The Nopo Magazine
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The Nopo Magazine

Discover a World of Magical Design at Mexico City’s Most Beautiful Guesthouse

Exclusively for The Nopo, The González family and design firm Estudio Claudina Flores open the doors to their stunning new hospitality project — UMA Casa

Stroll along the tree-lined avenues of Lomas de Chapultepec in Mexico City, and you might happen on the best-kept secret of the whole town. UMA Casa, which opened its doors to its first guests three months ago after a three-year renovation and design project, is a family guesthouse like no other.

The very walls and ceilings seem to breathe in synchronous with each other, whispering of memories long gone, of family mealtimes around a huge table, of friends and relatives coming and going and leaving each time a bit of their soul embedded in those walls.

Everything is designed with a very human focus, every detail specifically conceived to communicate a certain state of mind, with all the elements — architecture, design, decoration, even down to the music playing — harmoniously fusing into a sense of mindfulness and profound love and respect for Mexican artisanal crafts.

@umacase | @estudio_claudinaflores

Staying at UMA Casa is an invitation to go back to the origins and revel in all the beauty Mexico has to offer, giving guests an experience that goes beyond a boutique hotel stay. UMA Casa’s guests have the opportunity to mingle with the whole family, getting to know the history of the house and immersing themselves in how real life in Mexico City feels like.

“This was the house where we all grew up, and when my parents said they were thinking of selling, we just couldn’t let that happen!” one of the González siblings, Claudia, told us over a Zoom tour of the house.

A lawyer by trade, Claudia moved to Florida with her family, where she retrained as a health coach with a focus on holistic practices and nutrition. Upon her return to Mexico, the family gathered around this project which, from a hospitality one, turned into a much deeper, soulful idea when their father tragically passed away a few months after the project started.

“At that point, the whole family threw themselves, heart and soul, into UMA Casa, as a way to commemorate our father and keep his spirit alive, along with celebrating all of Mexico’s design and crafts.”

@umacase | @estudio_claudinaflores

The release after the pain generated by their father’s early departure was also what inspired the name for the house, which is an onomatopoeia for the sound one makes inhaling and exhaling deeply with an open mouth, as if to take in all the energy and love the family felt for their patriarch, before releasing into the world through the experience of hosting people in their home.

When you first get into UMA Casa you’ll be welcomed into the Choco Mezzanine, where you can start to relax and feel your heart connecting to that of the house. You’ll be then taken on a mesmerizing journey through the stunning architecture and design that Claudina Flores Studio, an architectural firm based in Guadalajara, developed with the family.

“When we first looked for architects to carry our vision for UMA Casa we didn’t know how we’d find the right person,” Claudia remembers. “Then one day my brother met Claudina through a mutual friend, and he said we should stop looking, it had to be her.”

And so started a heartwarming journey of mutual collaboration, made of instant trust and real communion of intents. “Construction projects can be really tough work,” architect Claudina explains, “but the key is to get into it with a lot of empathy and patience so you can find the right connection with the client and work together to fulfill a common vision.”

@umacase | @estudio_claudinaflores

When Claudina first interviewed the family members to understand how to go about redesigning the house, she felt a really deep connection to how they always gather around food, how Mexican gastronomy has been a key element of their most precious memories.

“Bianca, the family’s matriarch, said her favorite thing was to gather several generations of the family around the table,” Claudina remembers. It became clear food would be a key component of the house, and the family latched onto that idea quickly.

“When we were growing up in the house there was a constant stream of people through the door,” the siblings remember with a laugh. “At mealtimes, there was anything between five and fifty people!”

With carte blanche from the family, architect Claudina and her studio set out to work on materials, color palettes, and, most importantly, how to integrate the existing structure of the house and modify it to host larger groups of people like a guesthouse does.

@umacase | @estudio_claudinaflores

The first element that caught on was the idea of using blue corn, or mais azul, to extract the color that would become the leading element of the house walls, and that today carries you through from the Choco Mezzanine up to the rooftop, aptly named Sentli, meaning corn in the native language Nahuatl.

Following that, each room was dedicated to a different ingredient in Mexican cuisines, such as the nutritious fruit amaranth, which inspires the Amari room; the juicy Mexican turnip, giving its name to the Jícama suite; or the Zontle bedroom, inspired by a pre-hispanic unit of measurement.

Everything in UMA Casa is natural and endemic to Mexico, from the wall paint made from natural pigments inspired by Mexican food ingredients to the bedding made of the highest-quality cotton in Teotitlán del Valle, to the headboards and closets made of sturdy rosa morada wood from Nayarit.

“What you see is what you get at UMA Casa. Stone is stone, wood is wood, cotton is cotton. We kept the materials in their rawest, most natural state, to communicate this sense of sturdiness, of structure, of tradition,” Claudina explains. Even if you took all the decor and furniture out of the house, the simple beauty of the materials used for the construction — Cantera stone, clay, marble, wood — would be enough to take your breath away.

@umacase | @estudio_claudinaflores

From the very beginning, both the family and Claudina were adamant that everything had to be organic and exclusively from Mexico. Rather than taking the shortcut of importing cheaper and quicker materials or components, they worked around the clock for the best part of the pandemic to keep the project going even when everything was shutting down.

“At some point it was just me with twenty workers in the house, completely locked in and isolated from the outside world,” Claudia remembers with a smile,” but I honestly think introducing any material from outside would have broken the spell. This house is Mexico.”

Did you spot any of The Nopo’s own favorites in the pictures of UMA Casa? Inspired by the González family and their fabulous project, we’ve put together a special collection featuring some of the items you will find in the home. Shop The Nopo Collection inspired by UMA Casa today to bring some of Mexico’s charm into your own home.

UMA Casa is a stunning guesthouse in the heart of Mexico City. Find them on Instagram or book your stay through Booking.com

Estudio Claudina Flores: Crafted Interiors + Architecture + Furniture Design firm based in México. Projects driven by concept + experience. Estudio Claudina Flores on IG

UMA CASA

Adress: Monte Himalaya 105, Lomas de Chapultepec, CDMX 11000

Phone: +52–5585809588 , Email: operacion@umacasa.mx

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