Source: Christie's International Real Estate

Live in a 18th Century Mexican Mansion Hidden Behind Plain Walls

A plain exterior in a colonial resort town in central Mexico conceals a vibrant, luxurious home.

On a quiet side street in the historic downtown of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, there's a 12,000-square-foot mansion tucked behind an unassuming stucco wall, currently on sale for $2.85 million.

The transition is jarring: One moment you're on cobblestones and the next, you've opened the house's beat-up green door and entered a leafy oasis of manicured gardens, internal courtyards, and reflecting pools. See for yourself:

Outside, a nondescript stucco wall.
Outside, a nondescript stucco wall.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate
Inside, a lush retreat.
Inside, a lush retreat.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate

Known as the Casa San Jose, the house is set in the heart of San Miguel De Allende's UNESCO-protected historic city streets. The city, whose colonial past can be traced to the mid-16th century, when Spanish missionaries set up shop with the old one-two of a chapel and a military outpost, has since become a sprawling, cosmopolitan city that attracts a vast number of expatriates from Europe and the U.S. The closest airport, Guanajuato International, is a solid hour-and-a-half drive from the city; a smaller, regional airport, Queretaro, is closer, though most travelers connect through Mexico City. (Christie's International Real Estate, which listed the property, says that it could appeal to Americans looking to relocate.)

One of six bedrooms.
One of six bedrooms.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate
The interior courtyard.
The interior courtyard.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate

The house itself was built in the 18th century and restored in 2007. It features Spanish Colonial architectural flourishes that include stone archways, carved doors, and wood-beamed ceilings. There's a lovely, open-air interior courtyard, replete with palms and a fountain.

The house seems to have been built for entertaining—or at the very least, for a very large, fun-loving family. There are six bedrooms, seven full baths, and two partial baths, an eat-in chef's kitchen, a dining rom that seats 12, and several outdoor, second-floor terraces with views of the city. The Jardin, the historic town's central courtyard, is just a few blocks away.

A rooftop terrace.
A rooftop terrace.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate

Despite the house's location in the heart of a bustling metropolis, there's a capacious rear lawn with a full swimming pool, a garage, full gym, and a variety of additional indoor/outdoor terraces. (Plenty of outdoor space, in other words, should that entertaining/large family situation leave you seeking some peace.) In total, the property is a little more than a third of an acre. 

The swimming pool.
The swimming pool.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate
The formal dining room seats 12.
The formal dining room seats 12.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate

Christie's International Real Estate says real estate prices are still down 10 percent from 2007 highs, and it notes that the building's carrying costs are absurdly low: Taxes on a $4 million home would be roughly $3,000 a year.

Still, the house is on the high end for real estate in the region, even among similarly tony renovated houses in the historic district. Christie's website lists 10 other properties in the area; aside from an undeveloped ranch, only one, a 20,000-square-foot house on 230 acres outside the city limits, tops the price.

The interior courtyard at night.
The interior courtyard at night.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate
The entryway.
The entryway.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate
A view into the interior courtyard.
A view into the interior courtyard.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate
The eat-in chef's kitchen.
The eat-in chef's kitchen.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate
The house's living room.
The house's living room.
Source: Christie's International Real Estate
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