Chicago titan, John Venator, spent the last five decades collecting Mexican folk art and outsider pieces. In 2000, John and wife Dorianne purchased prime Valladolid real estate, they invested eight and a half years renovating, while also adding to this preexisting 18k sq. ft. Spanish colonial, steps off Francisco Cantón Park — at last, Casa de los Venados.

Their well-informed staff rotates providing visitors guided tours through their Mexican art-crazed home most every day at 10 a.m., 11, 12 p.m. and 2. The Venators founded a charitable organization that helps assist funding Mexico’s forlorn medical needs. Suggested visitor donation, only 80 pesos, not the Metropolitan Museum of Art entrance fee, yet Casa de los Venados is an unprecedented three thousand-plus-piece collection exhibiting Mexican artists, illuminating distinctive talent from nearly every federal entity.

I asked Manuel, our hotel owner about real estate value surrounding Valladolid’s main park, his Hotel Casa San Roque is a stone’s throw away. Manuel’s answer shocked me, “around eight million pesos for a 9k sq. ft. colonial,” (in shambles.) Eight million pesos, depending upon that moment’s exchange rate would be equivalent to 407k USD, buys diddly-squat, not even a 350 sq. ft.condo in Manhattan, San Francisco or groovier Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Most of us regular folks don’t often have the opportunity to make ourselves at home in an 18k sq. ft. house, let alone, one executed so superlatively as Casa de los Venados. This is in fact John and Dorianne’s intention, to allow visitors a sense they’re the Venator’s personal guests, even if it’s just an hour.


I should further note what might be more thought provoking than Casa de los Venados itself: Valladolid’s under the radar Yucatán location; John and Dorianne’s numero uno pick of anywhere in Mexico. The Venator’s art collection isn’t by any means lightweight, nor their sprawling Spanish colonial home and endowment. John and Dorianne Venator will leave a legacy behind others can appreciate for future years to come.


Lately a handful of my monied patrons voice outrage concerning rising costs, along with high taxes, specifically on property in the United States. Sad to say, all too many Americans, besides my clientele, strategize their retirement steeped within the box — not John Venator. There was something fascinating about Mexico which kept John returning for more, eventually calling it home.

Frequently one little picture can express an accurate tale; whether my wife’s Samsung Note 7 does Casa de los Venados justice or not is entirely up to you, now the beholder.


days later….

Perhaps addressing you “Johnny,” by an endearing manner, the way most watched NBC at 11:30p.m. decades ago adored Johnny Carson should assist this upcoming pitch; hip hip hooray for us on our daughter’s behalf.

Last week, Jeanette my wife, daughter LouLou and I were treated to a tour of Casa de los Venados by David. You made an eye-blinking appearance, introduced yourself before dashing off to Mérida for a doctor’s appointment. We wished you well on your way out — we’re thoughtful in that respect.

Google me, “Jehr” easily pinpoints Jehr Schiavo information. Self published July 23, 2016, Mr. Haute Coiffure is my first book: a nonfiction satirical narrative nailing the nefarious beauty industry. Famiglia di Schiavo is an atypical trio — Jeanette, LouLou, our world-schooled, soon to be thirteen-year-old daughter and moi. We’ve been exploring faraway regions with balmy temperatures since 2008, patently defining the phrase modern bedouin. Musical chairs, quite similar to our eclectic lifestyle; when the music pauses, we take a break, making optimum use of that available seat.


Next Friday September 23rd, is LouLou’s birthday. She will officially become a teenager — in nowhere other than magical Valladolid. I’m not proposing vibrant happy birthday banners, piñata, confetti, nor seven piece mariachi band. Jeanette and I hope to deliver a pineapple, as Maya etiquette recommends, some birthday candles and one festive cake for five — you, along with Dorianne, our unforeseen hosts.

We relished that hour touring Casa de los Venados; extending our visit slightly longer, so intimately, could be a lasting remembrance for Jeanette and I, but particularly LouLou. LouLou isn’t aware of our secret collaboration, calling this a surprise would underemphasize the word. Leaving D’More bakery, heading directly to your sumptuous abode should be I’d guess about the biggest eye-opener of her life.

What’dya say John, think you can run this by Dorianne?

You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometime you just might find

You just might find

You get what you need Oh yeah

Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, 1969

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