Artist Residence: Patricia Larsen Used Salvaged Materials to Reinvent Her Mexican Casa
Artist Patricia Larsen picks up and moves just about every six years. “I have a really restless spirit and I’m quite fearless,” she tells us. Plus, she likes a project.
When we last caught up with Patricia exactly a decade ago, she had recently relocated to Baja, Mexico, from Vancouver BC, where she raised her daughters, Janaki and Klee Larsen. The two are also artists and, like their mother, among the most inventive interior stylists we know (scroll to the end for Larsen family inspiration).
Mexico suits Patricia: she loves the people, the plants, the roving dogs, and the year-round growing season. After Pescadero, she created a home in San Miguel de Allende, where she’s in the process of opening the latest incarnation of the Larsen Studio Gallery, devoted to showcasing Patricia’s paintings, furniture, and clothing designs; Janaki’s ceramics; and Klee’s photography. Patricia, meanwhile, has since relocated an hour northeast to the quiet old mining town of Mineral de Pozos.
Early in the pandemic, she bought a much lived-in, approximately 300-year-old casa in the center of Pozos. During the transaction, she encouraged the sellers to take any parts of the house that they could use for the ranch they were building. That left her with a roofless skeleton that she happily spent the last two years making her own. Join us for a tour.
A rebuilt stair leads to the plant-filled flat roof that houses her solar water tank and overlooks the town. Patricia begins and ends the day out by tending her garden, including the magnolia tree, shown here, potted in an old crucible. Reclaimed brick was used for the floor. Scroll to the end for a look at the courtyard as it was.
The found tumbleweed hung as a light is a family signature touch: this one, Patricia writes on Instagram, “escaped twice from the back of the truck. I had to chase it down the road and into a ditch.” Natural relics and mud (as a finish) are two other favorite decorating ingredients. In addition to making art, Patricia is a sought-after designer—she’s currently working on a friend’s double adobe in Santa Fe and a development of 36 houses in Baja.
“Also, I change things constantly,” continues Patricia, “so I can’t commit to a lot of color for the walls and floor.” The metal chairs are her own design fabricated locally; they’re available from Patricia on request and will soon be in her San Miguel gallery. Note the old bookcase hung horizontally as a ledge/sculptural object.
Wanting “a contrast between finished walls and textured walls,” she peeled off the room’s colored plaster herself and left the original stone and stucco partially exposed.
Patricia prefers her art to be frameless: “once you add a frame, they become decorative objects.”
She removed the doors on the adjacent antique wardrobe and added a curtain “because I love draped fabric. It holds my collection of linen and jute from Mexico and Italy—I’m a fiend for old textiles.” Patricia has a walk-in closet for her clothes.
Mineral de Pozos
Here are some of our Larsen family posts from over the years: