Whimsical and Warm

The owner of this 20-year-old house in Mexico purchased the adjacent land with the idea of enlarging his existing space. Though he hired an American to design the addition, it remains thoroughly planted in its roots. San Francisco architect Cathi House was inspired by the time she spends in Mexico and the owner's art collection to create a house full of texture and color. Indeed, the judges liked the resulting tactile environment, with its abundance of light. "It has a sense of whimsy," one judge said. "The colors, shapes, and tile work make it fun and inviting."

The designer softened the strong rectangular theme repeated in the stucco structure, windows, glass block, and stairs by using rich colors, curved columns, and the rounded brick "boveda" ceiling in the living room and master suite. A local specialist created this single-layer brick ceiling without formwork.

The addition adds a substantial 1,900 square feet to the original 1,250-square-foot structure. The new space includes new living and dining rooms, a master suite, a garage, and a studio. The existing living room had low ceilings and a concrete beam that split the room. To create the new dining room and unify the area, the building crew wrapped the beam with wood and added 12 hand-hewn beams to form an intimate space.

Steven House

Category: Additions, $100,000 to $250,000

Location: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Contractor: Guadelupe Gonzalez Morales, San Miguel de Allende

Designer: Cathi House, House + House Architects, San Francisco

REMODELING Design Awards 2003