Home / Creativity & D.I.Y. Projects / Redecorate the terraza part 1

Redecorate the terraza part 1

Looking toward fountainWorn around the edges, faded from the sun. Not to mention half undone and shredded by the cat. Not words to inspire confidence, certainly no way that I want to invite anyone over.

Our friends don’t really mind, they know that I went through a rough patch the last few years, but it’s time to take the bull by the horns and redecorate the terraza!

This is the space at it’s worst. If we’re going to do before and after shots, I’m taking a page from the professionals and providing you with the worse possible before photos.  Here it is from the other side.

looking toward the kitchen door

Just for fun, another couple of angles.

messy terraza

looking out the arch

Part of me thinks that I should make off white neutral slip covers and provide pops of color with throw pillows.  That would be the most versatile. However, since this is an outdoor space that gets a lot of sun, I’m drawn to using more color.  The talavera pots on the chest behind the love seat, seemed like the perfect place to draw inspiration for colors to use.

Talavera pottery is quintessentially Mexican. I love it, in moderation. Too much talavera is overwhelming. I’ve seen kitchens that look like a showroom for a tile distributor. The talavera sampler look.

I spent hours wandering around the various fabric stores downtown, looking for inspiration. Finally, I found this fabric. I’m thinking of using it on the tub chair, and maybe for a couple of accent pillows on the love seats. What do you think? Now the question is, do I do the love seats in orange, blue, or ivory? Patterned or plain?

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. I saw the fabric you’re going to use and it’s perfect. I love your terrace and the color you painted it! Are you in Merida? I want to go there. I went to Vallodolid once and we stayed at the big old colonial hotel on the Plaza. Maybe we ll come down for my birthday. You are living the dream!

    • Hi Justine,
      I’m in Merida. I probably stayed at the same hotel when we went to Vallodolid, it’s a nice town. You should come, the dollar is super strong right now (as opposed to the peso being weak) and Mexico is an incredible bargain! October is a really nice month here, it starts to cool down around the 20th (“blanket day”). We stop swimming then, but tourists still get into the water.

      Unfortunately, that fabric was all gone when I got to the store.I got different more subdued fabric instead. My redecorating plans are totally changed, I guess I better blog about them.


  2. Well after another brutal NY winter and 7 days visiting, we bit the bullet and bought our dream house in Merida. My partner and I are 38/45 respectively and have long had our eye on things down there. But when we came and saw how chill and cool the city was, we signed. The news is terrifying but we’re coming anyway and hope we’re not being foolish. Advice on contractors would be amazing. Also is it true that one can’t buy stainless steel and cast iron pots and pans in Mexico? Nice cotton sheets and towels? Would be great to know what kitchen stuff to ship.

    • Hi Nate,
      I am always hesitant to recommend anyone, the best I am willing to say is, “He did a good job for me.” It’s been quite awhile since we had any serious work done on our house and most of the people who did work on it aren’t around any more!

      It used to be true that you couldn’t easily find those things here. But with the influx of prosperous Mexicans from the rest of the Republic, that has changed. There’s the Home Store at Alta Brisa mall which is like a small Bed & Bath & Beyond. There is the Italian restaurant supply which has lovely pots and pans, and there are bunch of other shops.

      The other day I saw a Vitamix blender/juicer at either Costco or Sam’s Club,I think it was around $6,000 which doesn’t seem much more expensive than it would be NOB. So I guess it depends upon how much it would cost you to ship your used stuff vs how much to replace it.

      My biggest piece of advice is not do any remodeling from afar, it seldom goes well. You can always live here for awhile and then decide what to bring down. The rules for a menage de casa have probably changed in the last eleven years so I think it’s best to check with your local Mexican Consulate, but I’m sure you still have time between getting your visa and shipping your stuff.


  3. It’s a bit cluttered, but I like the space as it is, and I like the colors. Do you worry that putting that fabric on all your pieces will make them *too* busy?


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where the theme of our house is “English Gentleman’s Club.” So far, it’s working.

    • Kim,
      “A bit cluttered” how diplomatic, LOL,it’s a hot mess, but I knew that when I took the photos. I wanted really awful before photos, so my afters will just look so much better!

      I have to do something about the furniture, it’s faded and the cat has shredded a lot of it.

      Our house in California had an English Gentleman’s Club look in the living room, wing chairs, book cases and books. I really liked it, nice and cozy, but not much of a look for outside in Mexico.


  4. We worked backwards when we decorated our house, starting with “what do we want to feel when we see the room?” Did we want to feel energized and excited? Or soothed? We chose soothed. We’ve had enough excitement. Of course, that could get old really fast, and then we’ll reach for the exciting colors and get rid of all those earth tones.

    • Lee,
      When we moved into our house, I painted the entry hot pink and burgundy red, the kitchen and dining room bright yellow, and stenciled cobalt blue in the kitchen with green in the dining room. Our bedroom was sky blue and the loft lavender. My studio space was a turquoise green to match the floor with oxblood stencils over a band of oyster. Lots of vibrant color and decoration. That lasted maybe five or six years. We didn’t have the terraza yet.

      About five years ago I decided to go more neutral and repainted. Now almost all of the house is shades of pale ivory, oyster, sand,or crema colonial except the terraza. The stencils are gone, though I am thinking of doing them again, but maybe tone on tone.

      Paint is one of the least expensive ways of changing up a room.


  5. Well, I just like to keep it simple so that would be my advice!

    • Joan,
      When BK and I went to buy the fabric, she asked me if I’d been to Asis. It was the only store I had not been to. We decided to look there first just because and I found much better fabric. Higher quality, woven instead of printed but will all the right colors! It was more per yard, but much wider so I needed less, I also found another fabric. So my original idea is not going to happen after all. Stay tuned for an update!


  6. teresa freeburn

    hi theresa,

    i love the fabric too. i know you didn’t ask our opinion on this but just thought i’d mention it. as pretty as those pots are, i think they’d look better outside-or just one per table. maybe that’s what you meant when you said something about too much talavera. i hope to someday have the pleasure of visiting you. you are so creative.

    have a great week.

    teresa in nagoya

    off to miami next week-can’t wait to eat the cuban food there.

    • Teresa,
      They are outside, the terraza is outside. The pots are not very big, so instead of scattering them around and having them get lost as an accent, I chose to group them. More impact from small pots that way. It’s better from a design standpoint, when ever you have a collection to group them. Plus they are the focal point for my color combination.

      No, what I meant by too much talavera was this http://www.impatientlycrafty.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/headerimagetilebackslpashtalavera.jpg or this http://www.lostparrotcabins.com/llcsink.jpg or this http://www.free-home-decorating-ideas.com/image-files/mexican-kitchen-designs.jpg

      The only other talavera on the terraza are the sconces on the wall, two blue and white and two with designs similar to the pots.

      Oh, yum, I want to eat my way across Miami. Have fun!


      • teresa freeburn

        hi Theresa,

        got to Miami 5 days ago. it was 100 degrees on Friday-and I thought Nagoya was hot! I have been eating my way across the city as you said you’d like to do. have had Cuban (of course) Mexican, Portuguese, Italian and American food.

        tomorrow we head to Orlando for a 3 day reunion with my husband’s sibs and his dad. on Friday we are off to seattle for 2 weeks-can’t wait to see our kids.

        so how is the terraza coming along? I look forward to seeing pix.

        Teresa from nagoya

        • Hola Teresa,
          I am soooo jealous. Did you have croquetas? my abuela used to make great croquetas de pollo. We have a little cocina economica in Merida that is run by Cubans, the food is good but they only serve until around 2pm. They serve ajiaco on Thursdays and it’s really good.

          The terraza is stalled. The fabric I picked was all gone when I went to buy it, only two days later! I found something better but now I am rethinking how much furniture is out there.

          Also I was running around to doctor’s appointments but now I am done until September.


  7. You need to give me some ideas

    • Steve,
      One of the best tools that I have found for designing a room is having a pinterest account. Instead of doing a mood board or making a book like we used to do, I pin stuff.

      Looking at lots of images, good and bad, helps define what I like. For instance, while I like the idea of shabby chic, I can’t take the clutter of having so many frills. However, I do like painted furniture and chippy finishes, just not all the ruffles and furbelows.

      My style is eclectic leaning more towards Industrial/Farmhouse Rustic. Our dining room is rustic French,but I’m doing the terraza in a more rustic Mexican theme.


  8. I am terrible at designing, but I can’t wait to see what you decide. I love the fabric you’ve chosen so far!

    • Thanks Nancy. It’s going to be fun.

      I think designing is a skill that you can learn but just like everything else it takes time. There is a lot of information about formulas for how much of each color etc. 60% -30% -10% is the usual.

      I am going downtown on Monday to buy about 5 meters. There was only one bolt left so I can’t dither around.


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