Interesting Home Series:
We headed over to Pedregal early one morning to play in the snow. Yes, snow. In Pedregal, that upscale neighborhood on the cliffs by the sea, with the cobblestone streets, the gorgeous private beach and the crashing waves. Snow in sunny Cabo.
It was the best kind, white, fluffy, swirly, snowy. And lots of it, one of many marvels we saw that day at La Datcha, an incredible oceanfront home, the happy confluence of an exemplary site, strong architecture and exquisite design.
Here, the land extends out to a little point, ending in a dramatic outcropping of rocks on the sand. These beautiful formations anchor one corner of the house and make a striking focal point.
On either side, as far as you can see, miles of wide, deserted beach. Along the shore, ocean view houses covering hillsides recall other famous coastlines in beautiful places.
I spoke recently with Dasha Tinkova, the managing director of La Datcha, who told me that the spectacular view was the reason the owners chose this property. Cabo had been a favorite family vacation spot for them and now they were looking for a new place to augment an exclusive collection of boutique resorts around the world. They had seen 3 houses in the area but nothing else could compare. Once they acquired the property, they razed a preexisting house on the site to make way for their new project. Then they dispatched their architect-designer on a 3 month trip through Mexico for inspiration.
The results, after 2 years of construction, are impressive: Two levels, the lower opening right onto the sand. Pristine white buildings, clean, straight lines which juxtapose with the curves of an infinity pool built into the rocks on one end and extending along the breadth of the property to the other, making what must surely be the largest private swimming pool in Cabo. Traditional Mexican architectural elements like arches and columns are given an updated and contemporary treatment.
In a nod to the owner’s Russian roots, the name for the house, datcha, is the word for a Russian country cottage or summer retreat. Such a modest connotation, however, belies the true grandeur of the house. Metaphorically, La Datcha is more like a Russian matryoshka doll, one of those nesting figurines, which unfold, layer upon layer, to reveal even more variations on a lovely central idea or pattern.
I was totally surprised the first time I stepped into the main house. You go past a big, glass-enclosed wine cellar, cross a courtyard and enter a lofty great room resplendent with color and pattern.
The dramatic white shaft of a barrel vaulted ceiling, textured in a stylized hieroglyphic design, dominates the space and makes a bold counterpoint to the sensuality and complexity of the furnishings. At the far end, a great archway frames a view of the outdoors- patio, pool and ocean blue. There is almost a cathedral like quality with the light streaming in at an angle, the verticality and sensory experience of the space.
I like the symmetry of the decor which gives a certain power to the room. Two giant chandeliers, not a pair but two in different styles, mark each end of the ceiling. The central seating area is arranged in a large square with sofas upholstered in rich oranges and reds on a carpet with a bold black and white Zapotec design. This square seating format repeats in the covered patio outside.
Color is everywhere, in poufs, on cushions and patio walls decorated with Mexican glass hearts. In the dining area, 3 large piñata style globe chandeliers complement the oranges, pinks and blues of dining chairs and table linens. It is a nice change from the muted tones that are so popular today and speaks much more to the traditional Mexican aesthetic.
The infinity pool is beautiful for its voluptuous lines and unusual for two features- a large round sunken platform with table and chairs for dining in the pool itself, and, at the far end near the rocks, a small planter in the water with a tree. I especially like this touch, there is a stark beauty to the bare branches reaching to the sky, illuminated in the early morning glow.
Downstairs, right on the sand past an outdoor palapa bar, are the spa and fitness area. Dasha talks about the joys of working out at sunrise in the gym, a lovely curved room with a bank of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the view. It is as close as you can get to exercising on the beach.
Next door are an elegant jacuzzi, massage room, sauna and the pièce de résistance, a snow room with the snow we had heard so much about. It is from Germany and can hold up to 10 to 12 people and 3 meters of snow. The idea is that a sauna needs a cool down and the snow room is a gentler way to do this instead of a plunge into icy water. Well, we weren’t so interested in the therapeutic benefits of hot-cold therapy as much as just the fun of it all. It was pretty inside the room, like being in a snowy cave. Snow drifts were piled up along benches and it was quite magical with snowflakes falling all about. I tried to make a little snowman, but the snow was too silky and dry.
There are 10 bedrooms, too many to describe in detail, except to say that all are beautifully appointed down to the last detail, with great views and luxurious ensuite bathrooms. Some have extra features- a personal patio and seating area, for example, or, in the case of the two master suites, a fireplace, jacuzzi or private office. What unites and distinguishes all of them is the masterful use of color, texture and pattern already so evident in the design of the great room.
Picture a palette of ochre, saffron, purple, chocolate, apple green, turquoise and navy. Beds with bold, chevron patterned headboards, showers with hexagon, arabesque or fish scale shaped tiles. Rope, wood, marble, stained glass and stone finishes.
Mosaics of small black, grey and sand colored pebbles, usually in a round, diamond or floral design, are another big feature. Not just inlaid into floors, but also on walls. For example, mosaic in the master suites frame the beds, adding a neutral texture and pattern that complements the vivid colors of the bed linens. They are also on fireplace walls and shower floors.
I especially like them in the bathroom of the upstairs master, where they frame a mirror and marble floor.
I appreciate the use of Mexican crafts, especially the embroidered textiles on the beds and traditional carpet patterns in the furniture of the game room. What I find intriguing, however, is a subtle Russian aesthetic that shows itself in the bright colors, intricate ornamentation, and floral motifs. Check out the beautiful floral pattern on the wall of the gym, for example.
Or the intricate circular patterns on this headboard and shower panel. They would be just as at home in a Russian context.
We headed out to La Datcha that day with snow on our minds, but came away with so much more. It is a house that is the perfect re-imagining of traditional aesthetics in a modern way, which celebrates everything we love about Cabo- color, nature and the great outdoors.
by Mei-lan Chin-Bing
We invite you to visit our properties in Cabo San Lucas online