The story behind Alejandra Redo’s ranch house, perched on a hill beneath the endless sky of northern Mexico’s rolling scrubland, begins with a poker game. Her grandfather must have played for high stakes, because in one game, he won the title to a 54-square-mile ranch. Redo’s grandfather, a sugar baron, had no interest in the remote property and never saw it, but her father made the eight-hour drive over dirt roads through the state of Sonora and “fell in love,” she says. He built a rudimentary house where she spent holidays as a child, learning to ride horses amid mountainsides specked with walnut trees and the Mexican oaks called encinos.
Her father divided the property among his three children, and when a relative suggested selling it a few years ago, Redo flew up from Mexico City and spent a couple of nights in a tent on her land under the enormous vault of stars. “I wanted my descendants to have the same childhood I had,” she says. “So I decided to build a house.”
She picked a site overlooking the ranch’s paddocks with a view of the mountains and began to level the land. “I’m so happy there,” she says. “I’m not afraid, it gives me energy.”
By 2017, the house was ready, a brick structure with iron beams and a pitched roof, constructed by local builders from the nearby town of Bacoachi. Redo, an interior designer, laid out the house with five bedrooms, a long porch, and a garden planted with fruit trees—a base from which family and friends could immerse themselves in the landscape that is as much a part of her identity as is her society life in Mexico City.
The iron windows are all accented with mesquite, a local hardwood. The bedroom and living room floors are polished cement, painted adobe. For the bathrooms, kitchen, and porch, she selected tiles from Mooma Mosaicos, a Guadalajara company.
As she built the house, Redo began collecting pieces for it, storing them in Mexico City until she was ready for a formal inauguration. She delights in the eclectic, both for her own houses and those of her clients, daring to combine the old with the new, high design with handicrafts, all mixed with a light touch laced with humor.
A Mies van der Rohe sofa occupies a spot between windows in the living room, underneath a painting by a Goya contemporary. The vignette contrasts with a rough-hewn coffee table made by a carpenter from the Pacific resort town of Careyes, who used oak reclaimed from a tree that fell in the region’s 2015 hurricane. “I was buying things for years,” Redo says. “I knew I was going to have a house. It was like having Christmas when the boxes arrived.”
From the beginning, she had her eye on a photo by the Mexican artist Gonzalo Lebrija of a lasso used in charrería, the Mexican version of rodeo. Lebrija, a friend of her son Pablo Aldrete, a filmmaker, arranged to have it delivered during the housewarming party. Now it hangs against the apple-green wall of the living room, flanked by a pair of spurs that belonged to the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, which were in her father’s collection.
In keeping with the charro theme, the lampshades are from Casamidy’s Ranchero Chic line, decorated with classic leather designs. Casamidy cofounder Jorge Almada, Redo’s nephew, built his own bungalow on the property. Pieces from the line are dotted all over the house, including the iron-and-cowhide chairs of the picnic furniture. Another source for furniture and accessories was vintage shops in Bisbee, Arizona, less than two hours away. (The roads are a bit better than in her father’s day.)
Redo’s love of Mexican textiles is evident. Mexican silk-and-cotton shawls called rebozos are layered atop the leather-and-wood chairs known as equipales on the porch. In the living room, she places jorongos, the woolen ponchos that cowboys use, over chairs.
Much of the furniture was made to order, including Redo’s mesquite bed and bench, fashioned by a local carpenter. A wool rug that she had woven in India carries the ranch’s design of a small tree, after its name El Arbolito. Sometimes the ranch itself provides the decoration, like the antlers mounted in her son Pablo’s room, which were found in the mountains.
Riding is required during Redo’s house parties. The cowboys, including Ramón Bejarano and his son, who has the same name, load up the ranch’s old Ford pickup (nicknamed La Princesa) with furniture and a barbecue and prepare a picnic for guests, who ride out to meet them. Lunch is simple: grilled meat or hot dogs and Mexican sauces, flour tortillas, perhaps paella. “We all ride back,” Redo says. The rule applies even to those who may have had too much tequila over lunch. “You have to ride back on your horse.”
Produced By Anita Sarsidi
This story originally appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of ELLE Decor. SUBSCRIBE
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