In a few weeks, we’ll be visiting Mérida for the first time since our
renovation home-building project began. We’re told we’ll drive around and see existing homes to discuss designs and concepts. They will point at an an example of Ticul stone, and with any luck, Paul and I will both nod or shake our heads in unison. Our architects don’t like ”faux rustique,” as they call it, and we agree. I keep saying that I almost don’t care if the design is modern or traditional, as long as it’s executed well. But now, we have to sort out where we’ll land on that continuum, because we also don’t want it to appear we salvaged a property that washed ashore from Vero Beach.
For the weekend, I’m sick and confined to the sofa, and cocooning myself with all the “Hacienda Style”-type books. I buy every one that I find, which I guess makes me kind of a rube. But as I’ve discovered, you can’t Google “chukum” and find much at all, but there it was, explained in my copy of “Casa Yucatán.” Not knowing how to spell chukum, and suspecting that, considering its origin and pronunciation, it might begin with an x, didn’t help things. I thought I wanted chukum, which is a finish that mixes the resin of a local tree of the same name with limestone. But then a real estate agent, on one of his YouTube hacienda tours, compared it to Venetian plaster. I hate Venetian plaster. So now I’m confused, or maybe I’ve only seen poor examples of Venetian plaster. And I can’t find much information about it because it’s apparently a distinctly local technique, which is a big point in its favor. Here in Fairfield County, Venetian plaster was biggest when our Colonial homes gave way to Tuscan mcmansions. I suspect in Yucatán, “Mexican plaster” will be a more naturalistic design.
Have you ever seen something so new, so different, that you didn’t know whether or not you liked it? That’s been us, for two years, as we’ve explored the world of plunge pools, pasta tiles, bathtubs molded out of concrete, sinks that were cattle troughs, and stone chinking. From nearly the beginning I knew I didn’t want a palapa in the Centro, but after that, I’ve been fairly wishy washy — not wishing to dismiss concepts that might just take time. A distress sale in the heart of the the gulch almost had us the proud owners of a rooftop plunge pool, a term I also had to Google. I never did learn to swim, so a plunge pool made sense for me until I heard how hot a shallow pool of water becomes in the summertime. The big pools hardly ever get warm enough, and the plunge pools hold tea water. We backed away from the distress sale and we have no regrets.
So here we are, no excuses. We’ve had two years to study, and now we have to commit to our ideas, literally, in stone.