Posted in Mexico Living on May 07, 2013 by Adri
Yes, the kitchen is the heart of your Mexican home. Do you remember the beautiful onion slicing scene in the movie “Like Water for Chocolate?” I do. It seems to me that any memories that involve food and kitchens are always more vivid. It makes perfect sense: they are accompanied by flavor, color, textures, aromas all of which makes them more evocative and powerful.
Building a great Mexican kitchen
When considering your furniture choices in Mexico, do pay close and special attention to your kitchen. Not only is it the heart of your Mexican home or condo, but often kitchen space becomes a combination of dining room, living room, hang out place and oasis of relaxation (if you like cooking and entertaining, that is!) Following these 5 tips will help improve your kitchen, wherever in the world it is … but especially if it is in Mexico.
1. Plan for ample kitchen storage space
In Mexico, kitchens tend to need to breathe more. The humidity in some areas makes homeowners opt for open shelving so that everything can breathe and air out. Regardless of where your Mexican kitchen is, though, you must plan for ample storage space that can accommodate your activities and your family's entertaining needs so that you can easily put things away. When we have no storage place, things end up on counters or other places in your home. Good planning and ample storage space makes for a clutter-free kitchen.
2. Build and furnish your kitchen for its 5 uses
Your kitchen will be used to store, prepare, wash, cook food, and also for connecting. Make sure you consider these uses when you are choosing furniture, storage, space requirements and even color design for your Mexican kitchen.
3. The ergonomics of a great Mexican kitchen
Everything you will need must be accessible so that you can use, prep, cook or share it as easily and swiftly as possible. If you are left-handed and you are the primary cook, then the handles, doors, drawers should be designed and built for your needs. Very heavy items should not be in bottom drawers or cabinets. If they are, someone will get hurt as they lift them over time. Plan the space considering your family and guests so that the kitchen area works well for you whether you are alone in your Mexican kitchen or cooking while friends and family sip margaritas while delighting in the aromas, colors and textures of your food preparation.
4. Cleaning up (and organizing) the kitchen as we go along
Plan your kitchen organization for visual appeal as well as practical appeal and invest in organization systems as you go along. It is easier to incorporate organization while you are planning and considering your furniture needs rather than afterwards. In my kitchen, I have a motto of “clean up as you go along.” In my humble opinion, a clean organized kitchen is one hundred percent more joyful.
5. In your Mexican kitchen, just as in life, beauty is in the details
Details such as counter stools, kitchen islands, drawer pulls and even kitchen utensils should be practical, but also aesthetically pleasing to you. The more enjoyment you are able to feel and cultivate in your kitchen, the more enjoyment your family and guests will derive from the food that comes out of it. Just as we have to be in the right “inner space” to cook a great meal, everything we feel, sense and think of while we prepare food goes into the food and is experienced by those partaking of it. A happy beautifully designed soothing kitchen with colors, furniture and accents that make you feel joyful and composed will be the wonderful, vital, nourishing heart of your home.
Posted in Announcements on April 14, 2013 by Adri
Ah, colorful Mexico!
I am on board my flight and we take off from Mexico City’s Benito Juarez Airport. It is the dry season, so sadly the smoke from agricultural fires and the haze of pollution limit visibility quite a bit. Once the plane begins to lift, I notice (in spite of the poor visibility) the plethora of bright colors below, not just in the flowering jacaranda trees, radiantly purple and bright, but also in the shops, homes, public buildings. In this land of beautiful contrasts, lovely art and amazing natural gifts, even the most basic buildings are painted in bright colors. Bright blue, yellow, green, pink, red, turquoise. In Mexico, color is a way of life. Color greets us, nudges us, coaxes us and delights us as we visit Mexico.
Color is everywhere in Mexico and not just in furniture
Just think of the colorful array of spices at the San Juan de Dios Market in Guadalajara, or the bugambilias in full bloom in the central square in Puebla. Think of the lovely colorful combinations in Huichol art and the exquisite embroidery in the gorgeous huipiles (Frida made them famous) women wear. Isn’t it inspiring and cheerful? I know that once this airplane lands I will be once again surrounded by snow … for a little while yet. Maybe this is why the colorful images stay with me … I may need them in a few more weeks when I once again become completely parched for bright color.
Why we love bright color in Mexican furniture and decor
When furnishing your home or condo in Mexico, one of the most fun ways to add pizzazz to your interior design is by choosing one or more pieces of furniture to be painted in bright colors. This is partly why I love our Cottage furniture line. These pieces are happy, fun accents for your Mexican home décor. Another way to bring bright color in and celebrate that you are in fact now living in Mexico is to use colorful Mexican art, pillows or blankets in your interior design. You can still create a relaxing, organic, natural and even sophisticated feel in your Mexican home with the large pieces of furniture. But to give it some local allure and character, accent with bright color. That way you are tilting your hat, so to speak, to all that is joyous and colorful and lovely and inviting in Mexico. For other ideas, see our previous blog post featuring cottage furniture for Mexico.
Posted in Announcements on January 28, 2013 by Adri
Last year a record number of friends and family came to see us and stayed with us. It was wonderful to have a chance to catch up, share meals, show them around and reconnect in a relaxed and cozy environment rather than in a hotel, for example. We gave lots of thought to the needs, wants and wishes of each house guest in order to make sure they were comfortable and at ease. We know how amazing it can be to have a restful and nourishing place to land especially when one is traveling and away from home.
Certain Mexican furniture pieces are ideal to help make your guests be more comfortable
The rich beautiful woods, finishes and textures in Mexican furniture immediately help people feel cozy and at home. For the most part, Mexican furniture tends to be warm and inviting. But there are a number of pieces that can help make your guests feel not just at home but really well taken care of. Pieces of furniture that tell your guests their comfort is important to you. In Mexico, one of these pieces is the armoire. Many Mexican homes or properties do not have closet space. Especially in traditional Mexican haciendas, or colonial homes, closet space is a rarity. Armoires then become necessary as they allow your guests to not just fold but also hang up their clothes, get organized and feel more settled right away. Also, a great Mexican armoire can be the focal point of your guest bedroom, allowing you to leave additional towels, blankets and maybe even a few essential toiletries for your guests ... while keeping everything organized.
The other Mexican furniture piece with sweet potential for welcoming your guests is the night table. Our night tables have diverse personalities from Cottage to Mission Style to Zen. In some ways they are extensions of the bed. The opportunity here is to use the night stand to leave something special for your guest. Maybe a nice bottle of water, a small vase with a few flowers, a small container of chocolates, or even one or two children's books. The third piece of Mexican furniture I love for guest bedrooms is the chest or trunk. It adds a touch of mystique and adventure, lets you store additional pillows, maybe a teddy bear, and you can even place lavender bottles or drawer liners inside to make sure everything is beautifully and freshly scented for your guests.
A great guest bedroom is the perfect canvas for showing your friends and your family how much they matter to you, how much you care. Mexican furniture pieces can help you make this statement with additional warmth, beauty and unique details.
Posted in Announcements on December 08, 2012 by Adri
Hard to believe it is already December 2012. As we celebrate the closing of a year and the end of this cycle, we have so much to be grateful for: the opportunity to be alive, to be well, to be working with passion and joy, and to have many friends, colleagues and customers who make it all worthwhile every single day. It's time for celebrating and for honoring all that we have shared and received.
In Mexico, during feast times, people hang ornaments (see above) at the entrance of their homes. Some are made of dried flowers, or ribbons or seeds. The ornaments shown here are made of palm fronds in Guerrero. I found them recently in Mexico and loved them. We have shared them with our customers this holiday season as a way to say "Thanks!"
So ... let's see... what have we been up to this past year? In taking stock, we found the following highlights:
Gringo Furniture on Pinterest
We heard about Pinterest and began sharing our furniture, our blogs as well as connecting with others in this fun and creative community. It has given us a chance to see what you like, share new products and even be a little quirky and funny with our postings. Find out more about our Pinterest boards here.
Added new Mexican furniture styles and exciting pieces
This year we added our Rococo Collection to our Designer Series as well as a number of outdoor furniture options in natural as well as all-weather rattan to the website. You probably agree that the Rococo furniture pieces are at the very least "conversation starters" and very unique.
Developed Furniture Style Quiz
I had wanted to offer a furniture quiz on our site for a long time and it was a great feeling to have this as part of our site. If you have not yet taken the quiz, please do so, it is a fun way to re-acquaint with your own style and furniture preferences and to let others know what you like, perhaps even compare notes with your friends and family.
Published 11 new blog posts this year
The blog posts are great because they provide us with a way to reach out and connect with you on a more personal tone and level. They are also opportunities to share tips, design ideas and to show you key furniture pieces to tempt and inspire!
Enjoyed setting up new partnerships in Mexico
Businesses are about people and partnerships. This year we were very fortunate to find a number of strong new service providers and new partnerships in order to serve you better. It was exciting to collaborate with and to support one another. The other side of the equation is continuing to appreciate our core providers and further developing our relationships and strong business practices with them. When it comes to providing great Mexican furniture reliably, beautifully and safely, it absolutely take s a village :-).
Stay tuned for exciting Mexican furniture developments in 2013
We are always looking for new and exciting products, artisans, artists and services to offer you. A new year represents a bright new opportunity to grow, to inspire and to enjoy new levels of providing gorgeous furniture, reliably and at cost-effective prices for your Mexican home. As we close this year, we look forward to hearing from you and growing and developing our business and our product offerings together.
Thank you for a great 2012 and Best Wishes for a wonderful 2013!
Posted in Products on October 16, 2012 by Adri
Just back from Mexico
I returned from Mexico a week ago. Not sure if the same thing happens to you, but I was again amazed at the beauty of communal life in Mexico: Village Life. The sum total of experiences that revolve around people, around the markets, around artisanal work, around taking pride in the preparation of food, the sharing with friends, the walks to and from the mercado or the church. This kind of slower pace and more connected and "in-tune" perspective is so very Mexico. There is hardly any need (or point) to being in a rush when you are in Mexico. The experience changes you. So in this blog post I want to pay homage to a piece of furniture evocative of slowing down and enjoying life. I'm talking about the antique bench.
A Mexican Reclaimed Wood Story
Here's a little story: During a prior trip to Mexico a few years back, we had a chance to visit a huge reclaimed wood workshop. I felt the way Charlie must have felt in the Chocolate Factory. I mean there were all manner of antique, discarded, dilapidated and reclaimed objects all over this factory. If a church or building in Mexico goes into disrepair, these wood artisans purchase or claim the old wood and they use it, sustainably, in other newer pieces of furniture. It is nice to know that nothing, or very little, goes unused. Ever since that visit, I have had "a thing" for reclaimed wood in other pieces of furniture and we have incorporated this in many of our dining room tables, benches and other pieces.
The Allure of Reclaimed Wood in Mexico Furniture
Reclaimed wood adds a beautiful look and feel to furniture. It adds elegance, mystery, character. It also makes the piece less vulnerable to pests and weather. It strengthens it. However, here's the trick: the reclaimed wood pieces must be used sparingly so that the new furniture piece can be, as a whole, of great quality. Often, it happens that in Mexico old church benches are reclaimed or re-invented using other woods, using color, or adding wrought iron details. When these benches find their way into your Mexican outdoor patio, into your Mexico living room or bedroom, they add so very much to your decor. They are immensely appealing, as if they had stories to tell ... and they probably do! But, even if they didn't have stories to share, in and of themselves, Mexican reclaimed benches are wonderful -- they invite us to sit, stay a while, maybe daydream a little, certainly take a break and adopt a new perspective.
Our Mexico reclaimed wood pieces are great conversation pieces, and so much more. They are amazing finds around which to build your Mexican dream home. Here are some possibilities: