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Regina Garay

Living in Cuba: Arts, Architecture and Decor

The Gran Teatro mixes Baroque, Art Nouveau and Neoclassical styles | Living in Cuba | Paint + PatternThe Gran Teatro mixes Baroque, Art Nouveau and Neoclassical styles.

Cuba is the largest island of the Caribbean and one of its most beguiling. The country is fertile in architecture and arts and its interiors enjoy a wonderful mix of influences from both Europe and Latin America. Famed photographer Simon McBride and expert writer Alexandra Black travel from one coast to another to share the culture of Living in Cuba. The book captures the exotic atmosphere and warm personalities of its people as well as the island’s brilliant mix of design styles, from baroque to art nouveau and art deco.

Paneled doors were installed in order to control the amount of heat coming into the Cuban Homes | Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

Abundant sunlight is an issue. Paneled doors were installed in order to control the amount of heat coming into the homes.

Painter Enrique Garcia Cabrera's studio in Cuba| Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

Eschewing grand architectural details evident in so many other residences, painter and illustrator Enrique Garcia Cabrera built his home with a clean, graphic and functional design. This is his studio behind the main house which still houses an unfinished painting.

Faded frescoes form the 17th century Casa de la Obra Pia| Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

Many walls have faded frescoes, as this one in the 17th century Casa de la Obra Pia. It is a former Havana aristocratic residence that is now a museum.

Italianate frescoes adorn Moorish arches in this stately Cuban home| Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

One can spy the influence of several countries as Italianate frescoes adorn Moorish arches in this stately Cuban home.

Colored glass bottles are used to filter sunlight into a space | Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

Daub plaster was used to construct the first homes in Cuba. In more modern applications, the colored glass bottles are used to filter sunlight into a space.

Glorious patinas flank the walls along an interior garden path in the city of Santiago de Cuba| Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

Glorious patinas flank the walls along an interior garden path in the city of Santiago de Cuba.

Yellow and cobalt blue tiles (azulejos) adorn some of the architecture in old Havana | Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

Yellow and cobalt blue tiles (azulejos) adorn some of the architecture in old Havana.

Chipped masonry and distressed paint only add to the allure of this turn-of-the-century former clinic | Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

Chipped masonry and distressed paint only add to the allure of this turn-of-the-century former clinic.

Intriguing wall ornamentation and furniture pieces adorn the Museum Casa de Diego Velazquez | Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

Intriguing wall ornamentation and furniture pieces adorn the Museum Casa de Diego Velazquez.

A home in Trinidad with a beautiful mix of ironwork, tiles and decorative painting | Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

A home in Trinidad with a beautiful mix of ironwork, tiles and decorative painting.

Tiles and native Indian motifs adorn the walls and floor of a residence in the city of Baracoa | Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

Tiles and native Indian motifs adorn the walls and floor of a residence in the city of Baracoa.

An elegant dining room in a Colonial style house | Living in Cuba | Paint + Pattern

An elegant dining room in a Colonial style house.  The color green was chosen to help soften and reduce the glare of the sunlight.

Cuba’s pristine landscapes and sunny weather have not changed much since Columbus landed on its shores in 1492. Many of its settled areas are crumbling and graciously decaying, but the resilience and undeniable beauty lives on in the towns and in the hearts of its warm, vibrant and welcoming people. We hope you’ve enjoyed their penchant for exuberant decoration during our virtual tour provided by Living in Cuba.

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