Reflections for a client wanting to build a courtyard home in Mexico

Client stories – Bill writes to his clients after a DWELLING in-home consultation

Your courtyard home in Mexico… First off, here is the disposition of your future home – it’s in San Miguel de Allende, about 150 miles north of Mexico City. San Miguel is a beautiful Colonial town, with the usual vibrant Mexican life force. You own an empty lot, with good solar access, and about ten feet of grade, going down front to back. The neighborhood isn’t too hectic, but, enough that you want respite from its energy. Our home can put us in relationship with its place, yet, often, our home is a refuge from the world around it (in a hectic, noisy city). This applies to your home, yet, you do want to root into the earth and open to the sky and sun. In rooting into the earth, you’re really wanting a sacred, archetypal Eden: something actually removed from your place. In relating to the sun, for half the year you want to avoid it (but not its light). Homes are as complex as we are, wanting something and then not!  And the sky is always there, full of as many moods as we can muster… Noise. The simplest way to transcend the noise is a waterfall, which can link your upper and lower garden terraces. You desire an object tree in your linked garden terraces. This won’t quite be nature – more art – and you can consider the tree partially as a sundial, as it’ll be on the south side of your home. This solar-informational shadow (aka, tree) can also meet a wall of your home, casting an every-changing shadow… again, art. And you can occupy the shadow-space – you can be in the shadow dialogue between source and receiver, always a sublime space.

Our home can put us in relationship with its place, yet, often, our home is a refuge from the world around it.

You want your home to have a modern zen feeling, again, to provide repose amidst the swirling town – expanding horizontal spaces; blurred edges between inside and outside, material changes to imply discrete space, or provide intimacy; just enough walls/surfaces to create places; large glass surfaces, contrasting with textural/material patterning, giving just enough vibrancy; a series of ground planes and materials, non primary (no terra firma). You’re fascinated by a mechanisms, such as large cranks to open large expanses of walls. I caution you not to go too far with this, making your home too masculine/yang (and complicated… dare i say it, Less is More, and, Know When to Say No). You can provide complimentary feminine/yin energy with soft walls/forms (again, not too much).

We are extremely grateful for these reflections that encapsulate our time together, discussing and finding the meaning of our new home. I can visualize how everything ties together. Your words more than resonate, it serves as a firm foundation for our evolving thinking. Many many thanks. Our house is your house. 


I think this is BEAUTIFUL and absolutely captures what we are seeking, aspiring to. I can see you really saw our land, our needs and our influences. What we gravitate toward but also what we must be aware of not to overdo.  Thank you for this.  


You can engage with the world around you via the vessel (sailboat) of your home. You can open windows to cool down spaces, or pull down exterior blinds to keep out the summer sun; open up a wall, so there is no separation between inside and outside; wheel your dining room table out to the upper terrace; have an outdoor oven for summer cooking; you can notice when the rising sun enters your library, where you can be aligned with our primary source as you reflect on the upcoming day; or locate soft plants up high, to tell you how the wind is each day. You can develop such ways as you daydream about your gestating home. You can animate space, via your intentions –  your stairs can be more than a series of risers and treads. It can be the vertical spine of your home, twisting and turning as does our spine. It can be light and filigree, casting ever-changing tapestry of shadows on it’s adjacent wall. The stone wall which frames your living/dining rooms and contiguous terraces can pulsate, be alive as the heaving earth they came from. The entry court on the street can provide  cleansing, with it’s own water fall and lushly planted. Such stories will animate your courtyard home in Mexico, open up its life-force, feed you in all ways. Much love, Bill


2 thoughts on “Reflections for a client wanting to build a courtyard home in Mexico”

  1. I’ve been reflecting on the ideas that Bill kindly provided after we shared our initial thoughts on the life vessel. We are integrating these ideas and using them as a platform for discussion with our local architect in charge of the implementation of the project. This is a very useful collaboration and we are very thankful to Bill and Beth for helping us reflect on the ulterior purposes of building a home. It’s been illuminating and fun. Thank you!

    1. I’m happy to hear our time together, and my reflections, served your coming to understand how you want to make your home. What i wrote is a seed – we’ll all water this seed with the ideas given to us, and slowly your home will take shape. I look forward to serving this process as appropriate, and look forward to being with you in your new home!

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