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What design features make a house comfortable?


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Here's a video of our floor plan, which we really like. You can see a snapshot around the 3:00 minute mark. Two cupolas for light/ventilation, two boveda ceilings, kitchen triangle per mudgirl, center courtyard.  We also have a Mirador with stairs outside. We haven't lived here long, but its been very comfortable so far this "winter."

 

An advert for real estate??

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This sounds like I am totally anal but I like having a utility sink in my utility room The thought of the floor mop getting washed out in my kitchen sink grosses me out. Many homes I have looked at in the area do not put a separate sink in their laundry or utility room and I would bet the maid is not walking outside to a hose to wash out the mop. I also like the high ceilings as they allow for good air circulation 

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I am interested in what you have learned about the design features of that contribute to general comfort in the climate and milieu - things like ceiling height, open floor plans (or not), orientation of the house, layout. 

 

Important here to me is a terrace deep enough for a setting group love seat 2 chairs and cocktail table. That requires 21-22' of depth which would also allow for a dining table and chairs. 

An outdoor fireplace gas or wood in a sheltered corner of the terrace is really nice in the late fall and all winter.

It is important for one key to fit nearly all the doors (not common in Mexico).

Telephone line to bedroom, office, and kitchen.

11 foot ceiling or taller makes the house cooler with ceiling fans in all rooms.

Tinted windows have been a big help with heat. Don't accept that they do not have tinted glass in Mexico.

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Two story houses are nice, because the ground floor is automatically cooled with very little cross ventilation effort. Screens on windows are not automatic here. Add them.

There is a convention (or legality) that if your house is on the property line, you can't put windows on that side because it infringes on privacy of your neighbors. I have no windows running the length of the house for that reason. So the advice would be to set back the house from the property line. I don't know how much.

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The OP posed this question in FEBRUARY stating that they had a proposed visit in the SUMMER with potential moving in 2018.  Unless the OP chimes in with renewed interest, this post is 7 months old.    Here goes my rant again - Look at the date of the original post, chances are the OP has been & gone.

Resurrecting old posts is like dredging up bad childhood memories, no matter how many times you hear/read it, it just doesn't get any different/better.

Stop, focus and jump start the brain.

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High ceilings (12 ft.), gigantic doors/ windows n-s for cross ventilation, southern exposure, no windows east/west. Windows/ doors need awnings - we had a chair covered in maroon fabric. It was in the sun and soon pink. That's how strong the sun is here. You DO NOT want direct sunlight in your house. Skylights are nice - only if shaded somehow. 

South side terrace / patio good for entertaining. Nice to have a shade option.Sun again

Heat/ac not needed if doors and windows are tight - very important. Room fans essential 

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Good screens!  South facing windows, if on a slope, on an E-W street as opposed to N-S.  Set back off street, behind wall.  Garage with power doors.  I'd avoid houses on the really narrow streets, too hard to get in and out.  Sloped roofs, it may be dry her for 7+ months but when it rains, it rains a heckuva lot.  Very deep footings, if I were building I would use CA footing design standards, both because of the occasional shake and because of the unstable soils and heavy rains.  The Californians who built our house did that and after nearly 20 years there is zero settling or cracking.

 

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We are installing wall heaters in the bathrooms.  They use electricity but I am tired of waiting until 11 or 12 to shower and my husband will install a timer for them.  They can actually just hang on the wall by a plug but we will build a frame and attach it to the wall solidly.  Then hard wire it and run the wires onto the wall.  Cost about $150 or so.  I lobbied for towel warmer style of heater but he told me not to push it.  

 

https://www.amazon.com/Broan-9815WH-High-Capacity-Heater/dp/B001PO7LP2/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1505238827&sr=8-17&keywords=wall+bathroom+heater

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We are installing wall heaters in the bathrooms.  They use electricity but I am tired of waiting until 11 or 12 to shower and my husband will install a timer for them.  They can actually just hang on the wall by a plug but we will build a frame and attach it to the wall solidly.  Then hard wire it and run the wires onto the wall.  Cost about $150 or so.  I lobbied for towel warmer style of heater but he told me not to push it.  

 

https://www.amazon.com/Broan-9815WH-High-Capacity-Heater/dp/B001PO7LP2/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1505238827&sr=8-17&keywords=wall+bathroom+heater

Great post and an excellent idea for Lakeside. Note that if you are NOB Amazon can "arrange" professional installation for "only" $147 (USD)!!  LOL! Almost as much as the unit itself.

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High ceilings (12 ft.), gigantic doors/ windows n-s for cross ventilation, southern exposure, no windows east/west. Windows/ doors need awnings - we had a chair covered in maroon fabric. It was in the sun and soon pink. That's how strong the sun is here. You DO NOT want direct sunlight in your house. Skylights are nice - only if shaded somehow. 

South side terrace / patio good for entertaining. Nice to have a shade option.Sun again

Heat/ac not needed if doors and windows are tight - very important. Room fans essential 

As a professional upholsterer, I can verify that the sun is so intense here that all fabrics will start to fade pretty quickly, even when exposed to indirect sunlight. The only ones that don't are Sunbrella fabrics or other high quality indoor/outdoor fabric (not "Mexican Sunbrella", which also fades and gets moldy in high humidity/wet conditions).

And I have made many huge sets of curtains over the years for folks who thought it would be a great idea to have banks of big glass doors or gigantic windows on the south facing side of the house. They quickly find out that this makes their homes unbearably hot. So if you simply must have those, be prepared to spend some $ on window/door coverings or awnings whether the neighbors can see in or not.

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I'm the OP, still here, and still very grateful to everyone for their contributions. I have learned so much from you all and look forward to meeting some of you. We visited in July, stayed about a week each in Ajijic and Chapala. Chapala definitely suits us, and we hope to move in April when I retire.

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We are installing wall heaters in the bathrooms.  They use electricity but I am tired of waiting until 11 or 12 to shower and my husband will install a timer for them.  They can actually just hang on the wall by a plug but we will build a frame and attach it to the wall solidly.  Then hard wire it and run the wires onto the wall.  Cost about $150 or so.  I lobbied for towel warmer style of heater but he told me not to push it.  

 

https://www.amazon.com/Broan-9815WH-High-Capacity-Heater/dp/B001PO7LP2/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1505238827&sr=8-17&keywords=wall+bathroom+heater

I have to chuckle everytime I read how Lakeside has a "perfect climate" year-round, then every winter there are posters who say they are freezing and inquiring about heaters :-) Sounds like you found a comfy solution.

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For someone who would think they died and went to heaven if they had an interior patio, I would think a hacienda style house would be very appealing.

Everyone has different tastes, for me, living on a lake, I need to see the lake... and need to cook outdoors.

Many also simply enjoy the climate and the great people here.

Due to the rules of this site, I cannot refer you to two hacienda style houses that I know are on the market, but you will find them. Below (if I pasted it correctly) is a basic hacienda-style home... where the central gathering place is in the middle and the house wraps around the inner patio, as it were -- some with great outdoor kitchens in the middle.

image.jpeg.3aeda0702c453bc30fd3b3f3dc91bc8d.jpeg

Or more extravagant....

image.gif.a0cdf87522f7d2cd9fb6a0f82d2aa348.gif

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My house is 10 years old and my roofs have never leaked. Most of them slope, but the one over my bedroom is flat with a small dome in it. But I have been diligent about powerwashing and putting another coat of high quality "5 year" impermealizante  paint on them every 2 years. They don't have any membranes under the paint, either.

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We had flat roofs on our homes, with internal drainage to the street. Neither of them ever leaked. We did pay attention to the condition, and patched small cracks, added membrane and recoated as necessary. Maintenance is the key.

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7 minutes ago, RVGRINGO said:

We had flat roofs on our homes, with internal drainage to the street. Neither of them ever leaked. We did pay attention to the condition, and patched small cracks, added membrane and recoated as necessary. Maintenance is the key.

That last sentence says it all.  I have a "hacienda style" home over a century old.  At some point in its life, the owners chose to roof over the central patio, put in skylights, and build an upper bedroom suite.  Leaked copiously, especially in the "patio" area.  Membranes; excellent coating and updates every year keep it dry.

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