By John Van Dyke ● January 2014
Some have said I am living the dream. Building an amazing house in a place that many would call paradise. It has been a journey of almost seven years since first discovering what I think is one of Mexico’s secret places. The journey began with a chance conversation with an old friend in Puerto Vallarta, who told me about the area known as Mayto. The area is one hour down a dirt road from the town of El Tuito, an hour south of Vallarta. Drive time is actually less than two hours now that the dirt road is partially surfaced. You get the idea, this is off the beaten path and that is why it is so special. Imagine a pristine virgin beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. Better yet, imagine six acres of oceanfront land on this beach.
That is how it all started. I did not hesitate when I found the parcel of land I call Chachalaka. Purchasing and getting real papers for the land is a story in itself. A very important step, that took almost three years. The last three plus years, has been spent putting in infrastructure to support my vision for multiple homes on the property, and the design and building of the first house – Casa J.
People are surprised by the caliber of the design and quality of the house. I think many assume that if you are in a rural undeveloped area that you build something funky and rustic. To the contrary, Casa J is a contemporary house influenced by classic architectural modernists, such as Wright, Barragan, and Nuetra. I also, strongly believe any house built today should be eco-smart. Casa J was designed to consider thermal mass, natural air convection, rainwater capture, gray water recycle, thermal hot water, and solar panels for power, with a grid-tie system. High quality Italian tiles are used, made of 75% recycled material. This is modern sophisticated architecture that supports sustainable living.
This is a new idea for developing oceanfront homes on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. I think it makes sense and is the way of the future. As more people discover these virgin areas, controlling density, and requiring eco-smart features, should be part of any plan. This is an amazing area that should require smart thoughtful development. Casa J is a good start, a beach house with style.
Best wishes for the New Year!