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.
"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.
"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 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.
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"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 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.
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."
More from Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados:
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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