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Casa Maca contrasts Yucatán chukum and Mexican pink

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Cement detailing mirrors original art deco details at Casa Maca in Yucatán, Mexico. Photo: Contributed

Newly renovated Casa Maca is best described as modern yet pure. 

This historic former residence from the Porfiriato era is in Mérida, a few steps from one of the city’s most iconic boulevards, the Paseo de Montejo.

The architects were fortunate to find the property had good bones. After removing any damaged finishings, Workshop, Diseño y Construcción found the original walls represented excellent workmanship. The original, freshly exposed stone masonry was preserved and framed by softly hued moldings, as though they are their own works of art. 

Chukum, a traditional plaster in Yucatán, offset exposed stone in Casa Maca. Photo: Contributed

The historic ceilings located over the first corridor (where the living and TV rooms are) are constructed with metal beams and wooden joists and were restored in the same tones as the moldings, obtaining a neutral palette. The stars of the show are the colorful pasta tiles on the floors and to the stone texture on the walls. 

In the second corridor, both the first bedroom and the dining room are found. Guests at a dinner party are welcomed by a double-high ceiling, under which there was previously a loft, dividing the room vertically in two. While that was demolished, the original doors and windows were left, providing a tangible “witness” to the home’s origins.

Pink is the power color in Casa Maca’s courtyard in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Contributed

Due to the fact that the walls surrounding the doors and windows are located were badly renovated numerous times over the years, it was impossible to continue with the same exposed stone treatment that was used on the original wall. Instead, chukum plaster was used as a unifying element, applying the same idea to an added upper wall, perpendicular to it and to the ceiling. 

A small covered terrace connects to the kitchen, which is in a mid-century annex. Practically the entirety of the original structure, but cement latticework on the upper part of the terrace was added as a reinterpretation of the balcony railing that was found on the second-level bedroom, harmonizing perfectly with the Art Deco transoms above the original doors. 

The inner courtyard intentionally breaks with the neutral colors. The courtyard’s intense Mexican pink ties the colors of the carpentry with the tropical vegetation that surrounds the space (Related: “My relationship with color). The stone floor symbolically links the interior with the exterior as it surrounds the chukum pool, creating the perfect environment to enjoy the warm Yucatecan climate. 

Chukum, a traditional plaster in Yucatán, offsets exposed stone in Casa Maca. Photo: Contributed

A second bedroom is on the ground floor which connects to a private garden, the central patio, and a covered terrace. On the second level, an iron and bamboo-covered terrace with views of the garden and pool precedes the third bedroom. The room’s antique, white pasta tiles will be familiar, as they were also used in the second bedroom and to border the first corridor. The color on the walls is taken from the tone found on the kitchen island tiles, offering a link to the various elements found throughout the space. 

About the project

Architects: Workshop, Diseño y Construcción

Team: Francisco Bernés Aranda, Fabián Gutiérrez Cetina, Isabel Bargas Cicero, Alejandro Bargas Cicero

Photography: Manolo R. Solís and Tamara Uribe

Location: Mérida, Yucatán, México

Completed: 2021

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