When Belgian architect Wonne Ickx and Spanish curator Ruth Estévez bought a small 1910 row house in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City ten years ago, the building was in rough shape, with earthquake-damaged floors and an awkward layout. After spending the past seven years living and teaching in Los Angeles, Ickx and Estévez have returned to the house with their two sons—but only after transforming it into a colorfully finished home.
Originally built as a suburban playground for Mexico City’s captains of industry, Roma slipped into impoverishment and was eventually engulfed by the 20-million-strong megalopolis. The devastating 1985 earthquake, which killed thousands and leveled countless historic buildings, exacerbated the situation; the disaster was particularly brutal to the neighborhood, which sits on loose clay soil. In recent years, though, the area has finally seen a change in its luck. Filled with galleries, restaurants, art studios, and offices, the once-down-trodden neighborhood is taking part in Mexico City and its rich design scene.