shades of yellow is just a few steps away. Located next to the guest bedroom, the spacious master bedroom with its beamed ceiling over 10 ft high opens onto a comfortable sitting room with an inviting pillow-strewn daybed nesting under yet another picture window with its handsome boveda ceiling above. This romantic retreat boasts Baroque style hand-carved wooden night stands and chests of drawers along with a king size bed framed with a raised pierced headboard, hand-carved by the same neighbor who also created the headboard in the downstairs guest bedroom. Atop the custom hand-carved celeste blue night stands are hand-carved and elegantly hand-painted virgin lamps which flank the antique handwoven Indian bedspread: a patchwork of earth tones accented with antique Indian throw pillows. With plenty of closet space and an ensuite bathroom which prides itself with an artisanal-tiled bath tub, this intimate hideaway is adorned with original artwork by Pinto. Ascending the exterior staircase which leads to both the open and the teja-bedecked split-level terraces, surrounded by plant-laden walls decorated with artisanal art from the local Mercado de Artesania, one can contemplate the pink-orange slivered sunset dancing with the lavender blue hues of Los Picachos mountains undulating in the distance. With a free-standing artisanal-tiled large iron table equipped with a bar refrigerator along with colorful glass star light fixtures and an artisan’s version of a metal glass mosaic dragonfly wall lamp, one can appreciate the tranquility of being while enjoying the sweeping views from Bellas Artes all the way to the Presa. Perhaps this is the new Margaritaville! Casa Christina is conveniently located in Colonia San Antonio and is considered a “mixed” neighborhood with Mexicans and foreigners coexisting to create a caring, pleasant and secure environment. Offered turn-key, this magical San Miguel mecca is steps away from Mercado Sano, El Instituto, Artists’ Studios, Wolf’s Gym, Tennis Courts, hand-carved artisan Bakeries and Restaurants. An easy short flat walk away are The Rosewood, Parque Juarez and the heart of Centro; El Jardin, Let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this jewel in the crown of San Miguel de Allende be yours.