The Hacienda marks its quinceañera

WHILE THE BIG adolescent birthday above the Rio Bravo is Sweet Sixteen, down here it’s the 15th, which we call quinceañera. Quince is 15 in español.

The Hacienda marks its 15th birthday this month, which is to say it was complete, more less, and we moved into the house in May of 2003. It looked like this:

Home done, but the yard still a mess in 2003.

We hired no architect, and we used no blueprints. We drew what we wanted on graph paper and handed it to “the guys.” This is how part of it looked:


My civil engineer child bride drew the top part, which is the downstairs terraza. I was not planning on arches. That was her good idea. The bottom part was drawn by me. It’s the downstairs floor plan.

Now you know where everything is. Downstairs, at least. We only planned on building the downstairs initially. We were going to wait to do the upstairs, but “the guys,” three of them, plus a helper, were so responsible and talented we didn’t want to lose them, so we continued nonstop with the upstairs.

I took photos of the entire construction process that lasted nine months. They were digital photos, and I stored them on my computer, a computer that suffered a hard-drive meltdown when all was done. I lost all the photos.

Moral: Always create backups.

Here’s a view from 2014. It’s not much different now:

One of my favorite photos. I took it in 2014.

I often crow here about the place because I’m proud of it. While the two of us did it, I did the lion’s share, most of the design, almost all of the color, almost all of the interior artwork. Some folks find it overboard, especially inside.

I don’t care. I love it.

I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in my life. Runner-up goes to a house in Jacksonville, Florida, where I lived with my family from age 7 to 17.

Second runner-up is the Houston home I shared with my second ex-wife from 1986 to 1995, just one year less than the spell in Florida. There is no third runner-up because I moved around too much.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself, a middle-class Georgia Cracker, living in a place like this, but here I am. Not only that, but with a lovely child bride. At times, life exceeds expectations greatly.

Sometimes I think I should pinch myself, but I might wake up.

I sure as shootin’ don’t want that.

Felíz quinceañera, Hacienda!

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(As always, a horde of Hacienda photos available here.)

24 thoughts on “The Hacienda marks its quinceañera

  1. Looks like a casa in search of a fiesta to celebrate. Invite a gaggle of those relatives over and get it on.


      1. What?!? No over-the-top party that you can ill-afford??? What the hell kind of Mexican are you, anyway?

        At least the house is lovely, though. I’ll have to visit you again one of these years.


        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where it’s nice to be back in a house with some color.


        1. Kim: Clearly, you missed my previous reply to another commenter. We partied till the middle of last night. Now it’s a matter of sweeping confetti and tossing scads of empty bottles of cheap champagne in the trash bin. Maybe we’ll do it again next year for Sweet Sixteen.

          You were sorely missed at the fiesta.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Just so you know, I do private housesitting. No need to pay me. I’ll pay my own way to and from. Will clean for free, that includes yard work as well. Grocery shopping on my own is no problem, I know where to get it. Take your time while away, do not hurry home. You know where to reach me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leisa: Thanks for the info. Who knows for the future? However, the Hacienda is a pooch-free zone if that is an issue for you. I just read what you said on Ray Clifton’s blog.


      1. Teasing about housesitting; although I indeed do it. Your home is feast to the eye that craves color and texture. Gorgeous artwork and most likely native to your surroundings. You and your wife have done a lovely job making it your home. Happy 15th To Your Happy Home!


          1. Would that be the category of: “As my mother told my second wife decades ago while we were walking down a street in New Orleans: He don’t understand subtlety. She was correct.”

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Felíz Quinceañera to your casa, and you living there. I remember seeing the older photo from when I lived in Puerto Escondido. Stuff really grows fast in Mexico.

    I am on the side that thinks your decorating is excellent. I will admit that the color of the kitchen tiles is not to my taste, but in the grand scheme, it’s none of my business, and if I lived with it, I would probably change my opinion. I find that the shapes, shadows, colors and textures, both inside and out, engage the eye and therefore stimulate the brain … when done well. You have done it well. I find minimalism and bare walls boring.

    May the next 15 be as satisfying as the first.


    1. Thanks, Kris. The house has been partying since dawn. I’m telling it to calm down, but it’s not listening.

      Funny you should mention the kitchen tile color. They delivered the wrong color. We had ordered yellow. What we got was mustard, a form of yellow, of course, but not the form I wanted. Since there was a ton of it, and it had come from Dolores Hidalgo, and my wife liked it, we just went with it. I like it well enough now, but I would have preferred the yellow we ordered. Such is life. Imperfect.


  4. Lots of houses used to be built more or less that way up north, too. Basically, you’d get some ideas out of a pattern book, and the carpenter took it from there. One guy I used to read about who built beautiful houses used to joke that he used drawings to get a permit, and then threw them in a drawer and never looked at them again.

    Of course, you can do it successfully the other way around. My favorite house ever is the James House in Carmel California by Charles Greene, who stood next to the stonemason and often made him redo sections of wall. (Well worth googling images for James House Carmel.)


    1. Creigh: We should have stood next to our construction honcho at times because he was not averse to going his own way in spite of what we had told him. But it all turned out okay in the end. My wife has more complaints about the place than I do.

      I did look at the James House, which I had never heard of. Now, there’s some serious stone.


    1. Gracias, Señor Gill. It was quite a blow-out party that did not wind down till 3 a.m. or so. Now we’ve got to sweep up all the confetti and bottles of cheap champagne. We should hire a maid.


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