A private mezcal bar forms the heart of this house that Amsterdam interior architecture firm Barde vanVoltt has overhauled in Mexico City’s La Condesa neighbourhood.
Working for longstanding Dutch clients who live in Mexico, Barde vanVoltt transformed a historic, dilapidated building into a contemporary residence that respects the heritage of the existing structure.
“We walked together into this old, beautiful building, and instantly fell in love,” said studio founders Bart van Seggelen and Valérie Boerma. “Even though the house was falling apart, we felt its soul was fully alive.”
The three-storey house had previously been used as a mezcal tasting venue, and the duo used this as a starting point for the design.
A primary aim of the renovation was to create a “vibrant oasis in the city” with a better connection to the outdoors.
This was achieved by connecting a series of courtyards, terraces and semi-enclosed corridors to form a route and airflow through the building.
“We worked together with Thalia from Aldaba Jardines, a talented landscape designer, to create a seamless flow from the indoors to the outdoors and back again,” said the studio..
In the central courtyard, Barde vanVoltt removed the roof from the double-height space and replaced it with operable glass panels to let in more light.
The designers turned this space into a mezcal bar as a nod to the building’s former life that the owners could use for entertaining friends and family.
Backed by a semicircular brass panel, upon which shelves for liquor bottles are mounted, the rounded bar counter is wrapped in narrow terracotta tiles.
A five-metre-tall guayabo tree was also planted in the courtyard, casting shadows across the surrounding walls.
Open archways lead from this central space into various rooms including the kitchen and living area, which features dark cabinetry, open shelving, and a large bespoke wooden dining table.
Beyond a row of French doors is the back courtyard that forms an outdoor lounge, and an annex that accommodates a home office on the upper level.
To retain some of the original character, the architects recreated the cast iron, Art Deco windows and Spanish-style railings. and extended them to the back of the house.
The overall layout of spaces was kept largely the same, aside from a few walls that were removed to combine or create bigger rooms.
For example, the primary bedroom and bathroom now flow together as one space, divided only by a partition of angled bricks that forms a backdrop to the freestanding bathtub.
“We included the bathroom into the space to create a home sanctuary to rest and refresh,” said Barde vanVoltt.
Two further bedrooms are located on the first floor, the other side of the central courtyard void at the front of the house.
The roof terrace features a plunge pool, an outdoor shower, a row of loungers and built-in seats, all accessed via a spiral staircase from the loggia outside the main bedroom.
The building’s exterior is covered in greige-coloured plaster, as a nod to Mexico’s prevalent concrete architecture, while warmer earth tones decorate the minimalist interiors.
Moss green sofa covers and bed linens visually tie to the plants outside, and wood, terracotta and off-white hues complement one another.
“We love the natural feel these colours have together,” said the designers. “According to colour psychology, nature-inspired hues are the best for interiors as they soothe and invigorate.”
Floors for the stairs, bathroom and outdoor areas are tiled with handmade bricks by Tata Mosaicos, made from compacted earth sourced from different regions throughout Mexico.
“This unique structure means they need 50 per cent less cement, using the sun and shade to dry naturally and secure the structure,” Barde vanVoltt said. “An environmentally friendly solution, sourced locally.”
Custom lighting and Mexican objects, textiles, sculptures and other wall art are also found throughout the residence.
Barde vanVoltt has renovated many older buildings, having converted a former garage into a light-filled home and a century-old farmhouse into a retail store – both in the Netherlands.
The photography is by Alejandro Ramírez Orozco.
Lead interior architect: Barde vanVoltt
Contractor: CF Taller de Arquitectura
Architect: ZVA Interiores & Arquitectura
Bathroom: Agape Bathrooms
Kitchen appliances: Gaggenau
Lighting: Studio Davidpompa, ILWT, Nuumbra, Federico Stefanovich, DCW editions
Material: Tata Mosaicos
Furniture: Casa Quieta, Chuch Estudio, Acoocooro, Carl Hanssen & Sons, Arflex
Art: Kreyé, Chic by Accident, Carlos Vielma, Prince Láuder, Axelle Russo, Rrres, Saudara, Luuna Wabi
Landscaping: Aldaba Jardines