Tropical trees and vegetation inspire the U-shaped design of this 342 square metre home in Colima, Mexico, designed by Di Frenna Arquitectos. A rapid growing Papelillo tree in the middle of the build site demanded an internal courtyard for the home, which became an inside-outside family environment that connects the wings of the build layout. Decorative lattice blocks on the exterior of the home screen the sunlight and shape the shadows on the inside. Within its walls, Casa la Blanca is a crisply chic modern space that breathes with cool white expanses and natural wood tone beats, which evoke a high-end yet simple and welcoming vibe.
The white modern home exterior is decoratively perforated with sections of lattice blocks, as though it were linen, panelled with strips of lace. These hand-molded concrete blocks are one of the typical Mexican lattices that has been widely used for decades within the cities and coast of Colima. It is used to protect homes from the intensely warm climate, and to provide privacy and security.
Whilst the lattice screening lays delicately in white walls by day, by night the decorative screen pushes twinkling light out through the façade of Casa la Blanca.
An enormous house number sits proudly on the white render face of Casa la Blanca, as we approach a stone staircase that leads to the entry door.
The front door design is a warm and welcoming wood tone with modern styling and black powder coated hardware.
When we cut around back, we find a private swimming pool surrounded by lush borders of tropical vegetation. A waterfall feature rushes down the wall.
The Papelillo tree, aka ‘paper tree’, that’s incorporated into the courtyard design grows to have a huge spreading crown to bring blissful cool shade to the poolside. Patterned tile adds attractive interest around its bed, and over its buried roots.
Two outdoor chairs are positioned to enjoy the shade beneath the tree’s leafy canopy.
The back of the courtyard opens up to the outer gardens of the private property. Large glass sliding doors draw away to connect the indoor and outdoor living spaces.
A first floor balcony crosses above the ground floor patio. The platform creates a solid shaded spot beneath it where an al fresco dining set can be laid out beside an outdoor kitchen area.
The U-shape configuration of the home is situated to protect from the sun, with the dramatic red tree, blue pool and a rushing waterfall creating its heart.
Bedrooms on the upper floor overlook the pools clear blue vista.
The pool is lit at night so that the courtyard remains a useful and interwoven part of the home and family life.
Other exterior lighting highlights the gnarled texture of the grand tree.
The underside of the balcony is utilised for outdoor spotlights to light the courtyard at night.
A stone wall provides the pool area with an element of privacy from the main approach to the home.
Inside the house, a double height living room is filled with natural light from the hugely expansive windows and glass doors. A peaceful and airy feeling of freedom flows through. The tropical environment outside of the home is brought in, with full and complete views of the trees from root to highest leaf. Glass orbs tumble from an impressive light fixture above the lounge and stairwell of the home, like heavy quenching raindrops.
The open space inside is defined by different ceiling heights. The dual height ceiling of the lounge dips to a single vertical measure in the large kitchen diner.
Three kitchen pendant lights are suspended along the length of a six place dining set. The white light shades rest gently in the white and wood dining scheme.
The wood dining table slides right into the central kitchen island, where it cuts beneath a thick white worktop.
A gas hob is situated on the kitchen island, so that the cook can be up close and chatting with the rest of the family, or their dinner guests.
An island extractor unit is mounted into a wood ceiling slab, which has been cut to the same length and width as the countertop below to create a mirroring effect.
Stainless steel appliances stand out in the sleek full height white units behind. Wooden storage nooks set a warming stripe across the top of a huge American-style fridge freezer unit.
Concrete tiles build an edgy headboard feature wall inside the master bedroom. Two black glass bedroom pendant lights dangle in front of the feature, highlighting its raw texture. In contrast to the cold industrial concrete, warm wood grain builds a platform bed with coordinating bedside units. A timber door frame ties into the natural aesthetic.
The natural wood grain decor element is present inside all of the white painted rooms of the house. Black exterior door frames and window frames bring a distinctive trendy modern vibe to each of the rooms.
Ground floor plan, with pool and courtyard. It’s possible to see here how the internal courtyard is held open to the surrounding gardens on two sides, and the driveway in part. It also becomes evident how the tropical vegetation shapes the house plan.
Upper floor plan, with master suite.
Front elevation of number 28.
Side elevation, with access to the courtyard.
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