The tower view


ATOP THE LAVATORY of the kitchen/storefront under construction out near the street is a space enclosed by brick that will house the water tank. We have dubbed that high spot la torre, the tower.

I ascended by ladder yesterday, camera in hand, and was pleased by perspectives I’d never seen before. Above, you see the Hacienda house. Long-time passersby know that I’m inordinately fond of bragging on this place that we designed ourselves on graph paper in 2002. We hired no architect.

We’ve had fun decorating it over the years (I am an artiste!) and I was amused when John Calypso once commented that the living room looks like the lobby of a Turkish hotel.

That ivy-covered wall is stone. Its top is formed in the shape of the Alamo, and it was my idea to build it there to block the view toward the house from Nosy Parkers in the street when the main gate is open.

The orange edifice at the far right is the third story of the sex motel next door, its laundry room. If you click on the photo, it should get larger. That smoke at the rear is from the kiln of a family business that makes clay roof tiles. It’s farther away than it appears here. They made the tiles of our house way back when.

The yellow paint around the upstairs terraza is fresh, part of the work the construction crew has already done unrelated to the kitchen/storefront. Our second story is basically one huge room though it also has a walk-in closet and a bathroom with shower. The left-most window is where my desk and computer sit.

Downstairs, the window nearest you, is the bedroom. It’s the only actual bedroom in the house. We also have a bed upstairs for emergencies, but that big space is more than a bedroom. It houses my “office” in the corner, a gym set, two recliners and a nice Samsung TV for watching Netflix. The room isn’t cramped, due to its size.

At the right side of the archway entrance downstairs, a sharp eye will detect a stalk growing out of a tequila maguey. That stalk ascends higher than the second story of the house. I see it directly outside the window above my computer screen, and it’s a favored sitting spot in the mornings for a couple of black-vented orioles.

Things grow like mad here at 7,200 feet ASL. That fan palm behind the ceramic swan atop the wall is huge, and I planted it years ago when it was a tyke in a plastic pot. Same goes for the nopal tree at the far right and the yellow-green maguey to the left and the monster aloe vera a bit more to the left.

I planted them all when they were about the size of my hand. Stuff never grew like this back in Houston even though the climate is not all that different if you don’t count that Houston summers are far hotter.

That red wall you see extending to the orange property wall at the left, rear, is just a barrier I had built a few years after we moved in. It simply hides what I now call the Garden Patio. It has a concrete floor beneath which is a 9,000-liter cistern, another large above-ground water tank, and it’s where I keep yard gear.

It appears to have a tile roof, but that’s actually a neighbor’s house across the street back there.

The tower also provides an interesting view of the street out front. I should have photographed that too. I was going to shoot it this morning, but there’s too much fog. Maybe mañana. I want to get this item into the mail.

16 thoughts on “The tower view

  1. I have long admired your house — from the day I first stopped by one of your earlier blog incarnations. As magnificent as it is on the screen, its true personality is revealed in person. That may be true for the master of the house, as well.


    1. Thanks, Steve. It’s been a few years since you’ve been here, and it gets better all the time because we’re always adding stuff. Of course, you have also added to the stuff. It sits on a fireplace mantle at this moment just behind me.


    1. Cat: When I moved south, I came with two suitcases and a plan. The plan was to learn Spanish, marry a Mexican woman and, with her help, buy property and build a house. I had no house design in my mind at that time, just that I wanted to build a house.

      Within three years my plan was done. Of course, the Spanish is an ongoing element, but I can converse pretty well in Spanish, and I do so daily due to my wife’s marginal English. I rarely speak English. Were I not mouthing off online every day, I likely would have forgotten much of it by now. Sometimes I forget English words, which is a strange sensation.

      I wanted the house to look Mexican, but most Gringos who move down here want that too. The main difference in how I did it and how they almost always do it is that they go for adobe or, barring that, the color of adobe. We have that nowhere except on the exterior property wall that faces the front street. Our colors are much brighter.


      1. I have been in areas where the colors were more pastel and other areas where they are bright and vibrant like yours only on the outside of houses built from cement blocks and sometimes stucco. Those always seem to catch my eye before the pastels do. Both are nice in their own way, but I really love all those beautiful colors you have decorated the interior of your Hacienda with! 🙂


    1. Patzman: It’s a double lot. The two run parallel side by side from the street out front to the street out back. It’s a mixed blessing. It looks very nice, which is good, but it requires a good bit of labor, which is bad.


  2. Tinacos are not very pretty. I sense you’ve been thinking about how to deal with this dilemma for quite some time. A brick tower is a perfect solution. After all, a man’s home is his castle.


    1. Andrés: Actually, tinacos are so universal that I scarcely even notice them anymore. It was my wife who wanted to hide this one behind a wall, so that’s what is happening. I could have lived perfectly well with it, especially the newer beige ones.


  3. A veritable compound, like the Kennedys’ place in Hyannis, which makes you Baron of the Barrio.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we know well the mixed blessings of a large garden.


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