This is the story of my experiences living as an ex-pat in Mexico since 2003. It's to culminate in a published book. With your help, I'll be editing, selecting a title, and cover art: a participatory project. Your comments encouraged!

Letters from Mexico

 - Where Expats Blog

Housebuilding in Mexico

December 28, 2019

Since she just moved in, she’s not decorated and only partly furnished. I can’t wait to see how her artistic brilliance will manifest.

We enter the casita to note it’s two levels.

As we enter the gated eye, we travel the driveway to the main house and smaller casita. Notice the construction of ponds behind the main house. Mountain views from the terraces are outstanding! They take your breath away.

The entrance to the main house has a vaulted ceiling with balconies, shaped windows, and recesses in the walls for sculptures.

Buying land and building a house in Mexico is no easy feat. This article tells the story of a friend of mine who has done it and in a very innovative and artistic way. With her imagination and tenacity, she created elegance and comfort. Her home is in the woods on a mountain in central Mexico—Tepoztlan, Morelos.

Tepoztlan, Mexico. Upper photo: The entrance to the second floor has columns and arches. Lower photo: The entrance room  features Art Deco elements that include the window, wings above it, and the balcony grill work. Photos by Don Karp

Tepoztlan, Mexico. Tour of the grounds and views from the house's terraces. Photo by Don Karp

Tepoztlan, Mexico. The casita (smaller house). Photos by Don Karp

The next room is the kitchen. I love its blue color, the terrace opening, and the Dutch door, among other features.


Design Elements Make a Huge Difference

Tepoztlan, Mexico. Entering the main house. Photos by Don Karp

House, large, rear

Tepoztlan, Mexico. The house built by my friend, Melissa. Photo by Don Karp

With the elegant use of columns and curves, she’s added a sense of upward movement. The different color schemes in the house create moods proper to the different uses of the spaces, yet they blend well. Her use of Art Deco elements reminds me of how connected this art is to indigenous forms in Mexico.

F2, entry 1
F1, front room 1


F1 frontroom

Tepoztlan, Mexico. First floor: the kitchen. Photos by Don Karp

Even the stairs and hallways to the three different levels offer interesting elements. Note the set of three windows with a Mediterranean flavor.


Tepoztlan, Mexico. Hallways. Photos by Don Karp

The entrance to the second floor is what she calls the suite. Its current use is an office. This leads to the lavish bedroom where, lying in bed gives fantastic mountain views. The vanity is a special alcove. From there, we enter the bathroom with its tile design shower, and jacuzzi bathtub, providing nighttime star views while soaking away the cares of the day. Of the three terraces, the second floor one feels most comfortable to me now.


F2, desk

Tepoztlan, Mexico. Second floor: the suite (office). Photo by Don Karp

Tepoztlan, Mexico. Second floor: bedroom. Photos by Don Karp


Tepoztlan, Mexico. Second floor--Upper right photo: vanity alcove in the bedroom. All the rest: bathroom adjoining the bedroom. Photos by Don Karp

On the third floor, we enter a small room, again with incredible views. We enter a terrace having a covered divan. It might transport royalty.


F3 terrqace with divan

Tepoztlan, Mexico. Above: Third floor entrance. Below: Third floor terrace with divan. Photos by Don Karp


Some of my readers balk at disparaging reportage I publish about Mexico. These are Mexico boosters. I describe the truth—both the good and the bad. This interview points out the difficulties one might encounter in buying land and building in Mexico.

Tepoztlan, Mexico. Interview with the housebuilder, Melissa. Video by Don Karp

To conclude, Melissa tells us, "I am very happy with my house, and it was worth the trials and tribulations I went through to make it happen."


Tepoztlan, Mexico. Upper photos: The entrance  gate. Lower photo: The driveway into the property. Photos by Don Karp

Here's the first floor bedroom.

F1, Bedroom 1
F1, Bedroom 2

Tepoztlan, Mexico. The first floor bedroom. Photos by Don Karp

F2, bedrm 1
F2, bdrm 2

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