When planning a trip, especially one where we will spend a decent amount of time in one location, I often do a search on Instagram. Although guidebooks and general internet sources are fine, Instagram can be a great tool to scout unique and interesting locations. That is how I discovered Casa de las Ranas and the Chapel of Jimmy Ray, and decided we had to go.
Located a few miles outside of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the house and gallery (which is really the entire property) is a fanciful, whimsical, and joyful celebration of color and creativity. The house, outbuildings, and grounds provide a canvas on which the fantastic mosaic and sculptural creations of owner/artist Anado McLauchlin are assembled and displayed.
To call Anado’s and his husband Richard’s home merely colorful doesn’t do it justice. It really was more of an explosion of creativity, artistic talent, celebratory color, and love. From the moment Anado greeted us just inside his gate to when the tour ended inside their home (where we had the pleasure of meeting Richard, an art historian and professor) we were embraced by their kindness, welcoming spirit, and their joy of sharing this magical place.
The property wasn’t easy to get to, but the trip was well worth the effort. Tours are by appointment only (email@example.com) and not all cab drivers were aware of its existence. Once there, we arranged for the driver to come back after the tour (which lasted about two hours) since it would have been impossible to find another cab where they lived.
During are stay in San Miguel we visited many of the locations that our Moon guidebook recommended and we very much enjoyed all that the beautiful colonial town has to offer. Sometimes, though, it was nice to get off the beaten path and be delighted by the unusual and unexpected. Casa de las Ranas and the Chapel of Jimmy Ray were a highlight of our trip and I am grateful to Anado and Richard for fully embracing their playful natures and for allowing us to explore their fantastical home.
49 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Delightful Discoveries”
Wow! That really is an explosion of color. Looks like a good find.
The colors, textures, and designs were amazing… to say nothing of Anado and Richard!
I once did some work for an interior decorator who liked to call himself an “Inferior desecrator.” Some your photos reminded me of him. Your blog continues to affirm my love for Mexico. Gracias.
Hi Fred. Funny description! Anado didn’t let conventional rules of design stop him. His colors and whimsy reflected a lot of what we saw in Mexico.
It was new to me that one can do searches of places on Instagram. Thank you so much for this valuable tip!
I have found Instagram to be a good source, you just need to try a few hashtags describing the places you are going to visit.
The colors are amazing!
I love the colors too… it was like being in a jewel box.
Love the colors!
They certainly weren’t shy about using every crayon in the box!
This is going to sound like a stupid question, but was that house ever featured on HGTV? It looks familiar, even though I’ve never been to San Miguel.
Not stupid at all! They have had several articles written about them (I learned from their website madebyanado.com) but no indication that their house was on HGTV.
I like to post pictures on Instagram, but never considered using it to do travel research. I can now see how it could be a good way to find out-of-the-way places, and will definitely use it in the future. Thanks!
Instagram is a great source for photographers… you can discover locations that offer beautiful vistas and interesting backgrounds. Of course, you may have to wade through a few selfies that people have posted 🙂
Like Peter mentioned, I never thought of using IG to search but it makes sense! Really exquisite captures of Anado’s creativity and lifestyle! Truly amazing!
Hi Terri. I don’t remember where I learned about using Instagram as a travel planning tool, but it has been helpful in many instances. Great for photographers.
I will certainly check that out!
Hi, Janis – I would never have thought of exploring Instagram in order to research a potential trip. I will now add this to my repertoire and see how it goes. Your trip looks incredible. I agree that this was an absolutely amazing find!
I hope it works for you too for your upcoming trips… maybe for your local area also. You never know what you’ll find.
Oh my goodness, that’s amazing! I’d love to see it but I think my senses would be overwhelmed if I had to live in it. I am intrigued by the name Anado McLaughlin. I suspect some Scottish ancestry there!
I agree, Anabel. I love color but I need my eyes to rest also. I know that “Anado” was a name he was given in India and decided to keep. I’m pretty sure he was born with McLaughlin, though, and I bet Scotland figures somewhere in his roots.
What great colors and creativity here Janis- and look at Richard’s artsy home. He is creative right down to his toes. I like the blue polka-dotted shoes. As to Instagram, funny you mention it as a means to glean info for travels, because I recently heard a news story that said Instagram was considered the best travelogue for checking out the most-popular tourist sites, or most-beautiful/scenic places to go – better than any other resource on the internet. I thought that was interesting, and I’m not on Instagram, so I had no idea … now I know. I like how you did your pictures as an embedded slideshow – very nice.
I figured that I wasn’t the only one using Instagram that way. I love posting my pictures, but I also enjoy looking at what others have posted before we travel. Anado (the one in the blue hat) is the artist and Richard (in the polka-dot shoes) is his partner. They are both delightful! That slideshow feature is pretty nifty, huh?
Your pictures are always enjoyable Janis. I sent a fellow blogger (Fred Bailey) here a few weeks ago when he mentioned how he enjoyed Mexico – I said “have I got a blog site for you then!”.
I love the colors and the creativity.
Here in Detroit we had an artist called Tyree Guyton and many years ago he created a whole block of artwork – homes on Heidelberg Street, that he painted bright colors and attached objects to them. Each house had a name – like one had dolls nailed all over the house so it was “The Dollhouse”. It was really different and attracted a lot of people but there were also people who thought it was a little “out there” (it was and not as bright and colorful and creative as what you featured). Slowly each of his creative houses in his creative neighborhood were torched. I don’t know if they ever found the arsonist, but finally the entire Heidelberg Project was dismantled. Here is a slideshow if you want to see some of the homes. I never saw it, but you heard about it all the time: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/entertainment/arts/2016/08/14/detroits-iconic-heidelberg-project-dismantled/88722336/
Thanks for the link… very interesting. I can see why some people objected but it’s a shame that someone burned it down. Fortunately, Anado and Richard’s place is way out in the country plus I think there is much more acceptance in Mexico for individual expression. Thanks for sending Fred my way, he has commented several times (which, of course, I love!).
Yes, Tyree Guyton’s work wasn’t for everyone and I don’t know that I would appreciate it in my neighborhood either, but people came from all over to view it in its heyday. His work was really not as colorful and creative as the work at Anado and Richard’s place – now that’s got pizzazz!. Yes, Fred said he was enjoying your blog … I told him to go back before the Summer and your guest bloggers, as there were more Mexican posts and pictures to peruse.
I am so attracted to this sort of thing, but I always wonder how one actually **cleans** such living spaces. Ya know?
What a treat to interact with the artists in their own home creation. Thanks for taking us (me) along with you in those experiences via your blog.
I admit that I thought about the dusting too. I love seeing the whimsy but I prefer to live in less cluttered surroundings, especially since I am the chief duster in our house 🙂
Wow! This was fun. Also, it never occurred to me to search on Instagram. Great idea!
I have discovered a few little-known spots on Instagram. It’s also a great way to find good settings/angles to photograph.
I would be so at home in this beautiful setting. I love it! And what a good idea to search Instagram for additional travel information. I would never have thought of that! I will now. 🙂
I’m glad you enjoyed the tour! Instagram provides a great data point beyond guide books and travel websites. Also try it for your local area.
Beautiful photos! What and interesting place Casa de las Ranas. From all of your door photos to the “Casa” I would love to visit San Miguel de Allende. Like you I’d have to plan on an extended stay
I hope your get the chance to go, Laura. San Miguel de Allende is a feast for the eyes.
I don’t know if I’m the only person on the planet who has never been on Instagram but, not being a photographer, I never saw the need. You’ve changed my mind, Janis. It would have been such a shame for you to miss Casa de la Ranas. I love the explosion of colour and creativity. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Haha… I bet that you aren’t the only one. I use it in a very limited way (post photos, view the pictures of other people I follow… and, of course, to do travel research). There are other ways to use it but I have no interest in spending even more time in front of a screen 🙂 .
That truly is a magical home. What a wonderful way to spend your life, in a home like that. Very special.
There was much happiness in that home… you could just feel it.
As a non-creative person I am always astounded at the ability of people to create huge designs and combine colours and patterns and create art from it (it’d look like an absolute mish-mash if I tried). Definitely worth the trip just to immerse yourself in so much colour and fun!
I know what you mean. I consider myself fairly creative but no like that! I think an undertaking like that takes creativity, vision, self confidence, and a lot of courage.
What a great find! I love the vibrant colors of Mexico. I would have never thought of using Instagram to find little gems like this.
Instagram doesn’t always work as a source, but it’s worth checking out. In this case, I kept seeing these beautiful mosaics and it prompted me to do a little research.
Amazing…so much life and imagination and spirit! I love the photo of the inside their home; even with all that color it cozy and inviting. I am struggling with Instagram, but I guess I just need to jump and swim around!!
I sent a link to this post to Anado and Richard and received a really nice note back. They are as nice and charming as you would guess from their property. I’m just a neophyte with Instagram. I know that many people do a lot more than just post and look at pictures… but that’s the extent of my experience.
“An explosion of colour” doesn’t quite do this justice! All that mosaic!! Wow a treat to explore!
I would love to peek inside Anado’s brain and see how his creative mind works. One of these days I’d love to try making a mosaic… not on that scale, but colorful.
I would love to visit this place! The mosaic work is fabulous, and the use of colour, and the whimsy.
I hope that if you get back to San Miguel, you add the Chapel of Jimmy Ray on to your itinerary. It’s well worth the time and effort.
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