¡Tan Encantadora! San Miguel de Allende’s Casa Acanto

With the help of local artisans, founders of award-winning design firm Fisher Weisman transformed the historic 18th-century home. (CDR San Miguel)

While many San Miguel de Allende homes possess pedigrees, Casa Acanto harbors true gravitas. Architectural Digest has twice featured the 18th-century property, detailing the exquisite transformation created by the award-winning design practice Fisher Weisman.

The firm’s founders, Andrew Fisher and Jeffry Weisman, purchased the residence in 2011, enlisting local artisans skilled in centuries-old techniques. The result? A light-infused home graced with historic stylings, tile arrays in traditional blue and white, and terraces that open to lush garden views.

Casa Acanto sits off a quiet street in the historic district of El Centro. (CDR San Miguel)

Turnkey home with vintage treasures

After renovations, the couple planned to rent the home for the majority of the year. But the mystique they conjured proved irresistible. “We fell in love,” says Weisman, who with Fisher moved in and established roots. Now having set their sights on another San Miguel home transformation, they’re selling the four-bedroom seven-bathroom home for $5.5 million. Ann Dolan of CDR San Miguel has the listing.

The 588 square-meter (6,329 square-feet) home is being offered turnkey, right down to a dozen or so vintage French copper pots. The shortlist of other treasured items includes vintage rugs woven with vivid patterns from Marrakesh, antique and custom-designed furniture, and Fisher-designed light fixtures. A poolside one-bedroom casita with a sala provides a wrap-around panorama of San Miguel from its rooftop terrace.

Living area with wood beams, terracotta flooring and a fireplace.

New terracotta tile flooring with chapapote was thinned with gasoline for a refined, aged finish. (CDR San Miguel)

Located in the city’s centro historico, Casa Acanto was originally built as a tannery. And when Fisher and Weisman made their discovery, it was a suite of offices for the Rosewood Hotel chain, wholly stripped of historical details. “No one had given it any love,” Weisman says. Hand-hewn pine beams were added to ceilings, and new doors were fashioned from joining weathered pine sliced into panels, stained a dark mahogany. Freshening that darkly dramatic look, new windows and French doors were framed in thin black iron.

And the floors? They look wonderfully aged. Fisher and Weisman burnished new terracotta tiles with chapapote thinned with gasoline. “It turned out to be the perfect glaze,” Weisman says. “The floors are brand new, but feel like old leather.”

Kitchen with dark cabinetry and terrace access.

A Fisher-designed gilded chandelier draws the eye upward in the home’s terrace-side kitchen. (CDR San Miguel)

Romantic, but…

Most historic San Miguel homes are U-shaped, centered around a courtyard. Romantic, yes. But somewhat dark and moody. Casa Acanto is L-shaped and sited on a slope, its rooms open to copious light and air. The meandering branches of the property’s century-old Jacaranda trees arc across terraces, clouding the property each spring with masses of lavender-blue flowers.

Bedroom with French doors leading out to terrace.

The 588-square-meter home features four stylish bedrooms. (CDR San Miguel)

An entry hall soars with a groin-vaulted ceiling. Stone cornices are engraved with acanthus leaf patterns, a design motif repeated throughout the home, which is named for the plant.

The kitchen’s dark-stained alder cabinets smartly contrast with white quartzite counters. A Fisher-designed gilded chandelier warms the space, along with a range hood with hammered copper detailing. The space is up to date with a 48” Wolf range, a 42” Subzero refrigerator/freezer and a Cove dishwasher.

Courtyard swimming pool in San Miguel de Allende home.

The tiled pool is sits beside plumbago-laden walls and a large, grotto-like jacuzzi. (CDR San Miguel)

Outdoor living

The paneled octagonal dining room’s ceiling presents a trompe-l’œil twilight sky. But the real show is just off the kitchen through a stone arch: a sala abierta, or outdoor living space, with a glass-covered breakfast room. The hangout is anchored by a fireplace carved from Cantera limestone, as are all the home’s five fireplaces. When visiting Rajasthan, the couple had carved marble tables custom-made for the space.

Yet even the most considered renovation includes regret. The couple’s biggest omission? They didn’t make space for a bar. “We underestimated the scale of entertaining in San Miguel,” Weisman says. No matter. So they recently created a knockout lounge worthy of Mexico City’s Tetetlán restaurant. Shelves are backed with fused blue glass in a banded pattern, the work of Mexico City artist Orfeo Quagliata, a master at capturing, bending and projecting light. A mirrored ceiling and walls reflect the luminous backlit glass. A fireplace cozies up the room. Two banquettes are color-matched to the glass. It’s a snazzy look.

Barroom shelving withe banded-pattern blue glass.

Designed by Mexico City artist Orfeo Quagliata, barroom shelves are backed by fused blue glass in a banded pattern. (CDR San Miguel)

The living room enjoys four sets of French doors. A terrace leads to outdoor dining. Matching custom-made mesquite bookshelves are edged in a scroll design, a riff on an original scrolled buttress found on the property – another shape repeated throughout the home.

On the second floor, three airy ensuite bedrooms open to terraces. The bathrooms’ Talavera-style tiles are laid in an arresting pattern; the hand-glazed tiles were  sourced from the famed Dolores Hidalgo factories, a pueblo about an hour’s drive north.

In the primary suite, a large garden-view terrace sweeps out from the main room accented with blue and white fabric. Twin dressing rooms, a study and a coffee bar complement the space.

Soaking tub in primary bathroom.

A standalone soaking tub centers the primary bathroom. (CDR San Miguel)

A sumptuous soak

The primary’s bathroom is a standout with a brick boveda ceiling set with an oculus. Walls are covered with repeating columns of blue and white tile. The room has five vented skylights, allowing light and air to flow freely. Above the copper tub in the middle of the room, a chandelier hovers. Ingeniously, it’s plumbed to fill the tub via water that streams from its base.

Outdoor dining area in central courtyard.

The L-shaped main building’s layout provides each bedroom with a private terrace. (CDR San Miguel)

Outside, curved steps descend from the second story. “Stepping down, you get a sense of the scale and the drama of the garden – it’s an amazing feeling,” Weisman says. The outdoor dining room is set with a teak table the couple designed. It’s crafted from three joined ovals “so conversation can go across the table and sideways super easily,” Weisman says. “It’s insanely convivial.”

Stone balustrades section the gardens, lush with lumbago, Solandra maxima and Monstera. A central fountain is carved from a block of Cantera. Just beyond sits an inviting pool in a cobalt glass mosaic, a spa and the casita’s singular rooftop views. ¡Qué chido!

Rooftop deck with views of Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel.

The vista from the sunroof deck includes the iconic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. (CDR San Miguel)

Casa Acanto is listed with Ann Dolan of CDR San Miguel.

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