I’m a writer, and this is my writer’s retreat. It is a quiet place
yet so close to everything. The house sits in the shadow of the mountain.
The sunrises are breathtaking.
I wish I could live in Chapala year-round, but alas, I cannot.
If I am out researching, I cannot also be in Chapala.
I prefer to have my house lived in full-time.
I’m happy to share my retreat with you, whether for a few months,
a half-year, or longer.
I renovated this authentic vintage Mexican house in 2014 while I was working on a book. Local artisans did all of the work. I am sure you will meet them on the streets of the neighborhood and they will proudly tell you what they did on the project.
Although this is an authentic Mexican neighborhood, a number of Americans or Canadians do live on the block and in the neighborhood. So you will not feel isolated unless you wish.
The house was built in the 1970s by the Martinez family, a local family that still lives in the area. The Martinezes had seventeen children, and yes, they all lived in this one house.
The downstairs was formerly one giant kitchen — to feed nineteen people — and a large dining room. The patriarch of the family sat at a long, custom-made dining table that took up the entire dining room. As was the custom back in those days, the bathroom was separate from the house — it’s the small front building which today is a laundry and storage room.
The parents kept adding on rooms as the family grew. First the house had just the downstairs. It had a breathtaking view, because the trees were not as high as they are today. Then they added on the front of the upper story. The upstairs living area was the back yard. As the family grew, they added the back two bedrooms and created a new upper back yard. Later, the rooftop patio was added.
When he got older, father Martinez was diagnosed with a heart condition, and eventually was unable to walk up the stairs. For his health, the family sold the house and moved to a one-story home on the other side of the Chapala Plaza. Of course the children no longer live at home, so they didn’t need all the extra bedrooms anymore.
Today the children are still friends with the locals — now all grown with children of their own — and you may meet them around.