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About Us

We came to Merida in October 2001 from New York where we had a store in Soho. Naturemorte was on Broome Street and featured antiques from France and Mexico mixed with designer home furnishings from Spain. Josh was a textile designer who specialized in home furnishings. He was raised in San Diego and graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago. He attended the Art Institute Study Abroad program in San Miguel de Allende. Josh has a fine arts degree but his passion is design and architecture. In Merida Josh makes art, designs lamps and furniture. As well he designs and renovates homes. John was raised in Texas and studied art and architecture. He worked in art galleries in Houston and New York before moving to Paris. In Paris he worked as a designer for firms like Hermes, Christian Lacroix Couture & Sonia Rykiel. In 1998 John took a year off to study film at New York University. In New York John met Josh and they started making trips throughout Mexico. Both avid collectors of crafts and antiques they soon could not contain their collections and decided to open Naturemorte. On one such trip they bought a beach house on the gulf coast and the Ermita property in the colonial city of Merida. After 16 years of living in Merida we have completed more than 15 homes for ourselves and for private clients. Some of these homes and villas are available to rent for your holiday.

About Best of Yucatan

Our ¨Best of Yucatan¨ blog has existed in one form or another for the past 15 years.  Now we have created a website where you can find our suggestions and the information you will need for your vacation in Merida and the Yucatan.  On the blog you can find links to the many articles about Merida in the international travel magazines such as Travel+Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler, fashion magazines like Vogue and W,  Design Magazines like 1st Dibs and AD.  Reviews and suggestions for which restaurants to eat in and what to order.  Day trips from Merida that will take you to Maya ruins and Colonial Haciendas.  You can take a break at the cenotes or nearby lagoons and beaches.  We have guides for shopping, galleries and suggestions on how to spend your week in Merida. We are the oldest blog in Merida without advertisers so our only agenda is helping you discover what we love the most about living in the Yucatan.  You can also follow us on social media like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

About Urbano Rentals

Urbano Rentals features town homes in the historic center of Merida as well as private country estates for vacation rentals.  Many of our rentals were renovated by and for ourselves and have the highest standards of design and comfort. Our first home, the 17c L’Ermita de Santa Isabel, is in one the oldest barrios of Merida’s colonial era. Our newest house the contemporary Meson San Sebastian is just around the corner. The Orangerie de Santa Ana is a home that Josh designed for his parents. The new owners added a second master bedroom suite and roof terraces in 2011. Josh designed his luxurious home El Portico de la Candelaria in 2007.  For the holidays in 2016 we started renting a large home that we designed and renovated. Villa Los Arcos de San Juan is a colonial casona that was renovated in 1930 and again by us in 2006.

We met the owners of Casa Azul de Santiago the year we moved to Merida and it has been one of our most popular rentals from the beginning. Over the years we have been updating and decorating Casa Azul but the house was renovated by Salvador Reyes in 2001. There is a lot of original furniture he designed specifically for Casa Azul. In 2001 our first design project upon arriving in Merida from New York was to collaborate with Salvadore Reyes Rios and Josephina Larrain on a home in the Pueblo Magico town of Izamal. This home and studio for the owners of the Hacienda San Jose Cholul also serves as an artist in residence retreat & gallery. In 2006 we added Hacienda San Antonio to our portfolio . In 2012 we added Mayazul, another Reyes Rios + Larrain project finished in the same year as Rosas y Xocolate Hotel. Mayazul is actually two houses that are easily combined giving 5 bedrooms, ideal for a family reunion.

All of our rental properties are in colonial Merida’s centro historico except a private hacienda near the village of Acanceh 30 minutes from Merida. The Hacienda San Antonio compound includes a contemporary award winning home, Casa Agave, and both were designed by Reyes Rios + Larrain. Josephina Larrain has updated the beautiful gardens in 2017 when several buildings were added to the estate. The hacienda is a popular rental for destination weddings.

It is our sincere wish that as our guests you will feel more at home and less like tourists.  In fact many of our guests have bought homes in Merida over the past 15 years. Welcome to the best of Yucatan.

“John Powell and Josh Ramos, design-minded expats from New York, meticulously renovate and restore charming old houses in and near Merida, and rent them out to travelers.”

–  T Magazine