A Striking Black Home Offers the Best of Indoor/Outdoor Living to a Family in Mexico

A Striking Black Home Offers the Best of Indoor/Outdoor Living to a Family in Mexico

By Jenna Adrian-Diaz
Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados creates a tropical escape in the mountains of Valle de Bravo.

When creating Las Golondrinas for Paulina, Luis, and their four children, Pablo Pérez Palacios had the benefit of knowing the family better than most lead architects might know their clients at the onset of a new project. Luis was friends with the architect, and the couple entrusted him with their vision for a tranquil getaway in the mountainous highlands of Valle de Bravo, on a site owned by Paulina’s family for decades.

The couple and Pérez Palacios were particularly considerate of the build’s impact on the surrounding ecology. "The owners and I wanted to do our best to take care of where we were working," he says. As a result, they committed to not felling any trees to build Los Golondrinas.

"Paulina used to spend weekends on the site when she was a child...so it was like coming back to childhood memories," says the architect.

The home’s footprint spans nearly 3,800 square feet to accommodate the family’s affinity for hosting—which resulted in a household where up to 14 people can stay at any given time. In spite of its size, the design brief called for the home to be sited inconspicuously—without sacrificing 360-degree views of the subtropical landscape.

Below the patio, a two-bedroom guest bungalow is ready to host the couple’s visiting friends and family.

"We wanted the house to feel like a relaxed, one-story open space," explains Pérez Palacios. To accomplish this, the home was conceptualized as three separate volumes within the mountain where it sits.

The first volume holds a two-bedroom guest bungalow and the home’s parking garage, which are level with the garden and entryway. "It’s a huge house in terms of square footage. But it also merges into the landscape in a very natural way. The only point where it reads as two stories high is when you first approach the entrance," says Pérez Palacios.

The architect sited Las Golondrinas to allow sunlight and shadow to create unique vignettes throughout, as seen here in the main entryway.

The expert siting and the matte black exterior finish (a stucco alternative called Lisso) contribute to the home’s understated presence among the surrounding trees. The impactful finish continues through the home’s main entryway, which opens onto the common areas: a kitchen with a breakfast bar, the dining room, and the family room, all of which are directly atop the bungalow and parking garage.

Sandblasted cafesina marble flooring adds textural interest and is used throughout the kitchen, dining room (pictured), living room, and covered terrace.

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The kitchen’s custom white oak built-ins echo the warmth and intentionality of the home’s other living areas.

"We wanted the kitchen to look as nice as the living areas," says Pérez Palacios of his approach to making the kitchen cohesive with the rest of the home. "All the kitchen cabinetry and the woodwork was designed specifically for this house," he says. 

The clean and light, neutral palette in the bedrooms provides a soft contrast to the matte black wall accents used throughout some of the home’s common areas.

The family’s bedrooms lie at the back of the home, which makes up the third volume. The bedrooms are accessible through a semi-open corridor with floor-to-ceiling panels of glass that maximize light exposure. Alternatively, guests and family members can access their bedrooms (and most rooms in the house) courtesy of custom tzalam wood doors which open to the exterior and can make any room an indoor/outdoor space within moments.

Tzalam wood doors were selected for the species’ natural resilience to Valle de Bravo’s rainy climate.

At the center of the floor plan is an expansive covered terrace, described by Pérez Palacios as "the heart of the house," which looks out onto a sizable outdoor living space that includes a spacious patio and pool.

"The two things that we really feel happy about are how we situated the house within the terrain (because it really seems like it’s coming out of the land—it’s not imposing), and how well we were able to take care of the surrounding nature. You wouldn’t want to mess up this amazing place."

An affinity for natural finishes influenced the home’s material palette and carried over into the interior design.

"We developed this idea of using black without using paint. We never used paint, and we never wanted to use anything artificial," says the architect.

The couple’s relatives live in a dwelling nearby, but a combination of siting and landscaping means both can enjoy the privacy afforded by the remote property.

Floor plan of Las Golondrinas by Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

Floor plan of Las Golondrinas by Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

More from Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados:

This Mexico City Apartment Brings a Historic Home Into the 21st Century

Glass Walls and Wooden Screens Strike a Balance in This Mexican Home

Pockets of Greenery Punctuate This Dramatic Black House in Mexico City 

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados / @perez_palacios_aa

Structural Engineer: BVG

Civil Engineer: BVG

Landscape Design: Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

Lighting Design: Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

Interior Design: Estudio 240

Cabinetry Design: Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados

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