Our best clients are open to bold solutions. The very first renter of our Casa Magayon fell in love with the home over Christmas – so much so that she was thinking of buying a house in the same community. Instead, she discovered a beachfront property in another area, this one a national park. We call this project the Villa Tres Mares in Tamarindo, Guanacaste. It’s a wonderful example of how to design a luxury home in Guanacaste National Park, meeting the needs of the client … and the turtles who live there, too.
This part of the park is meant to protect the turtles. Not 100% of the turtles that emerge swim back to the ocean, and to help them find a safe home, the park enforces special rules. One is that swimming pools are supposed to be built above ground.
The reason for that is if a turtle makes its way to an in-ground pool, it could drown. Yet while wanting to save the turtles, our client wants to welcome guests to a high-end luxury rental income property with a large pool.
To be more precise, our charge was, “Build me the largest home that you can with the most bedrooms and as large as possible of a swimming pool across the width of the property.”
So we started reading through all the different regulations and realized the park requires that we cover no more than 50% of the 1200-square-meter lot. This left us with only 600-square-meters of coverage. The team considered: How can we build this very large home and a lap pool in this small footprint?
There we were, with the ideal client ready for us to take on her project. But we felt completely dismayed. Normally a high-end luxury home with six bedrooms would be 5,000-square-feet of indoor space plus 5,000 more of outdoor space and a pool. Working with the numbers at hand, we realized this was already cut by half and we could not go up to a second story.
To better understand how to design a luxury home in Guanacaste National Park, we inquired of the officials in the local municipality. We learned that if rainwater is able to permeate the ground in a certain space, it would not be counted as coverage. This was our first “ah-ha moment.”
The home could now include many outdoor spaces, corridors, and hallways in a deck material so that rainwater would be able to filter right through the ground. None of those areas would be considered coverage.
Then the team discussed: How can we build an above ground pool on a flat piece of land? Our answer: Let’s flip it up!
The officials said they had never seen anybody have the courage to come up with this type of solution. One asked me, “You’re going to put a pool on the roof. Are you serious?” I said, “Yes, because I know how to do it.”