n the heart of Cuenca's El Centro district stands a gloriously renovated, patrimonial mansion once belonging to the first Archbishop of Cuenca, Ecuador. The grandeur of this 13,500 square foot jewel is a shining example of the harmonious blend of original artisan craftsmanship and the addition of the best exotic woods, stone, hand-crafted tile and rough-hewn marble. This grand house was built in the 1850s and served as the quarters of the first Archbishop of Cuenca. It still has the original rooftop chapel – only one of three rooftop chapels remaining in Cuenca.
Enjoy the large, glass-covered terrace as you relax outdoors in any type of weather with a fabulous view of the blue domes of Azuay's largest church. The vaulted, wood ceilings with rough-hewn timbers in all rooms make for an expansive, opulent feeling of space. There are eight remote-controlled gas fireplaces placed throughout the house, including in each bedroom, a beautiful way to to keep one warm and comfortable.
Experience the soothing sound of the two indoor fountains or sit in the backyard as the flow of the outdoor fountain adds to the tranquil setting. You walk upon elegance on the gorgeous chanul hardwood (red mahogany) from the Amazon forest. The hardwood is used for flooring in the living room, grand sala, offices and bedrooms. The spacious master bath is floored in teak with room enough for the boards to expand, allowing the steam shower to go, well, full-steam ahead when you'd like some personal sauna time.
Hand-made bricks set in a herringbone pattern flow through the entry, indoor atriums, kitchens and dining area as well as all hallways, giving the house its patrimonial quality while at the same time exuding luxury and a respect for the historical significance of the home of Cuenca's popular and beloved Archbishop. Two huge, domed skylights soar three stories above the two indoor fountains, providing excellent natural light throughout the day. The larger fountain and several fireplaces are constructed from the original marble that were part of an outdoor space before the renovation!
All four large, luxury bedroom suites have been beautifully designed and include gas fireplaces. The ensuite bathrooms are tiled with elegant slate and the counters are from Ecuador's own teak forests. Two bedrooms have kitchenettes for that morning cup of coffee or tea with toast. You will find fabulous, soaring stone walls built floor-to-ceiling in both common areas and in bedrooms - a sensational and stunning effect. The luxurious master bedroom has an adjacent walk-in closet with all teak built-ins and leads to the master bath. The remarkable master bath comes with a bubble tub (so you can use essentials oils or bath salts in your water without damaging the motor), the aforementioned steam shower and a remote-controlled fireplace. You will find it the ultimate place to relax and regenerate.
Striking solid teak counters in all bathrooms and the kitchens are beautifully finished to perfection. Their glowing and distinctive wood grain warms the rooms. Stay home and work from your two office suites, each with plenty of floor-to-ceiling library shelving. Twenty-one hand-forged, wrought iron chandeliers were individually designed and crafted by professionals. Each fit the rooms for which they were created and their uniqueness perfectly finishes the style of each room and are on dimmer switches for your desired level of ambiance.
Over 40 hand-thrown pottery wall sconces give the house a natural glow at night and allow easy navigation without the need to turn on the overhead lights --- a very subtle touch. All door and cabinet hardware is hand-forged, wrought iron and designed for the spaces in which they operate. Their design stays within the patrimonial theme of old but worthy. Custom-made curtains and draperies with artisan-crafted rods provide privacy and darken all rooms when one desires. These same windows open to the landings and courtyards for fresh airflow and light throughout the house. The draperies in the grand sala pull back to reveal hand carved wooden doors leading to wrought iron balconies.
Two wet bars and multiple serving credenzas make it simple to host large parties -- your staff can easily and quickly serve guests their drinks of choice! The hacienda-style kitchen includes a large hanging, wrought iron pot rack, deep sinks, a garbage disposal, and the latest high-end appliances which include a side-by-side refrigerator-freezer, GE dishwasher, and the best faucet hardware. It has been plumbed for the installation of a commercial stove whenever one is ready and there is a beautiful pasta pot faucet above that space for easy filling while at the stove - no heavy pots to carry.
The laundry room comes with a large capacity General Electric front-load washer and dryer set. Empleada quarters with ensuite bath provide a place for live-in assistance if you choose - otherwise, another bedroom with ensuite bath or more storage! The third story is a large glass-covered terrace with a view of Cuenca's blue-domed cathedral. It is lit at night for a view few people have here!
GLORIOUSLY FULLY RENOVATED COLONIAL HOUSE IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN CUENCA
Luxury apartment bay view