To most eyes, Ezequiel Farca’s 1970s-style concrete home in Mexico City looked like a teardown. Even the lot itself—shallow and crammed against a steep hillside—wasn’t particularly alluring. But Farca saw through all the restraints to create a spa-like refuge in one of the world’s most energetic cities. “It’s is such a hectic place. You’re bombarded by so much information the moment you step into the streets,” says Farca, who first gained prominence as a furniture and interior designer. “So we envisioned this house as a retreat, a kind of a temple.”
In many ways, his redesign of the massive structure, which sits in the city’s hilly Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood, is an elaborate disappearing act. The white exterior is painted a neutral gray-green, helping it recede into its setting. Attention-grabbing balustrades were stripped away, and strategic plantings were allowed to creep over the façade, softening boundaries between house, garden, and street. Finally, Farca and team stripped the interior back to the posts.
Then Farca set about transforming an inelegant warren of rooms into a series of bright, interconnected spaces. The first floor became a single room encompassing the kitchen, dining area, and living room. To merge the plant-filled terrace with the living room, an awkward series of windows gave way to a single wall of glass.
Farca, who is the father of four children, including 11-year-old triplets, devoted much of the square footage to the youngsters. Relatively small bedrooms are pushed to the edge, and the middle floor includes a large, flexible space that Farca calls the “playground,” though it can easily be converted to other uses as the triplets hit adolescence.
While the structural interventions were very modest, Farca completely re-skinned the interior in a rich variety of natural materials. Marble lines the kitchens and bathrooms. Interior floors are planked in European oak with a natural finish, while a smokier veneer covers select walls. And the terraces are tiled with recinto, a locally sourced volcanic stone. The variety breaks up the building’s mass, says Farca. Natural textures and a warm, neutral palette help turn the bunker-like structure into a series of welcoming spaces.
However, Farca’s most transformative work was reserved for the top floor, which includes a pool, an indoor-outdoor dining space, and a master suite. When the enormous glass doors disappear into pocket walls, the whole floor becomes what he calls “our idea of the perfect hotel suite.”
“The minute you leave your home in Mexico City, you’re in the middle of the rush,” says Farca. “Now we cross the threshold and feel we’ve left the city far behind."