Treehouses and mansions: Life in the shadow of the US-Mexico fence

TIJUANA, March 24 (Reuters) - The rust-red U.S. fence along the Mexican border has inspired various quirky architectural structures, from a frontier-themed mansion to a humble treehouse with uninterrupted views across the Californian scrubland.

Carlos Torres, an architect in the northern Mexican city of Tijuana, has lived in a house in the shadow of the U.S. border for three decades, and the fence that U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to expand begins at the end of his garden.

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Yet far from seeing the metal wall as an eyesore, he chose to make it a central piece of the design esthetic of his lavish home, which he has named "The First House in Northwest Mexico."

A specially erected viewpoint provides a panoramic vista into the United States, while his garden is littered with border paraphernalia, such as a signpost indicating the start of U.S. territory.

35 PHOTOS
Various types of homes, lifestyles in shadow of the border fence
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Various types of homes, lifestyles in shadow of the border fence
A shoe and clothes pins are seen on a clothes line next to a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, March 3, 3017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Tourists take pictures next to the fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mexican Carlos, 27, who says that he was deported from the United States, heats up tortillas at his house near the double fence that separates Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pensioner Pedro, 72, rests outside his home near a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 21, 2017. "Neither Trump nor the wall is going to stop anyone, maybe just for a moment," he said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pants hang on a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A man is fishing next to the fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mexican carpenter Porfirio, 68, stands near a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Joaquin, 36, a chef from Guatemala who says he was deported from the United States, builds a bed in a tree, near a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 26, 2017. "I've tried to cross so many times that the (U.S.) border guards even got to know me, but I never made it back," said Joaquin, who makes a living by collecting trash in Tijuana that he tries to sell to a local recycling plant. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Joaquin, 36, a chef from Guatemala who says he was deported from the United States, poses for a photograph while leaning on a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 26, 2017. "I've tried to cross so many times that the (U.S.) border guards even got to know me, but I never made it back," said Joaquin, who makes a living by collecting trash in Tijuana that he tries to sell to a local recycling plant. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A man sells hot dogs next to the fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mexican carpenter Porfirio, 68, cuts his son's hair outside their home near the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pensioner Pedro, 72, is seen at his house near a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 26, 2017. "Neither Trump nor the wall is going to stop anyone, maybe just for a moment," he said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pensioner Pedro, 72, caresses his dog Orejona outside his home near a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 23, 2017. "Neither Trump nor the wall is going to stop anyone, maybe just for a moment," he said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A shopping cart with a typical Mexican hat and a broom are seen next to the fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A member of the U.S. border patrol inspects the area where the border fence separating Mexico and the United States is interrupted, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The border fence separating Mexico and the United States is seen through a hole of a second border fence in an area where double border fences were built, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A family burns trash near a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A girl runs outside her home near a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mexican architect Carlos Torres, 68, adjusts signs near the double border fences separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 25, 2017. "Walls won't halt immigration," Torres said. Trump, he said, "doesn't know what he's talking about. Here at this fence, people keep crossing every week." REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A girl climbs stairs near a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Carpenter Moses and dental assistant Sara's home stands near a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, March 5, 2017. "Trump is a good actor, a racist and is ignorant of God and people. Kennedy said, we are brothers and no walls are needed," Sara said. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mexican architect Carlos Torres, 68, is reflected in a glass window of his house near a section of the double border fences separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, March 1, 2017. "Walls won't halt immigration," Torres said. Trump, he said, "doesn't know what he's talking about. Here at this fence, people keep crossing every week." REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pilar, 27, a housewife, cleans her house near a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A house stands near a section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A shack stands next to a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Joaquin, 36, a chef from Guatemala who says he was deported from the United States, sits underneath a tree near a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 28, 2017. "I've tried to cross so many times that the (U.S.) border guards even got to know me, but I never made it back," said Joaquin, who makes a living by collecting trash in Tijuana that he tries to sell to a local recycling plant. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A section of the border fence separating Mexico (L) and the United States is seen on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The Mexican neighborhood Nido de Aguilas is seen next to the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A painting of Jesus Christ is seen on the wall of a house, next to a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A house stands next to a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A section of the fence separating Mexico and the United States is seen, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An officer of the U.S. border patrol inspects the area where the border fence separating Mexico and the United States is interrupted, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mexican engineer Enrique, 65, walks around a basketball court at his house, next to the border fence that separates Mexico and the United States and which also serves as the fence for his house, in Tijuana, Mexico, February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The roof of a house made with an advertisement banner is seen next to a section of the border fence separating Mexico and the United States, on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido SEARCH "FENCE GARRIDO" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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Although Torres has embraced his little section of wall, he doubted the larger fence that Trump envisages will work.

"Walls won't halt immigration," he said from his viewing balcony, which also looks out onto the Pacific Ocean. Trump, he said, "doesn't know what he's talking about. Here at this fence, people keep crossing every week."

The wall also dominates Pedro and Carmen Hernandez's garden, but unlike Torres, they don't have the means to turn it into a design feature. Instead, they use the corrugated metal that looms over their modest home to hang their clothes to dry.

"Sometimes, we've had people in our gardens who are trying to cross over," Carmen said. "This area has been dangerous for years. We've had murders and kidnappings. But one learns to live with it."

Related: Take a look at life on the other side of the fence:

21 PHOTOS
The US border town built on Mexican produce
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The US border town built on Mexican produce
A man in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico looks through the U.S. border fence into Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Trucks wait to carry shipments of vegetables from Mexico to the rest of the U.S. at SunFed produce packing and shipping warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Quality Control Inspector Gilberto Nunez, 50, checks vegetables at SunFed produce packing and shipping warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Matt Mandel, VP Operations for SunFed, (R) watches Quality Control Inspector Gilberto Nunez, 50, pack vegetables at SunFed produce packing and shipping warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Workers unload shipments of vegetables from Mexico at SunFed produce packing and shipping warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Nogales, Arizona, U.S. is seen from the abutting town of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The international border port crossing to Mexico is seen in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Truck driver Howard Casale, 64, prepares to carry shipments of vegetables from Mexico to Boston at SunFed produce packing and shipping warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Mauricio Felix, 38, (R) washes dishes with Alejandro Galindo, 42, in his family's restaurant, Rancho Grande, in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Trucks and cars cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Matt Mandel, VP Operations, views tomatoes at SunFed produce packing and shipping warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Quality Control Inspector Gilberto Nunez, 50, checks vegetables at SunFed produce packing and shipping warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The U.S. border with Mexico is seen in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
People in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico are seen through the U.S. border fence as they queue to cross into Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A woman walks toward the U.S. border port with Mexico in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A man walks past a grocery store next to the U.S. border port with Mexico in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A man sits next to the U.S. border port with Mexico in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Border Patrol Agent David Ruiz patrols the U.S. border with Mexico in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The U.S. border with Mexico is seen in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The U.S. border with Mexico is seen in Nogales, Arizona, U.S., January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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A few kilometers east of Torres' mansion, Guatemalan chef Joaquin set up a much simpler home in the branches of a tree, just meters from the border.

Deported from the United States a few years ago and with little money to spend, Joaquin - who did not want his last name used so he would not be identified - hoisted a scruffy mattress into the heart of the tree and spends his nights staring up through the leaves into the heavens. During the day, he often spots dozens of migrants trying to sneak into the United States.

"I've tried to cross so many times that the (U.S.) border guards even got to know me, but I never made it back," said Joaquin, who makes a living by collecting trash in Tijuana that he tries to sell to a local recycling plant.

See more responses to proposed changes at the border:

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