The Penthouse Living Community in Riberas del Pilar, Chapala

The Penthouse, Living in Community where like minds and like hearts meet. That is the opening statement on the flyer given to me by the managers of The Penthouse. It is located in Riberas del Pilar, just a block from the lake and across the street from a green field. The location is perfect for peace and quiet. The idea is for people to be able to have their own apartments but also common rooms to share with others and a common dining room where two meals a day are put out for everyone.  Since people have their own kitchens, they can cook for themselves if they wish. But most people enjoy the dining experience with the other members of the community.

View From upstairs patio

View From upstairs patio

Below is a photo of the common dining room. It is light and airy. There are several book shelves lining the walls. The books are for everyone. Meals are cooked everyday except Sunday. If someone doesn’t show up for breakfast or dinner, then one of the managers goes to that person’s apartment to check if everything is okay. This kind of living experience gives people both privacy and support in case of emergencies. I know a woman who decided to move there after she fell and hit her head and no one knew it for a day. An experience like that can make a person not feel safe living alone anymore. So this kind of living situation is ideal. Living alone can also get awfully lonely. Someone is always around at the Penthouse for conversation or games or just watching television in one of the common rooms.

 Dining Room

Dining Room

There are three full time managers. Below is a photo of Michael Brown and Donna Kinakin. They have been married for twenty five years. They have traveled to different countries but decided to settle in the lakeside area, which has everything they want. They share the responsibilities of running things at the Penthouse with Jan Barns. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of Jan. They all take turns cooking the dinners. Donna was making a delicious looking pork roast when I was there. They buy most of the fruits and veggies at the Tuesday Organic Market. The food is always fresh. Sometimes they have barbeques out on the patio.

Michael Brown and Donna Kinakin

Michael Brown and Donna Kinakin

There are many things to do during the day. It is easy to walk up to the bus stop and take the bus into town. A driver, Sergio, is available to take people anywhere they want to go.  A stroll down to the lake is nice.  Or how about using the weight room? Or swimming in the beautiful outdoor pool? There are many books to choose from and people to socialize with in the common rooms. Or privacy in the individual apartments.

The gym

The gym

How about scheduling a massage with Jan Barns? This costs a little extra but I am guessing it is well worth the money.

Massage Room

Massage Room

Below are two photos of common living rooms. Every room is beautifully decorated and inviting.

Common Living room

Common Living room

 

Common Living room

Common Living room

Below is a photo of the kitchen and dining room that two of the smaller apartments share.

Shared Kitchen and Dining room

Shared Kitchen and Dining room

Laura lives in the above apartment. She is in her nineties. She is very active. She is an artist and many of her beautiful paintings and drawings are on the walls of this space. The below paintings however were made by Efran Gonzalez .

Laura's Paintings

Laura’s Paintings

Below is a photo of the pool. Mike said that he plans to make it solar heated. Right now it is heated only by the sun.  That is solar heated in a way but not as warm as when they actually have solar panels and pipes for the water. There is a garage next door with room enough for ten cars.

Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool

Below is a photo of the outside stairs leading up to the second floor. You can see that the gardens are lovely. If you look closely towards the back in the downstairs area, you will see another small private patio for one of the apartments.

irStairs going to the Second Floor

Stairs going to the Second Floor

Below is a photo of the private patio on the second floor for one of the apartments. My friend is going to be moving in there in a few weeks. She decided she no longer feels comfortable living alone.

Private Upstairs Patio

Private Upstairs Patio

The sculptures in the photo below belong to Mike and Donna. They brought these beautiful objects back from their trip to Africa. But everywhere you look in the Penthouse there are beautiful decorations. Yet, it feels homey and comfortable.

African Figures

African Figures

Below is another example of the decorations. Beautiful Mexican dolls lined along one wall and a painting.

Mexican Dolls

Mexican Dolls

There are Four two bedroom apartments. One is available now. There are ten apartments total. Below is a photo of a smaller apartment. It is one of the least expensive at 900 dollars a month, including the cost of the meals. The price goes up from there, depending on the size of the apartment and number of people living in one.

Available Bedroom

Available Bedroom

Below is a photo of the private bathroom that is connected to the apartment above.

Available Bathroom

Available Bathroom

Mike is standing by the electric lift. We decided to take the stairs instead. There are three floors. Most of the residents use the stairs instead of the lift.

Mike next to the Lift

Mike next to the Lift

Below is a photo of the third floor penthouse. Mike and Donna live in it at the moment but things might change. They are always open to suggestions.

The Penthouse

The Penthouse

Below is a photo of the inside of the penthouse. What a lovely space.

Inside the Penthouse

Inside the Penthouse

Right outside the door of the penthouse is a very large patio for everyone’s use. Fantastic views from there.

View From upstairs patio

View From upstairs patio

Here is another photo of the patio.  As you can see from these photos, there are private sitting areas and then areas for everyone and other areas that only two apartments share. I did not take photos of the residents, for the sake of their privacy.

Upstairs Patio

Upstairs Patio

 Below is a photo of Vivian Kaskow. She has spent a lot of time volunteering at the penthouse. She gave me a ride there and back. Volunteers help keep the place going.

Vivian Kaskow

Vivian Kaskow

There is cable television in the common rooms and also high speed internet access.  These services are included in the monthly price. There is a washer and a dryer that anyone can use and maid service is available. There are also local phones and long distance phones available in the common rooms. If you are interested in more information, please contact them at: livingincommunitymx@gmail.com  Their website is: Livingincommunity.weebly.com or call them at: Cell: 331 330 1050 or 331 363 5580 Land line US number: 505 379 331.

The Penthouse offers the best of both worlds, independent living and community living. It is a creative solution to many of life’s problems as we get older.

Category : Blog &Healthcare &Retirement

5 Comments → “The Penthouse Living Community in Riberas del Pilar, Chapala”


  1. JOAN CROSINA

    Oct 19, 2013

    Lovely unique property. Please send photos of other bedrooms, the exact location. and the rental cost for approximately early January to mid April I have been a snow bird for approximately 5 or 6 winters. . Thanks ….Joan Crosina I would be the only person in the rental. Would need to know the distance to the bus….I would be walking.
    When I hit the Submit key it tells me to enter a valid email.
    joanniesee@aol.com This has been my email address for years. Do you have vonage or magic jack?? my number Toronto 905 294-6985

    reply

  2. andrea kaufman

    Jul 16, 2014

    Interested in your community.
    Would appreciate more information.
    rates etc.
    Is it safe/sensible to attempt to drive to your area from the US. We are 2 retired women.

    reply

    • Mike and Donna

      Nov 07, 2014

      Hi Andrea,
      I just saw you response on the news article. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. I have driven back and forth to and from the states about 25 times over the last 10 years. There was never a time when I didn’t feel safe and I can tell you a few stories about car breakdowns,etc. I met a lot of helpful people. Our packages include 2 meals, 6 days a week. The lowest package is US$1000.00 a month for a small studio apartment. If you are serious about driving down, I will give you some tips and advice on the best routes, etc. My wife and I actually drove from South Africa to Kenya, so driving in Mexico is actually much easier. Ha! Let me know if you need more info. Mike

      reply

  3. Doreen Davies

    Nov 06, 2014

    Hi there.

    P.S. Looking so forward to going back to LC for the warm, sunny days which sure have been lacking here…lots of dark, rainy colder days in northern Ontario!

    My husband and I are going to LC in mid Jan. to just after mid Feb. this winter and interested in seeing your lovely place, maybe to possibly volunteer at some point if you need help.

    We are staying in the San Antonio area at Casa Luz, a few blocks south of the Walmart area.

    Could you please give me directions to your location and I will email you after we arrive in Jan. to make arrangements to meet you.

    Thanks for answering my ad on Kijiji.
    Doreen and Ron Davies

    reply

    • Mike and Donna

      Nov 07, 2014

      Hi Doreen and Ron, I know Tomas and Luz. Their B&B is beautiful and they are beautiful people. We are a 15 minute walk from them;–about a 1 and 1/2 miles. We would love for you to come over. Can you email me at: livingincommunitymx@gmail.com at I will send you a map of how to get here. We are very open to volunteers. Thanks! Mike and Donna

      reply

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