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A stable atop El Mirador House

A stable atop El Mirador House

El Mirador House holds just as much appeal for horse enthusiasts as it does for lovers of exceptional architecture, writes Joanna Tovia.

Tucked away in the woods by a lake outside Valle de Bravo, a picturesque town about 150 kilometres southwest of Mexico City, is a tranquil weekender designed for rest and recreation – for horse and rider alike.

The house is simple but eloquent, incorporating a master bedroom and bathroom, spacious living area, eat-in kitchen, guest quarters and an expansive outdoor terrace.

El Mirador House horses- Rafael Gamo

Embedded in the landscape

Sitting snugly against a steep hillside, access to the house is via an upper-level entryway that also happens to be the most interesting feature of the home.

The road sweeps down the hillside to meet the property, where a discreet garage is hidden in the open entryway behind a rustic timber wall.

On the other side of that wall is a reflecting pool stretching out into the trees, along with a low-set stone water trough and tethering rails attached to the stone and timber walls.

The enticing entryway doubles as the place the owners tie up their horses before saddling up and heading out for a ride.

Respect for nature

Mexican architect Manuel Cervantes Céspedes of CC Arquitectos designed the 550-square-metre home with reverence for the natural surrounds.

As well as making as little a mark on the pristine environment as possible in terms of both footprint and the process of construction, the house was built using locally sourced materials: recycled railroad sleepers, local stone and an abundance of wood and steel that is certain to age beautifully.

The home’s design reflects the owner’s strong personality and lively social life, the architect says, with the home as suitable for taking time out alone as it is for connecting with guests.

El Mirador House Views

Inside El Mirador House

There are two sitting areas in the spacious El Mirador House family room: one for watching TV, the other for relaxing by the fire. At one end of that space lies the bedroom and ensuite, and at the other is a cosy but decadent eat-in kitchen of timber and slate. The guest quarters are located behind the kitchen, at the opposite end of the house from the master bedroom to provide privacy for both guest and owner. These quarters include a single bedroom with ensuite and a separate living area.

Back in the kitchen, two giant antique-style brass pendants hang over the hefty slate island, which is flanked by open shelves stuffed with old suitcases, crockery and cookbooks on one side, and minimalist timber cabinetry on the other.

El Mirador House doesn’t have a dining area inside, but the kitchen island serves as a fine spot to sit solo for a meal or to gather for a casual bite to eat with friends when the weather’s too cool to dine outdoors. The effect is charming and sophisticated, but far from pretentious.

El Mirador House Loungeroom

Room to breathe

The living area opens via floor-to-ceiling stackable glass doors to a covered verandah, which steps down to a slate- and stone-paved entertaining terrace with peaceful vistas over a forested valley. It’s the perfect spot to gather for sundowners with friends or a leisurely meal that lingers into the night.

Inside El Mirador House, the aesthetic is rustic but refined. Exposed wooden ceiling beams, walls of textural stone and white oak and slate flooring work harmoniously in the natural setting.

No doors separate one space from another. Instead, thoughtfully positioned partial walls create open doorways that partition the living area from the bedroom and kitchen. In the main bedroom, a partial wall behind the bed hides the wardrobes and moody ensuite behind.

As for the furnishings, sofas and armchairs of leather, linen and wood abound. Small sculptural elements and shapely lamps make an impact without stealing the show, and the walls are mercifully free of artwork; to add it would be to take away from the soothing tones and textures that make El Mirador House feel so serene.

El Mirador House horses drinking

All images © Rafael Gamo


This article appeared in volume 29 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.

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