Casa Vagantes Montejo blends perfectly into the atmosphere of Calle 37, right behind Paseo Montejo. Located 150 meters from the most popular avenue of the city, this remodeled short-term rental is now part of Mérida’s Historic Center.
It is one of three newly opened boutique lodgings by Gina Góngora, who repurposed the properties along with her boyfriend, architect Fernando Gómez from Artista Cero.
Góngora and Gomez created a modern, unique interior design that reflects the building’s history. The home comprises a traditional abode with a surface of 70 square meters / 754 square feet and has been fully revamped with modern travelers in mind.
“I always wanted a home in the Centro,” says Gina. “My grandfather owned properties in the area, so I spent a lot of time here since I was young. The Centro has always been my home. But owning a large property felt like something really far from reach, so when the opportunity for the first house came up we knew we had to take it.”
Gina and Fernando started the first iteration of Casa Vagantes in 2019. Although their design approach aimed at financial savings, Gina and Fernando’s intention was to highlight the antique, unique feel of the neighborhood.
“We were not looking to modernize,” says Gina. “We are reviving, reusing, recycling. Bringing out the current value of each property.”
Most architectural elements have been retained and carefully restored. The facade maintains its original ochre hue, and the windows and doors were recovered and reused.
All furnishings have been carefully sourced to match the interior. Each room includes mainly locally made items, as well as second-hand pieces found throughout the city.
The light fixtures were re-installed to accommodate modern equipment and now form part of the decoration of the home, as a light golden accent against the green walls.
Gina tells me that the walls were a surprise that came up as they started remodeling.
“We started scraping the walls and different colors started coming up. It felt like the story of the house was coming through the paint — all the layers it had lived, all its colors. The main tone was this blue-ish green which goes beautifully with the tiles, which are also original. And so it became our unique, green house.”
Casa Vagantes maintains most of its spatial structure. It features a social area at the entrance that connects to the kitchen, becoming the main living space.
This room is connected to the single bedroom, which overlooks the terrace.
In the kitchen, the ceramic tiles have been replaced with white polished cement, and the white walls create an open, modern feel that overlooks the patio.
The backyard is now a breath of fresh air in often-sweltering Yucatán. It features a cozy deck with two chairs, a dipping pool, and a bench to contemplate the main feature of the outdoor area: the Huaya tree.
“We are nature lovers and it’s something we try to implement in all our properties. There’s something really special in the plants you find already in the space. We loved that this small house featured such a large, iconic tree.”
Casa Vagantes Montejo is a reflection of typical Centro living looking back at its roots from the 1930s.
Although each Vagante home reflects its own personal story, as well as the feel of each barrio, all the houses are bound by their carefree luxury.
“That’s what Vagante means for us,” says Gina. “We are wanderers, always looking to discover something else. But we’re repurposing that idea into the Yucatecan lifestyle. We want people to discover the slow-living feel we enjoy. And we want them to do so in some of our favorite parts of the city.”