Inside an Oceanside Mexico Vacation Villa Devoted to Indoor-Outdoor Living


When a Los Angeles family was looking for a place to build a beachfront vacation villa, they found themselves drawn to Chileno Bay, in Mexico, at the southern tip of Baja California in Cabo San Lucas. The four members of the family—a couple and their two grown children—all work in real estate and fashion and the children had been to Baja many times on holidays with friends. The Chileno Bay development where they found their dream vacation spot is organized around a golf course, restaurant, and clubhouse. The house sits next to the clubhouse and faces a rare swimmable beach in Cabo, which is known for its treacherous surf.

The mission which Jordan Sholem and Jessica Katz, the decorators and cofounders of J2 Interiors, chose to accept was to create a spacious and comfortable vacation home. “The owners wanted the house to be integrated into this beautiful coastal landscape, creating a synergy between indoor and outdoor spaces with a harmonious blend of modern aesthetics and natural materials. They also requested a coffee table for the living room that would be large and solid enough for them to dance on it, as they love to drink tequila and party!” the two decorators say with a laugh.

The first challenge facing J2 Interiors was to source or design furniture that could hold its own with the home’s 13-foot-high ceilings and fill rooms and spaces with vast dimensions. The curtains and window treatments required dozens of meters of fabric. The coffee table built to support dancing revelers in the living room measures six and a half feet by six and a half feet. It, too, was designed with the immense scale of the living room in mind.

The way the architecture of the house plays with light is among its most striking features. The architects from Ogarrio Zapata Arquitectos created a cantilevered staircase in the center of the large reception patio that allows light to pass between each step in one of the house’s many dramatic aesthetic gestures. From the spectacular entrance, with its large water mirror to the view of the sea through the vast living room, the space is entirely open to the outside thanks to windows that disappear entirely into the thickness of the walls. The house is a series of visually powerful scenes, another is found on the first-floor outdoor terrace with its six-foot square fireplace. The large oversized bench with soft seats and cushions is ideal for lounging under the stars and facing the sea “with a glass of tequila in hand.”

With the villa’s design requiring an entire year just to excavate through the existing slabs of rock, which was then followed by three years of construction, Sholem and Katz had plenty of time to think about the project’s ambience and look. The interior walls are travertine and all the built-ins—storage units, bookcases, kitchen—are in Mexican walnut. The color palette alternates between deep chocolate browns and taupes, or lighter tones like honey and caramel which contrast with the walls and ceilings in an off-white. The furniture combine contemporary lines, different visual effects thanks to the various materials used, and warm textures. Above the kitchen island, a hanging light fixture is made up of multiple glass bubbles, like frozen drops of water, adding a feeling of softness and roundness.

Ecru dominates and provides a soothing elegance throughout the vacation villa. It’s all about living comfortably and relaxing in a contemporary ambience that is chic yet simple. From its breathtaking views to the fluidity of its lines integrated into nature, the house reflects a harmonious marriage of modernity and beauty. While the furnishings are largely new, in keeping with the architecture, “they were also chosen for their ability to stand the test of time… and tequila,” the designers say with a smile. The owners, who were involved in every stage of the project, are delighted with the final result. “They’ve already hosted numerous parties at the house!”—and the coffee table is still standing.

This story originally appeared in AD France. It was translated and adapted by John Newton.

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