When you’re feeling uninspired by the white, beiges and grays of home, get thee to Casa de Las Ranas, the house and garden of two American expats in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I went there on a House and Garden tour sponsored by the local library. According to a LA Times reviewer, it is “the happiest house in San Miguel”.
The owners of the property—artist Anado McLauchlin and his husband Richard Schultz—are world travellers and this is reflected in the decor, which, they say, celebrates everyday life. They bought this property in 2001 and set about making it uniquely their own. Certainly nothing is ordinary and there’s lots of humour, such as the mosaic-covered arch topped by the painted skeleton of a cow’s head holding up a chandelier.
Nothing is sacred either. An upright bathtub painted turquoise and framed by wine bottles is the shrine for the Madonna.
There’s a mural of the Hindu god Ganesh standing on McLauchlin’s shoulders.
Fences and even walls are made of empty wine bottles and there is a huge pile of bottles waiting to be used.
Garden paths are made of ceramics and glass. Plants fade into the background; the art dominates.
Images of McLauchlin and Schultz appear in the most unusual places. In person, they look a lot like Santa Claus with spectacles, albeit dressed in pink rather than red.
One of their first additions was McLauchlin’s studio called the Chapel of Jimmy Ray, Jimmy Ray being a mythical figure. Collages are on display here, most made from found objects. We hear that just about everything in the house and garden can be purchased.
The interior of the home is just as colourful as the garden. A purple fireplace dominates the living room and a wall in one of the bedrooms is painted in swirls of purple and orange. The kitchen is red.
There’s a small red room dedicated to the artist’s father, a physician who I understand was a little disappointed by his son.
Almost every surface of the home is covered in decoration: tiles, beads, painted dots, a Rajasthan wedding embroidery, shrines. People on the tour call it outrageous but I love the sheer extravagance of the place.
Information on upcoming tours and workshops can be found on their website: www.madebyanado.com
By Sylvia Fanjoy
Photo credits Sylvia Fanjoy
© Riding the buses™ 2015