Authors Karen Witynski and Joe P. Carr have a love affair with all things Mexican, having been at the forefront of the Mexican design movement for over 25 years as interior designers and antiques dealers. Through their Austin, TX-based Texture Antiques, an interior design firm and gallery specializing in hacienda style, their restoration work and consulting work, they also have found time to author a series of six books with titles including Mexican Country Style, The New Hacienda, Casa Adobe and Mexican Details, among others.
“It is our captivation with the richness of the Mexican culture,”
say the authors, “and its handcrafted design details that has
been our compass.”
If you are looking for inspiration, then, on how to create a livable,
loveable Mexican-inspired interior, look no further than their library
of finely photographed and written books on this subject. They have
taken the rich cultural legacy of Spain and Mexico, and its influence
on today’s Southwestern American interiors, and encapsulated
them into these fine volumes.
Their most recent entry, Mexican Details, was born in part from
many years of traveling for Texture Antiques and also through the
research done for previous publications. Too, the authors had been
working on a restoration project, an 18-century colonial hacienda
named Petac, which they described as “graceful in decay and
ripe with restorative possibilities.” Their design and restoration
process was a critical step in their creative evolution.
CELEBRATION OF STYLE
The book is divided into sections, the first being Color & Texture,
a true celebration of the vibrancy and presence of Mexico’s
color legacy. Page through this chapter and discover how color has
been used throughout the centuries to represent spiritual beliefs
and cultural traditions. For example, red (chac) represents east,
the dawn, the blood of sacrifice and rain; while yellow (kan) represents
south, life-sustaining corn and midday sun.
In glorious photos, indigo blues offer a welcome contrast to ochres
and cinnabar reds. Wrought iron details stand out gracefully against
natural clay tones and stark white limestone.
In the chapter entitled, Cochinas (kitchens), the warmth of time-honored
tradition coupled with bold walls and brightly patterned tile floors
offer plenty of ideas on how to make a kitchen come alive. Other
sections include Outdoor Living with breezy portales and cobbled
courtyards, and my favorite chapter, Devotional Elements and how
the Spanish Catholic culture affected prominent artists and craftsmen.
Throughout the book, the authors describe how they adopted beautifully
weathered old doors, gates and other once-utilitarian elements into
console and coffee tables, headboards and more. Each pages bursts
wide with color and culture. Truly, like a trip to Mexico.
Finally, Witynski and Carr offer a corresponding Web site for further
exploration and also, their restored Petac is now open to the public
as a vacation rental so you can experience the beauty of their restoration
work firsthand. For more information, visit www.mexicanstyle.com.
Kathleen Stoehr is president of Chemistry Creative, based in Minneapolis,
MN. She has more than eight years’ experience covering trends,
window treatments and interior fashions, and is a former editor-in-chief
of Window Fashions magazine. Stoehr can be contacted for comments,
queries and trend information at firstname.lastname@example.org.