Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico

Las Casa de Los Venados (The House of Deers) in Valladolid is owned by an American couple, John and Dorianne Venator. They bought this hacienda style house in ruins, spent 10 years renovating and filling it with the largest collection of Mexican folk art in a private collection.

Even though it is a private home, the Venators open their house to visitors everyday on a guided tour. Some thoughts that crossed our minds as we poked around their house:

1. I wonder what it’s like to live here.

It’s like a house that doubles as a museum. Or more appropriately, a museum that has beds so you can use it a house if you want. The art dominates. Even the bathrooms don’t escape the onslaught of 3000+ items of Mexican folk art.

The formal dining room in La Casa de Los Venados

The formal dining room

Close up view of the dining room chair in La Casa de Los Venados

Close up view of the dining room chairs

Every piece of furniture is an art piece. Check out the crazy painted chairs in the main dining room.

Calaveras (skeletons) seems to dominate the art scene. It would’ve been more disconcerting if only the skeletons were not brightly painted and looking pretty darn happy with those toothy grins.

Skeletons are everywhere

More skeletons

The breakfast nook in La Casa de Los Venados

The breakfast nook in La Casa de Los Venados

2. Oh my god, the pool!

This courtyard pool was the most inviting swimming pool I’ve seen.

It might have something to do with the fact that I was so, so hot. It was summer in Mexico. I was literally dripping sweat on the floor. The nice lady giving the tour, seeing my predicament (and probably afraid of people slipping on my sweat pool on the floor), talked briefly on the walkie talkie. Soon, a young lad came and handed me a pack of tissue.

How embarassing.

But I digress.

The architect responsible in designing La Casa de Los Venados has won many awards. We weren’t surprised.

The swimming pool in La Casa de Los Venados

3. Cleaning this place must be quite a challenge

2 headed Frida Kahlo, La Casa de Los Venados

There are more than 3000 items of art in La Casa de Los Venados. 3000 and plus items to dust.

I trailed a discreet finger behind the two-headed Friday Kahlo.


We don’t usually go out of our way to visit museums. But La Casa de Los Venados is not a regular museum. It’s a house with history. A house that exudes the personal love the Venators have for Mexican folk art.

There’s no reason NOT to visit La Casa de Los Venados, located half a block from Valladolid’s main square. Come to gawk at the art and at the architecture.

You don’t need to be an art lover to walk away impressed.

Even better, the tour is donation based and all of it goes to charities.