El Barco

The entrance to El Barco, a rambling home of many layers.

The entrance to El Barco, a rambling home of many layers.

Built of adobe and decorated in a rustic Mexican style with crafts from all over the state of Oaxaca, the house features modern facilities with an old world charm. Built by a French architect who lived on the neighboring hill in the 1960s, the original house looks vaguely like the prow of a boat on the hilltop, hence the name "El Barco". The living-room architecture captures every passing breeze, with views both toward the nearby eastern mountains and the western valley and distant hills. Over the decades a succession of artists have owned and added their own buildings and touches to this magical, rambling compound. The house features "great room"-style living and dining, with a small but complete kitchen. The main house's bedroom is large with a double bed, a small adjoining bedroom/study with a single bed and a rolling bed stored underneath. There are two complete bathrooms in the house. The adjacent and spacious "master suite" is reached via a few steps outside. In addition to a queen bed, there's a large complete bathroom. The main house also features a small cubby bedroom atop winding stairs for an adventurous kid. While El Barco is best for two couples, it will comfortably sleep 6 or even 7 in a pinch.