Interesting Home Series:
There is a little Casa Cortez in most dreams about a place in Cabo.
Perhaps it is the beach, or the golf. The boat. The marina for the boat. Or the fancy address with all the accoutrements- guard gates, landscaping, privacy. A home that is a beloved spot where everyone gathers, or a personal sanctuary for nurture and repose.
We went early one morning to see Casa Cortez, down by the ocean at Fundadores in Puerto Los Cabos, San Jose. Arrangements had been made so we sped through the security checkpoints, past rolling fairways, neat gardens and grand houses silhouetted against a waking sky still pink and new.
The oceanfront was beautiful. Big water, big sand, deserted save for a scattering of driftwood and black rocks. Off in the distance, Palmilla. The quiet scene felt like it was mine entirely.
The houses here sit above a high dune that forms a magnificent bridge between civilization and nature.
If you love being by the sea, then this place is it. This was certainly what owners Kathleen and Vinnie Mitz contemplated when they were looking for their Cabo home back in 2019. Kathleen was very clear that she wanted a beach house, where she could hear the ocean and walk on the sand. But Vinnie, an avid golfer, preferred a house on a golf course, just like the three golf course homes they have in the United States.
To help with their decision, they decided to each make a list of their 5 favorite houses and then compare them. In a funny coincidence, Kathleen’s first choice, Casa Cortez, was Vinnie’s fifth. And Vinnie’s first choice was Kathleen’s fifth.
For Kathleen, it was always Casa Cortez. She knew instantly, the minute she saw it, that this was the house. She loved its spirit, how it felt like home. And even though it was in need of upgrading, she could see her family there, all 5 children and grandchildren. The location in Puerto Los Cabos, far from busy, crowded Cabo, was an additional draw. As was the importance of neighborhood, the family oriented activities offered at the club house, the proximity to golf and the marina.
Ultimately, Kathleen’s instincts prevailed. With the help of agent Darren O’Connor of Laidback Luxury Real Estate, they went forward with Casa Cortez in what has turned out to be a happy decision for both.
The idea was to lighten up the original interiors and open the floor plan to make the house into a more contemporary styled beach home with a focus on the patio/outdoor entertainment area and ocean. The front driveway and landscaping would also be updated.
In the end, almost all of the original house was upgraded, including a new backyard and BBQ area, new pool, kitchen and entryway. The work was only recently completed, so the family is finally able to settle in and enjoy their new home.
We walked down the driveway that morning past a charming desert garden planted in a field of blond pea gravel, accented with big rocks, a meandering stone path and lovely stands of tall, thin, romantic palms. I especially like the thoughtful interplay of volume, height, color and leaf shape.
The house, consisting of 4 bedroom suites and a one bedroom guest casita in the front, is designed in a contemporary Mediterranean style- stone and white walled exteriors, tile roofs and classical architectural elements including arches, columns and patios.
You step through the front door into a small patio with a fireplace and cozy seating area, perfect for curling up on frosty days.
A wall of pocket doors leads into an open concept main room where you find the lounge, formal dining area and kitchen. The space is an elegant study in greys, whites and black.
The white farmhouse kitchen is right on point and picture perfect.
The main room is interesting for a second set of pocket doors on the back wall that opens onto an arched, covered terrace, giving a view straight through the house from the front door to the back yard and ocean beyond.
Here, as in all other parts of the house, the beautiful ocean view is the focal point, just as Kathleen intended.
Each of the ensuite bedrooms features a sumptuous, large and uniquely carved wooden bed and matching furniture.
Additionally, the master suite has pocket doors that open onto a private terrace and seating area that overlooks the back patio and pool. It is distinguished by ornately carved, white rubbed woodwork and a dramatic, curved tray ceiling.
All ensuite bathrooms feature double sinks and distinctive round mirrors. You also find a modified version of this design in a guest bathroom.
The outdoor living area, terrace, patio and garden centered around a big infinity pool, is the real showpiece where I think much of the family’s time is spent.
I am struck by the number of seating and dining areas- by the outdoor BBQ, on the covered terrace, around the fire pit, by the pool, on the lawn, against a little stone wall.
I especially like a row of red lounge chairs on the lawn facing the ocean. In the golden light of early morning, they evoke images of grand gardens from earlier times.
My absolute favorite, though, is that wonderful, sandy drop off to the beach. Where the lawn ends and the wild grasses begin. And where you can gaze and feel the promise of that infinite blue horizon.
As Kathleen says, life is unpredictable. So we must enjoy it and live it: plan a trip, listen to the ocean, play in the sand.
I couldn’t agree more.
by Mei-lan Chin-Bing
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