Set on the sandy white shores of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, this beach house by Sofía Aspe is in many ways reminiscent of Caribbean properties, where homes in the vernacular of local wood, palm thatch and light colors prevail. And architect Artigas Arquitectos‘s open palapa structure echoes Mayan culture.
For the interiors, Aspe chose a black-and-white color palette to contrast with the bright tones outside, including the crystal-clear blue water, the verdant tropical plants and the red, pink and orange sky at sunset. “It was a funny, bicolor exercise for me,” Aspe says. “As there are very few hues, the objects and artworks really stand out.”
While the individual elements of this project seem to oppose each other at first sight, they do create a certain harmony by melding a sense of elegance with a laidback feel, luxurious furnishings and local touches, contemporary art and craftsmanship.
“The concept of this house is based on functionality, durability and a mix of vintage and contemporary design with local materials,” Aspe explains. “With its high ceilings, the living room is the ideal place to showcase art.”
An all-black abstract painting by Johnny Abrahams contrasts with the fabric work designed by Aspe and woven in Teotitlan Del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico. Aspe combined a Roche Bobois sofa, bold chaise longue (purchased on 1stdibs) and a pair of wicker chairs with a jute rug and coffee tables of her design.
“A creative wall adorned with mirrors in natural materials with different shapes and sizes is the focus of the room,” the interior designer says.
Lights designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for FLOS are suspended above a table from Casa Palacio, which is surrounded by Hans J. Wegner Wishbone chairs. Next to the painting by Jorge Méndez Blake, architect Andrea Cesarman reinterpreted in concrete the Series 7 chair by Arne Jacobsen.
“Continuing with the bichromatic color palette, we shaped this bedroom as an oasis, and we decorated it with local materials including ceramics, wood, cotton and a hammock from Daniela Bustos Maya for Casa T’hō,” Aspe says. The artwork is by Venezuelan artist Damian Suarez.
“I designed this bar as part of the terrace to make the most of the sunny weather,” Aspe says. A parota-wood slab from Oaxaca is used as the top of the bar. The bar stools are from DECK and the black mud ceiling lamps were designed by Studio David Pompa. The RH Modern striped armchairs are upholstered with Perennials fabric.
“In this exterior area where there is the swimming pool, a simple structure made with local wood invites people to enjoy the spectacular views of the Yucatán coast and the beach,” Aspe says. The lounge chairs are custom, and the hammocks and small stools are by local artists.
“The kitchen is one of the areas where the owners spend quality time with family and friends,” Aspe explains. “I decided to design a round central island to encourage discussion.”
The white granite with black veins adds a touch of sophistication. The design company MIMA (Made in Mexico con Amor) transformed baskets into ceiling lamps. The oil painting is by Mexican artist Armando Romero.
“I wanted to design a cozy and comfortable space where the owners could watch movies and have dinner — a space where they could relax after a day at the beach,” Aspe says. “I used the same tones and style as in the rest of the house. We custom-made some pieces, such as the masonry bookshelves with illuminated niches to display my clients’ coral collection, as well as the retro-style black-and-white sofa with Elitis fabric cushions.”
Small wood-and-straw chairs created by Mexican artists are used as coffee tables and arranged on a cowhide rug. Two straw pieces from MIMA adorn one of the walls. A Marbol table surrounded by Dirk Jan Kinet chairs — upholstered with different fabrics — and a wicker chandelier complement the look. The painting is by Beatriz Zamora.
“This type of space is very common in the Yucatán region because it’s inviting and it protects from the strong winds from the sea,” Aspe says. “This area gives tribute to the local architecture and materials.”