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Most buildings in San Miguel de Allende follow the same recipe: Colonial structures plus warm, vibrant hues. The small town in Guanajuato is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with strict regulations that protect its colorful streets. But when Vianney Torres decided to open a small hotel on her family’s property, she saw an opportunity to do something completely different. 

Located in the corral (the second courtyard in a traditional Mexican house), Casa Hoyos didn’t abide by the same architectural laws as street-facing businesses. So Torres called her high school friend Andrés Gutiérrez of AG Interiors Studio for ideas on how to create an experience in San Miguel that would honor her family’s history but also promote local artisans. 

Gutiérrez imagined a minimalist concrete structure that blended the home’s past—think: dramatic arches and sunset hues—with Mexican modernism. At the heart of the design: glazed clay tiles sourced in the nearby city of Dolores Hidalgo. Here’s how he used the classic material in new ways.

He Lined the Walls (Inside and Out!)

Photography by Diego Padilla; Design by AG Studio

To hide part of the exterior, Gutiérrez covered the balcony walls in sunny marigold tiles from floor to ceiling, carving curved openings for doors and circular windows along the interior courtyard as an homage to the city’s Colonial influences. “It’s the perfect light reflector to illuminate the corridors during the day,” he says.

He Found Inspiration in Unusual Places

Photography by Diego Padilla; Design by AG Studio

To give the property a more contemporary twist while also putting the country’s strong Art Deco influences at the forefront, Gutiérrez turned to 1920s bathrooms, which often featured pastel hues with a stark black border. But beyond covering the guest bathrooms’ walls and vanities with colorful square ceramic tiles, he also lined balcony arches in a peachy tone with an inky outline to echo the period. 

He Turned the Material Into Art

Photography by Diego Padilla; Design by AG Studio

Inspired by the Hoyos family history—particularly Torres’s very religious grandmother, Celia, who was devoted to the Virgin of Loreto—Gutiérrez sourced a mural of the figure, hand-painted by local artisans, to make an altar on the main floor. He framed the work with yellow-dotted black tiles as a nod to the circular motifs found throughout the hotel. Casa Hoyos may be housed in a modern building, but every square inch is covered with regional flair and family history.

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