Monday, September 10, 2007

Casa Ermita de Santa Isabel

This early colonial house is in one of Merida’s oldest quarters next to the Hermitage of the Safe Journey. It is a delightful one bedroom home half a block from the church, park and botanical garden. The nearby garden is open to the public from sunrise to sunset and is a favorite oasis of shade and water to the local birds. The gardens are dotted with Mayan and Spanish colonial limestone sculptures. There are acoustical trova concerts in the square most weekends. The street is closed to traffic on Sundays and open to pedestrians and bicycles.
This 17c house is owned by John Powell, one of the partners in Urbano Merida. It features very rustic and curious antiques , antiquities , curios and crafts. The central location in the south just 6 blocks from the main square means less tourists and less ex-pats. This is a more authentic Mexican neighborhood with a slower pace where the clip clop of the horse and buggies on their way to the zocalo can make you forget which century you're living in. 
Ermita also gives you a head start on trips to the Ruta Puuc and Uxmal as you can skip the bustle of downtown traffic. Casa Ermita sits on one of the last brick paved streets in town, the old Camino Real to Campeche. Alas, the real danger here is you might not want to leave the house. There is a cool plunge pool surrounded by koi ponds in the front patio garden. Upstairs there is a open white rooftop terrace that evokes sunny days in the Aegean or cool nights in a Moroccan medina.
 The house features furniture designed by John and his partner, Josh Ramos, They have worked for several of the local haciendas finding antiques or designing modern alternatives with local craftsmen.
The kitchen has been placed in the garden to keep the house cool year round. It features two Bosch stoves and two stainless steel under the counter refrigerators. There are ample polished cement counters with racks of Calphalon pots & pans. The owner’s passion for cooking may be contagious once you’ve been in the kitchen. The Mercado Central and the Mercado San Sebastian are just a short stroll from Ermita
The library features a collection of Mexican cookbooks. The giant antique wooden doors open onto the garden. String a hammock or lie in the daybed and you don’t live here year round. The dining room table seats eith comfortably. And it’s comforting to know that if you invite your friends over to dine there is absolutely nowhere for them to sleep over. You’ll have L’Ermita all to yourself in the morning! The simple bedroom has its’ original wood beamed ceilings and the 17c Provençal inspired bed looks into one of the rarest sites in town, a bathtub. The 5 feet square sunken bath with unlimited hot water and old stone spouts makes it a spa-like experience. Is this Mexico or is this heaven?


Anonymous said...

Killer house. I'd rent it in a second. What did you mean you didn't have any clothes to wear to the skull dinner party? Who photographed them and why?

John said...

Thanks. If you go to the NY Times article you'll see the photographs of the party. Here is thethe link. You'll notice that everyone is fashionably thin and wearing the latest fashion.

I've not been to Paris in 3 years and I've been out of the fashion business for 12 years now. I've been away from the designer outlet malls for 6 years now. My old clothes don't count as vintage yet and I cannot fit into them anyway.

Photos were taken by Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello.

The real question is why.

et voila