The property’s lush gardens and jacaranda trees provide bold color that complements the interior palette. The newly constructed guest Casita features its own Sala Abierta facing the saltwater pool, a bedroom suite on each of its two floors and a roof terrace with views of San Miguel de Allende.
A palette of blue and white unifies all the spaces throughout the property. Inspired by local tile, it varies quite a bit from one room to another, but everything essentially is blue and white. “This is not something we would typically do, but it felt very appropriate in Mexico,” explains Weisman. He and Fisher have always been drawn to the tradition of blue and white in the decorative arts, whether it’s from China or Mexico and across cultures and periods.
Guest rooms combine comfort with luxury and reinforces the continuity of the blue and white palette that’s woven throughout the property.
Located in the historic city center, Casa Acanto’s understated main entrance conceals the grandeur of the vacation property which boasts five bedrooms and seven full bathrooms.
A custom blue-and-white frieze inspired by local decorative art traditions anchors the kitchen in Mexico, while the mesquiteand-sabino-wood island with bronze legs sculpted by Andrew Fisher provide the Fisher Weisman stamp.
The designers added the architecturally challenging outdoor living room (Sala Abierta) adjoining the dining room of the main house. The Sala Abierta is a favorite spot for entertaining and cooking on an Argentinian grill.
A turn of the cards, literally, played a commanding role in Fisher Weisman’s choice of their second home in San Miguel de Allende.
Andrew Fisher and Jeffry Weisman, the principals of San Francisco-based Fisher Weisman, weren’t quite ready to scout locations for a vacation home in Mexico. When Weisman’s sister returned from a bridge tournament in San Miguel de Allende she reported, “I have no question in my mind you’re going to live there.” “It’s exactly where I picture you.”
Just four weeks later, the designers got an unexpected call from Sotheby’s asking if they were interested in selling their Sonoma County property. “The price was right,” says Weisman, “and we booked our next vacation to San Miguel. By the second day, we had already started looking for property.” “We literally both just walked into the town and said, ‘Yep, she’s right. This is where we want to be.’”
The house they purchased had been built in the 18th century as a tannery and had been remodeled several times for residential use over the years – essentially a series of generic white boxes. Fisher and Weisman kept most of the rooms their original sizes, but they also added rooms, opened spaces and changed all the finishes.
Weisman points out, though, that people who go to a new location can go overboard in their designs, especially foreigners when they go to a new country, and the house quickly becomes kitsch because they fell in love with every little thing about this new place and new culture. The challenge is to edit it well enough as not to cross that line.
“Everyone including locals think that what they’re seeing is much older than it really is,” tells Weisman. “When we explain that we literally took it down to nothing, they’re just dumbfounded, and I love that.”
The new wood beams, for example, look like they’ve always been there. “The craftsmen in our area have become experts at antiquing,” he adds. “All of the tile floors in the house are brand new. Each tile was rubbed with a mixture of tar and gasoline – one at a time by hand – to get the perfect ancient leathery effect.”
A blue and white palette unifies the spaces throughout the property. Inspired by local tile, it varies quite a bit from one room to another, but everything is essentially blue and white. “This is not something we would typically do, but it felt very appropriate in Mexico,” shares Weisman. He and Fisher have always been drawn to the tradition of blue and white in the decorative arts, whether it’s from China or Mexico and across cultures and periods.
The overall goal was to create a luxurious house that feels like it belongs in San Miguel, not like and American transplant. However, it couldn’t be so local that it didn’t have the Fisher Weisman stamp.
The couple mixed it up with a lot of French and Italian antiques. They designed a lot of the furniture and, made all the upholstery. “We weren’t just going to the local store to pick up the decorative elements,” Weisman tells. “Andrew Fisher, my husband and partner, created most of what you see on the walls because he’s an artist. We’ve amassed so much art in our lives thus far. We brought many of our favorite antiques and decorative objects, dishes and so forth with us from California. It all melded together really well.”
Fisher’s sculpture and the duo’s furniture collection have both been inspired by acanthus leaves. Acanthus in Spanish is “acanto” and that’s why they named their home in San Miguel de Allende Casa Acanto. “Also, there’s an acanthus in the garden,” adds Weisman. “It seemed like kismet.”
Photography Courtesy of Grey Crawford.
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