We’ve rented a sprawling and very affordable ‘casa chorizo’ in San Telmo in a quiet residential street near Parque Lezama and around the corner from oh-so-stylish Caseros with its excellent restaurants and bars. There are thousands of these faded elegant gems all over Buenos Aires and dating from around the late 19thC and into the early 20th, so they’re packed with original features such as marble staircases, old wooden floors, incredibly high ceilings with large wooden fans, occasional stained glass windows and glass conservatory-like screens for neighbourly privacy. Our apartment has a street-front wrought-iron balcony and a real bonus, a whole private roof garden terrace, accessed up stairs through the old maids’ quarters in the roof, itself the size of our entire home back in Sydney… just saying.
Casa Chorizo apartments really are sprawling (there’s that word again) and typically consist of a whole floor through with an open gallery to one side and to the sky to allow for ventilation and light. Bedrooms peel off this open tiled corridor all the way to the back of the building, re-connecting with a central tower of utility rooms and bathrooms (unique to each apartment). So essentially, several long apartments abutting each other at different angles, an intriguing arrangement as you can hear and see other people across the light-wells, up and down – a dad playing soccer with his young son several flights down in their courtyard in an entirely different house, a late night party with couples dancing to mournful tango music as glimpsed through a bathroom window across the light-well, someone tinkling on the piano one early morning and the waft of a meal being cooked for another family, always somewhere in this amazingly conjoined community.