The white stucco house is situated in Cabo San Lucas’ El Dorado neighborhood and squarely within a vision of Mexican villa vernacular: multipane windows, metal balconies, and a reclaimed tile roof. Go around back, though, through a coral-colored grotto, and the house reveals a modern side. There, Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects has installed 10-foot-tall doors, clean stucco planes, and pocketing walls that open each room to a corresponding outdoor space. The house’s arcing plan blocks out the neighbors that sit cheek by jowl in this community, sprung up along the Pacific, and it gives every room along the curve a slightly different view. But each looks out on the property’s centerpiece: a pool that reverses the house’s curve, creating a lozenge-shaped lawn shaded by palms.
There’s no point in competing with an ocean vista, and this pool doesn’t try. Its negative edge sweeps across the view, and its tiles more or less match the ocean’s hue. “When you’re sitting down in the living room, the blue of the pool becomes the blue of the ocean, almost like the ocean is right on the lawn,” says partner Tom Kligerman.
Asked to design a second home for clients on the Baja California peninsula, Kligerman responded with a getaway that supports the mild climate and natural beauty. The house is thin in plan, so daylight and breezes sift in from both sides. Each main room communes with an outdoorsy version of itself: Fitted with 35-foot-wide by 10-foot-tall pocket doors, the living room can be closed off, screened, or open completely to a furnished loggia. The kitchen’s breakfast table sits in a window bay that pushes out onto a palapa-covered dining porch. And off the master suite, a sheltered terrace defined by a low, green-painted privacy wall contains a hot tub, fireplace, and pool access.
“We wanted to bring in the Mexican sense of color,” Kligerman says. The deep pink grotto, an outdoor vestibule linking the front and back of the house, also serves the practical function of gathering water. It sits under a lawn outside the home’s second floor. When it rains, water pours down and is collected into a cistern at the bottom.
Several things are going on under the 115-foot-long pool’s surface, too. The first 15 feet is 12 inches deep, so the owners can put in chairs. An underwater bench follows the curve, and at the far end is a submerged hot tub. A few steps down, the fire pit sits in another pool of water that spills over an infinity edge. From any outdoor vantage point, “you hear these different splashing tones and the sound of wind moving through the palm fronds,” Kligerman says.
“The amazing thing about Cabo is the air and the light, the desert by the ocean,” he adds. “We tried to integrate the exterior and interior.”