Swanking the Hacienda

Parota, a wood I’d never heard of.

WHEN WE MOVED into the Hacienda 16 years ago, there was lots of open space due to our not having much furniture at that time.

Our dining room set was tossed together in this way: My child bride had a four-chair set in her condo in Mexico City. We brought that here, put the table out to pasture, and ordered a six-chair table and two more chairs from a carpenter.

It was a rustic, Colonial design, and it served us adequately until just recently when we were rambling around for fun in a nearby town called Cuanajo that specializes in furniture. Cuanajo is chockablock with furniture workshops and showrooms.

The potholed town has been making furniture since the 16th century, or so said the fellow who delivered the dining room set you see in the photo above. It is made of parota, a tropical hardwood. I’d never heard of parota.

During our recent ramble through Cuanajo, we saw the eight-chair set and fell in love, or as much as one can fall in love with furniture. Since my spouse recently had some cash drop into her lap from an inheritance, we bought it. It is very swanky.


We advertised the previous six-chair set on an internet forum that caters to Gringos in our area, and it sold lickety-split. One justification we used for buying the new set is that when we have relatives over, they always come en masse (Mexicans!) and there’s never an easy way to seat them all. Now we have two more chairs at least and a larger table.

We even got to choose the fabric of the padded chair seats. The checkered design is cloth woven right here on the mountaintop. Support your local artisans!

The Hacienda didn’t change much for 16 years until recently when we removed and replaced the yard patio and then completely revamped the upstairs terraza, which included relocating the circular stairway to the other end of the house and installing yet another steel stairway from the “service patio” to the kitchen roof.

The new greenish shade net sits atop the glass, not below.

As part of the upstairs terraza renovation, we installed a yellow shade net beneath the glass-and-steel roof. Click here to see how it looked then. That, however, was a mistake because it trapped and murdered mobs of insects that either rested up there visibly dead, or were wind-blown to the terraza floor to be swept up every morning. Yuck.

The new net is dark green and rests atop the glass roof, a better plan that does not trap and execute wayward, dimwitted insects.

We get more elegant every day, and we’re kind to bugs.

17 thoughts on “Swanking the Hacienda

    1. Ms. Shoes: It is lovely indeed. We were in the capital city today, and we bought new placemats and napkin holder. As for hosting the fiestas you mention, well, we’ll see. I wouldn’t bet the Hacienda on it.


  1. I like the green net on top. The table is definitely a work of art as well as the chairs. Y’all have great taste.


    1. Thirsty: Well thank you, sir (I’m assuming you’re a sir, but women get thirsty too.)

      Yeah, the green net is good, but I did like that yellow. Oh, well, it’s an imperfect world in which we live.


  2. Very nice-looking table. That Parota wood is very nice with different colors. Just use light oils to bring out the grain, and that protects it also. You two have made several nice changes to your hacienda in the last year. Large family gatherings is what that table needs.


    1. Kirk: Yep, it’s a nice-looking table. Alas, large family gatherings give me the willies, so I suspect 99 percent of the time, it’ll be the two of us dining there. At least, we’ll be doing it in style.


  3. Oil is the last thing you want to use on parota. It is extremely porous and will soak it up and darken the wood. Regardless, the table I am sure came with a finish, more than likely lacquer, and all it needs is something like Pledge to remove any blemishes and maintain its sheen. Tables made from thick parota slabs, 10 to 15cm, are and have been all the rage for the past few years.


  4. Parota is the wood of choice here on the Pacific coast. Often compared with teak. Its greatest selling point is that the wood is insect-resistant. Well, the dark portion is. It comes in two varieties — from the same trunk. Chocolate and vanilla. Our insects are repulsed by the chocolate, but they find the vanilla yummy. You have chosen wisely, sir.


    1. Señor Cotton: Now that you mention it, I do recall coastal people referring to this wood and for the reason you mention. But we have scant insect problems of this sort here. It’s just a very pretty wood. We lack many of the problems one finds on the coast, and that’s a great thing.


        1. Gerard: Of course, there are insects everywhere, but we don’t have anywhere near the bug problem that exists in coastal areas. It’s one of the many advantages of not residing on a sweltering Mexican coastline.


    2. It is never compared to teak. To start with, people on the coast don’t even know what teak is. Teak is a dense and stable hardwood, parota is extremely soft (although a hardwood) and unstable. It swells and shrinks big time with the changes in humidity. It is easily scratched and dinged. It has 3 redeeming qualities. Resistance (heartwood only) to insect attack and rot and attractiveness. The white portion isn’t a variety. It is sapwood and it is extremely susceptible to insect attack. Most of the wood comes from its large limbs and not the trunk.

      The color can vary from a dark, almost black to a cafe con leche tan. That depends mostly on the soil conditions. The dust, while machining it, is very harsh. Some woodworkers develop allergies. You really don’t want to breathe its dust.


  5. Felipe,

    I can’t opine on the +/- of Parota vs. other hardwoods like some of your other obviously better informed commenters. However, I can say without a doubt that it is beautiful and that you and your child bride have a good eye for nice things.



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