STORY AND PHOTOS BY
Alex and Xochitl (pronounced SO-cheel) Rojas of Jemison, have an eye for recreating space and giving new life to a building. After graduating from Chilton County schools, the couple founded Rojas Construction in 2012 and began “flipping houses” — renovating and restoring properties for rental investment opportunities. After the Rojas family attended a friend’s wedding at a warehouse venue, it gave Alex the idea to open a party rental venue in Chilton County. With Xochitl’s expertise in décor and hosting parties, the couple created Red Sparrow’s Villa — a modern hacienda in Chilton County.
“We purchased property with a warehouse on it,” Alex said. “We knew we wanted to make it into a rental venue for parties, so that people could have weddings, birthday parties or their quinceñeras here. Xochitl has hosted parties and catered weddings before and had that business experience. I also love the business part of having a venue, so we saw this as a great business opportunity for us!”
The name Red Sparrow’s Villa comes from the family’s last name Rojas , which means red in Spanish. Sparrow comes from century-old stories of when pirates used sparrows to help find land, so they would know which way to navigate.
Red Sparrow’s Villa is a unique, unexpected venue because of the architecture. The couple used design plans they had been saving to build their future dream home as inspiration when recreating the space, an architectural style that is only common in Central Mexico.
“I wanted the style to be modeled after the features you frequently see in Morelia or Guadalajara, Mexico — big arches, large entrances that are open from ceiling to floor, an open inner courtyard, rustic chandeliers,” said Xochitl. “I love the arches because it gives the structure something extra. My family is from Veracruz, and you don’t see this style architecture in Veracruz or anywhere near the beach. It is a style that is more common in central Mexico.”
The Rojas used mostly recycled parts when renovating the property.
“The first phase was taking the metal siding off the side of the warehouse and using it as a roof instead,” said Alex. “We added brick, columns and arches. We have a ‘Bride’s Room’ with a separate bathroom. I added a kitchen and bathrooms and added more square footage. Most of the kitchen renovations came from recycled parts, including the cabinets and tile.”
One of the most unique features at Red Sparrow’s Villa is a covered outdoor fireplace that has removable doors.
“We took a survey among our friends and asked them if they would prefer an outdoor fireplace or an indoor fireplace at a venue, and the responses were half and half,” said Xochitl.
The mixed response resulted in the Rojases having custom-built barn doors that are removed upon request and allow the fireplace to transform into an open-air patio venue. When all doors are opened, the ending result is a large Spanish-style fireplace that overlooks the ballroom. They also installed modern creature comforts, such as air conditioning, heating and fans (indoors and outside) — in a style the couple describe as a “modern hacienda.”
The inside of the villa can accommodate 180 guests, although the patio and gazebo area allow more.
Red Sparrow provides tables and chairs
for up to 100 guests. If renters are in need of other amenities such as food, music and photography, Xochitl has a list of contacts that she can recommend.
Outside of construction and venue planning, Alex and Xochitl enjoy spending time with their four children: Israel, Yaretzi, Jurem and Levi.
Red Sparrow’s Villa allows Boy Scouts of America and Cub Scouts to use the villa free of charge, including the “Blue and Gold” Banquet and the annual Pinewood Derby, in which their children participate.
Red Sparrow’s Villa is located at 4280 County Road 25 in Jemison. For more information, visit the Red Sparrow’s Villa Facebook page.