House of Tiles, House of the Condes del Valle de Orizaba, Mexico City, D.F., 18th Century
This stunningly beautiful house is unique in that the entire exterior wall space of the building is covered with glazed ceramic tiles (azulejos), hence its popular name Casa de Azulejos or House of Tiles. For over two centuries, the property was held by the Condes [Counts] del Valle de Orizaba, one of the wealthiest families in Mexico. There is little documentation on the construction of the building, but a legend has grown up around its origin. It tells of a ne’er-do-well son of one of the Counts. Enraged by his son’s irresponsibility, the Count claims his son will “never build a house of tiles,” a Spanish saying that is the equivalent of saying that he will never amount to anything. The son takes heed, becomes rich, then builds the House of Tiles. Some think that it is more likely that the Countess Graciana (1683-1737) built the house. She moved from Puebla to Mexico City in 1708, and according to her will, she rebuilt the family mansion.
Sanborns purchased the house in 1919 and installed an American-style soda fountain, restaurant and store.