Holiday home of the week: a beachfront Mexican retreat designed by Specht Harpman

Eco-living in Tulum

This breezy beachfront home just outside of Tulum, Mexico, embraces its leafy surroundings.

Built by US practice Specht Harpman, Casa Xixim sits beside a protected beach at Soliman Bay. Its interior spaces – spanning 4,800 sq ft – are open to the elements.

‘The distinction between interior and exterior dissolves, and house and site merge to become part of one continuous experience,’ says the practice.

A narrow path leads guests through mangrove marsh and palm groves straight into the combined living room and kitchen. Open at both ends, the volume merges with the private swimming pool and terrace, and the beach beyond.

Casa Xixim Exterior - Specht Architects
Photography: Taggart Sorensen

Interior designer Matthew Finlason crafted Casa Xixim’s contemporary interiors: walls are covered in brightly coloured ‘pasta tiles’ that have been hand-painted by local craftsmen, while ceilings and cabinetry in the kitchen are made from locally sourced timber, offset by intricate stonework.

Casa Xixim sleeps up to 12 guests, with bedrooms spread over the Mexican holiday home’s upper level. These are also open to the outdoors and each has a private terrace that overlooks the Caribbean Sea and the surrounding mangrove jungle. A ground floor suite has a sliding patio wall and its own private garden.

Casa Xixim Kitchen - Specht Architects
Photography: Taggart Sorensen

The Mexican holiday home – which you can rent for a minimum of $1,274 per night, including chef service, and housekeeping – is self-sufficient. Its terrace collects rainwater that is filtered and recycled, while a photovoltaic canopy and clever planting helps shade the home, providing insulation and privacy.

Read next: Rent concrete cabin Casa Tiny in Mexico



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