This Colorful Vacation Home Is Bursting with Cowboy Spirit
When Jorge Almada is at his home on a remote 12,000-acre ranch in northern Mexico's Sonoran Desert, he lassos visiting family and friends for a horseback-riding expedition at high noon. They traverse ragged, khaki-colored hills and valleys for an hour or two, never passing another soul. Their destination varies, but wherever the group dismounts for lunch, they sit around a long, linen-draped table to eat. "It's a tradition that dates back three generations," Almada says. But these days, ranch hands roll out a refurbished taco truck to cook from.
The cinematic splendor of those outings carries right through to Almada's house, a painted-brick casita he and his life partner, Anne-Marie Midy, built on the property, which is owned by Almada's aunt, Alejandra Redo. The couple is the creative duo behind the artisanal Mexican furniture manufacturer and design firm Casamidy, which employs 60 metalworkers, glassblowers, mosaicists, and other craftspeople to produce handmade furniture.
The two of them share an exuberant, cross-cultural aesthetic: Almada was raised in Sonora and Arizona by his Mexican father and American mother, while Midy grew up in Paris with her French father and American mother. After meeting in the United States and spending time in New York (where Midy was a designer for this magazine), they moved to Mexico City and then San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where their 21-year-old business is based. They currently live in Brussels, because Midy wanted their sons—Olivier, 13, and Antoine, 12—to go to school in Europe and speak French, but they spend Christmas, Easter, and a stretch of each summer at the ranch.
Inside the couple's colorful kitchen, turquoise enamelware, including a stockpot turned into a hanging light fixture, makes the room pop. Picnic baskets and a cooler are always at the ready for eating outside. The Colonial table is made from sabino, a wood used in 19th-century Mexican furniture.
"Life here is all about family, horses, and 'ranch manners,'" says Almada. "Manners are very important to cowboy culture. You have to wear clean clothes, and be willing to serve other people and be at their disposal. You have to be able to depend on yourself." The couple is instilling this ethos in their sons, who are learning to cater to guests and know to bring in enough oak logs for the fireplace and antique wood stove. "It's our version of the Boy Scouts," he jokes.
For Midy, the primal connection to the rugged landscape is a revelation. "It gets in your skin," she says, sounding a lot like a cowboy herself. "You wake up with the sun, and slow down when it sets. Things get very simple. It rips my heart when we have to leave."
When not on horseback, the couple get around in a 1966 Ford pickup.
Almada and Midy often give friends leather belts made by a local saddlemaker.
Cowboys moonlighting as masons built the house from bricks made on the ranch. The Hospicio leather stools, wrought-iron Hiver sofa (in foreground), and Ojai sectional are from Casamidy.The plaid pillows were purchased at Muji in Paris, and the mid century woven chairs are by the Bauhaus-trained American designer Michael van Beuren, who worked and lived in Mexico. The massive circa-1930s bookcase was commissioned by Almada's grandfather to hold his library of Spanish literature.
The master bathroom is lined with Almada's photos of friends on the ranch. Each is hung in an identical red frame, made in San Miguel. "It's controlled chaos—the pictures look good even when they're hanging crooked," he says.
Soak It In
A copper tub is a deliberate nod to the mining towns of nearby Arizona, which is nicknamed the Copper State. The antique church candelabrum was purchased in San Miguel, and the towels are by Pendleton.
Stick to the Theme
In a guest room, framed 19th-century prints hang above Casamidy's Hiver Strap headboard and coordinating side table, which are made of gold-leaved iron and saddle leather. The couple bought the bedcover on a trip to Bali.
Fun with Color and Pattern
The home has the generous proportions and double-height ceilings of the Flemish farmhouses the couple admire in Belgium. Inside, rooms are filled with heirloom Mexican furniture from Almada's father, antiques from San Miguel, art from Europe, leather-and-iron pieces they designed, and items like saddle blankets and enamel cookware that they buy in Bisbee, Arizona, a border town 90 minutes away where they also stock up on groceries.
Into the Sunset
The family's sit-down picnic begins at 2 p.m. and sometimes lasts until dusk.