Friday, April 12, 2013

Azotar - The Sunday Home and Garden Tour

Debbie and I arrived at Jim and Susan’s charming San Miguel home sábado a siete de mañana. We spent the day lounging and catching up with the Powells. We mulled over our touristy options. Being the houseaholic that I am, I opted for the San Miguel de Allende Sunday House and Garden Tour which began shortly after the Processional… a wonderful parade of uncountable numbers of people … ages new-born to centenarians … up a steep narrow cobblestone hill.

The House and Garden Tour is Ranked #28 of 86 things to do in San Miguel de Allende by Lonely Planet travelers. “An English-language tour of the loveliest private homes and gardens (mostly of expatriates) in San Miguel begins at noon every Sunday from the Biblioteca (Library.)” But it’s only $150. That’s pesos. $18 US. And it’s all supervised by volunteers with all proceeds spent to help educate the local Mexican children, many of whom I saw marching in the Processional.

Jim accompanied me while Debbie and Susan shopped. We were told by “experts” that there was no rush to get to the Biblioteca near the center of town after the Processional, but Jim exited the Biblioteca Hombre’s baño just in time to break into the line for one of five buses with about 30 seats each to move 150 tourists to Home #1. I lost my nametag identifying me as a paid tour-member before I got on the bus, but nobody ever asked.

The ten minute ride stopped in front of a charming three-story modern house with a Sotheby’s sign. I'll save you the airfare to Mexico and show you the Blue Elephant right here. Just send me $150 pesos for the tour.

It’s called “The Blue Elephant” (seems every home there has a name), built by the first person to extend a hand inside the front door. An architect from Chicago, he built the home seven years ago. On first meeting I didn’t ask him the price. This place is really stunning and the price is shocking relative to what I have seen in the US. $550,000 USD. That’s the blue elephant just above the bench, left side of the blue door.

A picture is worth a thousand words. So I’ll save you 8,000 words. Just take a look at the pictures and draw your own conclusions. I’ll put the words of the Realtor after the pictures. Please don’t cheat and read ahead. Then I’ll finish with my conclusion.
$550,000 USD
2 Bedrooms
2 Full Baths
2 Partial Baths
2,357 Sq. Ft.
$233 / Sq. Ft.
Single Family Home

 The Realtor’s description: Contemporary home in a prime Centro location on a quiet Callejon minutes from the Jardin (center of town). Floor-to-ceiling walls of glass fill this home with light while offering views of the two mature gardens from all rooms. The open-concept living room/dining room boasts 18 foot boveda ceilings, cantera floors and a central indoor fountain. The fireplace and Rennai heater ensure a cozy warmth even on our coldest days. The open kitchen has quality cabinetry and hardware, stainless steel appliances and beautiful black marble counter tops. The kitchen opens to the outdoors and a lovely custom stone table, ideal for Al Fresco dining or for sipping a morning coffee while marveling at the birdlife. The striking green cantera curved staircase with its custom wrought iron railing leads to a private guest suite and a separate office with balcony. The master suite and huge art studio are located in a separate structure across the garden for maximum privacy. The art studio could easily be converted into a ground-floor master suite or family/TV room. The secluded rooftop patio is ideal for relaxing with a good book or for taking a quiet afternoon siesta. This fully-walled property with enclosed garage is offered furnished.

· I loved the house, but it’s not for me. Mexico’s laws are very different from U.S. laws. This house would not get an Occupancy Permit where I come from.

· There is no bedroom on the main floor and a pretty good circular staircase to the second floor.

· After climbing up and down several steep stairwells and getting ready to climb to the roof-top patio, I noticed one tour member pull her hand back from a wrought-iron bannister just before she fried it. It was about 82 degrees fh. When I got to the roof-top patio I determined that a child, senior or inebriate would very likely take a long fall over the short wall that surrounded the patio.

· It appeared that the parking in the community is a nightmare. Not enough. Easy to have your car blocked. (I didn’t see the garage).

· I would change the name from “The Blue Elephant” to “The White Elephant” figuring the owner would not likely be able to sell it for $550,000, maybe not at all.

David and Debbie with Jim Powell

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