|Brent Marsh (center) leads a House and Garden Tour|
I've never been the type who wanted to live in an Architectural Digest sort of house. So when my friend and real estate agent Jennifer Lytle approached me recently about putting my place on the Mérida English Language Library House and Garden Tour, I was a bit reluctant.
This tour affords the curious an opportunity to peek inside interesting homes within walking distance of the English Library in Mérida centro. The fee charged goes to support library programs. Most of the tour-goers are foreigners visiting the area, and many are considering living here at least part of the time.
My problem with throwing open the doors was that my house, even after nine years, remains unfinished. There are windows without glass, cabinets without doors, and the whole second story is only half-completed. The facade has not been repaired in decades and occasionally little chunks of it rain down onto the sidewalk. Stuffing pops out of furniture cushions. Nothing is really done.
To make matters worse, since the first phase of the renovation was completed six years ago, much that was finished, nicely painted, shiny and new back then is now peeling, a bit rusty or otherwise weather- and time-worn. The house is very comfortable, but in its current condition it is not a candidate for any design or decorating awards. And since that sort of thing is not an interest of mine, I doubt it ever will be. I do not worry about a little peeling paint or falling plaster here and there. These things happen to an antique house in the tropics. I am not about to dedicate an excessive amount of my time to maintaining my home in picture-perfect condition.
I have never been on the tour, but am aware that many of the homes included feature award-winning architecture and are among the most elegant and well-appointed in Mérida. I just wasn't sure my unfinished home, set up more for comfort and convenience rather than impact, would fit with the program. But Jennifer convinced me that visitors would be interested in seeing a place that is "lived in."
So last Tuesday they came. There were about twenty on the tour, enough to make my ample front sala feel a bit cramped when they'd all gotten inside.
It was obvious that most of the tour-goers had done a little homework or visited other homes in the area. Mostly they asked specific, practical questions about the ins and outs of fixing up an old house in Mérida. Many were interested in materials not so commonly seen north of the border, things such as polished concrete floors and poured countertops and the variety of tiles and stone used in finishes. Some loved the copper sinks and basins from Michoacan. Others had questions about gardening and plants.
I even met a couple of readers of this blog.
It was an appreciative group, and I found it interesting to view my home through their eyes. Once again I was reminded of how fortunate I am to live in this place.