CASAxCASA: The Gomez’s House

The House Gomez
St. Lucia, Maracaibo, Venezuela.

“The Gomez” are famous in St. Lucia for being five sisters who have always lived in the same house by the Boulevard Santa Lucia in Maracaibo. It is easy to find them because the front of the house is green, yellow and pink. Their house is also a reflection of a family tradition. Every so often, the Gomez family gathers to review and decide together on the color scheme that home will display for the next ten years.

Ms. Consuelo Chacín de Gomez arrived to the house when she was 3 years old. She moved from Punta de Palma (city north of Zulia state) to Santa Lucía. Her older brother worked as a sailor for Creole (oil company that became Petroleos de Venezuela SA) and bought a small house in St. Lucia for his mother and sisters. The house had a room, a kitchen, a living room and a large patio with a bath in the end. The house had high cane ceilings to maintain the house cool from the heat of the city. The courtyard had a large orange tree, a patch of grenades and traditional venezuelan plant, similar to the almond tree.

When Consuelo grew older she fell in love with her brother’s friend, a native of Falcon, Angel Augusto Gomez. When she was 22 years old they married and bought the house to the Chacins. They had their first three daughters, so they decided it was necessary to expand the house. In 1956 they built three additional rooms and had three more children. Consequently, in 1987 they bought the lot next door and expanded the social area of the house, built a larger kitchen, and even left room for a garage by the plot.

Currently the house is the home of Consuelo, three of the Gómez sisters and one granddaughter with her husband and son. In addition to the house, Chabela (one of five), built a small apartment on the second floor of the social area. Chabela’s husband, Luis, is a musician. The couple often travels to the United States to visit their children. In addition, Luis plays music in Miami while Chabela enjoys time with her children and grandchildren.

During the visit, the house is full of children. Some sleep in a hammocks, others watch television or run along the corridor that separates the social area to the rooms. In the dining room one can find Consuelo’s sewing machines and of course, the altar of saints which “cannot be touched.” There is still a courtyard at the back of the house where there is a grapefruit tree and other small plants. However, the meeting place is a living room with large windows and double doors, typical of the local architecture.

After a lifetime in Santa Lucia and in the same house, Consuelo is not going anywhere, despite her daughters coming and going. They tell us Consuelo would never leave Santa Lucia, not even after losing her youngest son in the corner of the house due to urban violence.In fact, if she were to leave she would take the entire house along as she refuses to abandon the memories of a lifetime.


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