A COURTYARD HOME
“My home is based on the Mexican courtyard concept,” Russell explains. Three sides of the main home surround the courtyard patio with a sparkling 12′ x 40′ pool and spa area, while a detached building housing two guest bedrooms and a private patio creates the fourth side.
True to traditional Mexican architecture, open rooms and wide, long hallways abound with seemingly miles of wall space. “Everything is light and airy, and the large walls feel like your own private modern art gallery space,” says Russell. In fact, well-known abstract artists’ works are displayed on many of the vast, linear walls. Low-voltage lighting wired to a programmable system was installed throughout the house specifically with art in mind. To decorate the house in compatible style, Russell also acquired “most of the custom-made contemporary furniture – some designed by Peter himself – in oversized proportions to fit the large spaces.”
The ample wall space also plays a second role. To Peter Magee, “The wall is almost a sacred element of Mexican architecture.” To highlight plays of light and shadow, accent angles or maybe to frame a spectacular view, he slices walls with vertical slits or squares. For example, in the master bath a punched-out grid of squares breaks up the view while conserving privacy. Distinctive alcoves add interest, too, as in the spectacular dining room where an illuminated, glass-framed recessed planter is filled with Mexican fencepost cactus against a dramatic red background.
Yet another dining room wall includes an art niche with back lighting. A third wall houses a built-in, cherry cabinetry sideboard unit with a granite countertop. And most dramatic of all, the 11′ x 15′ dining room features one floor-to-ceiling glass wall that overlooks the pool and patio area plus the panoramic mountain vista beyond, with spectacular sunsets on full display every evening.