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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

In AD August, a Mérida ‘tropical paradise’

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Willson (seated) and Serrano in the pool area. The August 2015 Architectural Digest profiled the pair, who transformed a Mérida home into “an idiosyncratic tropical paradise.” Photo: Tim Street-Porter / Architectural Digest

The August 2015 Architectural Digest, in its U.S. edition, highlights a Centro renovation that was undertaken by two Los Angeles designers.

Robert Willson and David Serrano conjured “an idiosyncratic tropical paradise,” said the article by Mayer Rus with photographs by Tim Street-Porter, both noted design journalists.

Willson and Serrano say they have been “squirreling things away for this house forever,” and they are in a good position to do so, being owners of Downtown, the “fabulously eclectic” Los Angeles showroom.

A circa-1910 chandelier from Piedmont, Italy, is a focal point of the living room. The Irvim Victoria painting, commissioned for the house, is displayed above a vintage Jansen sofa and ’40s French club chairs. An antique Venetian grotto chair stands in the foreground. Photo: Tim Street-Porter/Architectural Digest

Rus took note of the “engagingly kaleidoscopic settings,” the “mural copied from a Piranesi engraving of architectural tools,” “a stately Empire sofa swathed in lime-green tiger-stripe velvet, massive Italian terra-cotta sphinxes,” and “a Venetian grotto chair that brings to mind Björk’s infamous swan dress.”

The dining room features a 1920s Italian chandelier and a circa-1900 plaster copy of a Roman statue (the original is in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art); a ’60s mirror is installed on a section of exposed, original stonework, ceramic pineapples by Hilario Alejos Madrigal are positioned on the ’30s Dutch sideboard, and Edo-period bronze rabbits rest on the midcentury Italian table. Photo: Tim Street-Porter / Architectural Digest

Like many, the couple was inspired by an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters International to start a new chapter in Mérida. They join other noted creative stars, such as celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower, Manhattan interior designer Laura Kirar, and artists James Brown and Jorge Pardo.

Serrano was born in Mexico and now resides in Mérida year-round; Willson shuttles back and forth to the store in Los Angeles.

Read more, while its still online, at AD’s website.

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