Best viewed in 1336 x 768 resolution
(San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, MX)
Located near the Mercado Ignacio Ramirez (the artisans' market) and a leisurely 10 minute level walk from the Jardin, this small house ("casita") is well-appointed and close to most major attractions in San Miguel de Allende. When we first started looking for houses in this area, we found the designation "Centro" to be misleading, as it encompasses a large area -- and many of the houses are located at the very bottom of the rectangular-shaped Centro area on the maps, including the Parque Juarez and Guidiana. Casita Animas is much nearer to the action! It is located on a relatively quiet street, with most of the surrounding dwellings owned by an extended Mexican family, including the bakery and barber shop next door. Sandwiched between a bakery and the garage of the adjacent house, it is in the heart of a working Mexican neighborhhod.
Entrance to Casita Animas is at street level, through the green mesquite double doors shown in the photo above. The doors open onto a small entryway: The first thing you see is the coat rack and a wrought-iron divider separating this area from the living room (photo to the left). The living room features a built-in banquette and chair arrangement that is surprisingly comfortable. The seat cushions and pillows feature "Provencale" colors that complement the rug. (picture at lower right) We had the green tiled and wrought-iron table made up during our stay (our first!) in the house July 2005. There is a phone and CD player in the living area, and the wall above the couch features painted plates from nearby Dolores Hidalgo ("the" ceramics center, a short drive from San Miguel). The facing wall consists of two large arches (typical of Mexican architecture); the one closest to the door features a large brass candle box, while the one nearest the dining area is mirrored and houses a vase with dried silk flowers. Track lighting accentuates these decorative features. The shelves below the arches contain local figurines and reading material. The room is finished with textured masonry and hewn beams, and the two mirrors afford the room a spacious feel.
Passing through the archway at
the far end of the living room brings you to the dining area. The
square room features a wrought-iron dining table with four padded
chairs and a hutch for extra dishes. The room is brightly lit by a
copper chandelier, and the opposing walls feature a second
copper-framed mirror, along with an embroidered textile from the
Ignacio Ramirez market. The wall under the textile is reserved for a
gas heater which will be installed early in November, before the onset
of chilly weather. This room, too, features hewed beam ceilings.
The dining room opens to the kitchen through another large main
archway. The kitchen is large and well-appointed, having both the space
and the accoutrements to whip up wonderful dinners. We speak from
experience, as we cooked some 6 meals there in the 12 days we spent in
the house. It was important to us that people would have a positive
cooking experience here, and so we are happy to provide new, heavy-duty
cookware, along with possibly the only pot-holders in Mexico that work!
There is a standard-sized sink next to a new six-burner stove with
oven. The counter space is ample for food preparation, and there is
plenty of storage space. Solid wood
cabinets above and below the counter space (and a free-standing set of
shelves opposite the sink) contain everything you'll need: heavy
all-purpose flatware, plenty of knives, plates, bowls, mixing bowls,
mugs, cups & saucers, glasses and a complete set of quality
cookware. The kitchen is equally well-stocked in terms of appliances,
with a blender, a juicer, a toaster, a toaster oven, a tea kettle and
coffee maker. A full-size refrigerator and microwave and bottled water
dispenser round out the kitchen equipment. The kitchen embraces the
"pollo" (chicken) theme, with a colorful tiled "splash" wall and
Behind the kitchen and through the double glass doors is an anteroom that houses an attractive powder room and the spiral wrought iron staircase that leads to the upper rooms and roof top terrace. The half bath is comprised of a free standing wrought iron sink with a colorful Mexican-tiled washbasin in the corner of the room, and the enclosed toilet area adjacent. The small bathroom has a wrought iron door with a frosted glass window. Above the powder room is a flat surface which we found useful for to storing our luggage. This last downstairs room opens above to an atrium that extends two floors to the roof; therefore, it receives a great deal of sunlight. The walls are decorated with terracotta figures. The photo to the left gives an overview of this area, and was shot from the sun room above. It shows the location of the wash basin (also featured in the photo to the right) the open door leading to the toilet, as well as the two and one half story spiral staircase that leads to the next two levels.
the spiral staircase brings
you to the sun room, a loft. It receives plenty of sunlight from the
skylight above, while its configuration also allows light to pass
through to the lower level of the house. This room makes a great
reading room as well as an excellent studio area for an artist. The
rectangular room has a raised platform on one side (where the enclosed
hot water heater is mounted) flanked by shelves containing a large
Hidalgo vase and a
painted hand-woven basket. On the floor is a thin rug, designed to keep
your feet warm on a cool morning. The sunroom is an essentially open
room, with two wrought leather chairs and a end table in the corner. On
the wall is a single picture frame, featuring shots from in an around
San Miguel de Allende. The room is lit by twin brass lamps, hanging
above the hallway that leads to the bathroom and then the bedroom. The
full story of open air above gives this room a spaciousness that belies
its size, and it is a wonderful place to read, visit, or paint.
The sun room opens
to the second floor hallway which is decorated with a colorful runner
and a hand-carved/painted half-table. Opposite this is the upstairs
bathroom, which is decorated in maroon tiles extending from the sink to
the shower. The shower itself is finished in a light beige tiling with
seashell motif. There is a basin and cupboard in the center of the
room, flanked by shelves (with lots of towels/washclothes & linens)
on one side and the commode on the other. On the far end of the room is
a 3/4 tub with shower. There is excellent lighting for the mirror.
At the end of the hall is the bedroom, which features a double bed. It is "muy' comfortable -- just firm enough to be supportive, but not "hard." Next to this is a small balcony which overlooks Animas and has a lovely view of bright foliage of indigenous trees and (usually!) blue sky behind it. The room has good storage, with a large hand-carved armoire (hanging closet w/ 2 drawers) and a 3-drawer dresser next to the bed. On the other side of the bed is a night stand with a phone; both the dresser and the night stand have ceramic lamps, and the dresser is draped with a bright runner. Two accents found in the bedroom are the frosted glass and wrought iron skylight (making the room bright, even when the curtains are closed) and the large mirrored arch at the foot of the bed, which contributes to a more spacious feeling in the room. Further illumination is provided by a (bright!) ceiling light. Ventilation is provided by a ceiling fan with more light. There is a green hand-woven rug on the floor. A hand-carved chair which matches the hall table rounds out the furnishings. The bedroom is equipped with a cable television that features CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and several English-speaking movie channels. We counted in the area of 15 English-speaking stations at any given time. There is also a DVD player for watching videos and listening to CD's. By the way, if you have a way to burn your MP3's onto CD's, go ahead and do it -- both players in the house will play CD-R's with MP3's. Alternately, just bring your favorite CD's.
One level up the spiral staircase (from the sun room) is a roof top terrace. It is rectangular, surprisingly roomy, and features both an electric light and two electrical outlets, as well as a spigot and hose. The terrace offers views of the nearby hills and the surrounding buildings and trees, along with the spires of some of San Miguel's churches. The roof top has a table and four chairs. The circular table shown here has been replaced with a colorful ceramic one, and the skylight is now transparent. Changes can be seen in the virtual tours below. The ledges are lined with local desert plants. It is a wonderful place to enjoy a drink in the evening, or to watch the (very!) low-lying clouds as a storm approaches.
A Video Tour of Casita Animas
A 360 Degree Virtual Tour of Casita AnimasUpdated
Using VR technology, we
have assembled a 360 tour consisting of interlocking spherical photos.
This allows you to see in all directions in each room, and provides a
more immersive tour than the video above. There is no narration, and
you may visit each room at your leisure. This is a more recent tour
than the video above. If you own a Google Cardboard or similar VR
headset, you scan the QR code below the tour for a headset-compatible
For Android devices:
Open the camera app and use the built-in scanner to scan the QR code
above. Confirm that you want to open the website, and wait for it to
load--it should load in stereo view. Select the fullscreen ("X" option)
from the menu at the bottom. Turn the device to landscape mode and you
are ready to go. Here
is a video of how to do this--it
is simpler than it sounds! [The video opens in a new window--close when
done to return to this page
For iOS devices: scan QR code with your device's camera app, tap on the prompt to open Safari. Select "Allow Device Motion" and the next prompt, "Allow Access to Motion Orientation." Turn the device to landscape mode and a split screen will appear. When the screen turns white, swipe up for fullscreen mode, and place in headset. Here is a video of how to do this--it is simpler than it sounds! [The video opens in a new window--close when done to return to this page]
Views of San Miguel de Allende
It is hard to take a bad picture in San Miguel. Here are a few snapshots to whet your appetite!
may need to extend the browser to see the entire gallery]
Looking Down Mesones
Clock Tower Near Parque Benito Juarez
Cowboys on the bench, Plaza Civica
View of the Parroquia from
Calle de Jesus
Templo de San Francisco
If you would like to learn
more about the history and Culture of San Miguel del Allende, head on
over to our San Miguel de Allendepage,
where there are three VR tours, offering both a desktop tour and VR
tours with smartphones and headsets such as Google Cardboard. You don't
want to miss it!
to Digital Photo Album