Mexico Beach House: The Infinity Edge Pool
Written February 4, 2013 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
As mountain architects predominantly specializing in mountain style homes, we aren’t asked very often to design infinity edge pools on the building sites. For this hilltop Mexican style beach house, near the city of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, we were given the opportunity, designing an organically shaped home and infinity edge pool hovering over the Pacific Ocean.
Mexico Beach House Infinity Pool
The site is steeply sloping, with a guest house towards the top, the main residence in the center, and the pool just below. The guest house, pool, and landscaping are being constructed in phase one, with the main house to follow later.
Sunset view from the Mexico Beach House
These photos show the recently completed pool. Infinity edge pools, also called vanishing edge pools, have no curb on the down-slope side, so the water cascades over the edge. At the right angles, this gives the illusion of the water continuing into an ocean, lake, or river beyond. There is a different affect when there is a city, forest or other landscaping beyond, though it can be just as dramatic, if not more so. The water cascades over the edge, into a receiving channel, and is recycled back into the pool.
The curved pool in this case is similarly matched with the organically shaped Mexico beach house design. For a plan of the existing site, see our previous post Beach Home on Mexico’s Pacific Coast.
Pool tile detail
This particular pool is intricately detailed in Mexican style, and creates its own shimmering light show under sunlight. Thousands of elliptical glass tiles were placed one at a time at the bottom of the pool, with even smaller square tiles along the walls, curb, and outer walls into the drainage basin . Needless to say, labor is cheap in Mexico.
The organically shaped concrete pool from below
Many thanks to Sandau Builders for sending me these photos. Most of us in the Northern Hemisphere can only dream about places like this during the winter.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
At Hendricks Architecture, we specialize in the mountain architectural style, but have designed all over the spectrum, from beach houses in Mexico to storybook cottages in the northeastern United States. We’re located in Sandpoint, Idaho. Click to Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.
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Beach Home on Mexico’s Pacific Coast
Written November 8, 2012 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
Hendricks Architecture has designed a beach home which is currently under construction on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, near the city of Zihuatanejo. Designing these Coastal Homes is always an enjoyable experience, especially when the property delivers awe inspiring views of the coastline as well as whale activity and ocean sunsets.
Mexico Beach Home - The Guest House
The hilltop guest house over the garage is being built first, along with the landscaping and pool. The more organic main home will be constructed at a later date. One of the owner’s favorite elements on the site is the infinity pool, which will hover over the ocean below.
Mexico Beach Home - Infinity Pool Construction
This seaside home has some similarities to the mountain architecture style we typically design, such as timbers and gable roofs. It also has many differences such as the concrete structure for moisture and thermal efficiency. The main house will also have spacious rooftop decks.
Mexico Beach Home - Trellis
This beach house by the sea is sure to be enjoyed for decades to come. It certainly has some nice sunsets.
Mexico Beach Home - Hammock on the Covered Deck
See Mexico Beach House for design sketches of the main residence. The original site plan sketch of the property is shown below.
Mexico Beach Home - Site Plan Sketch
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture designs custom residences throughout North America, from small beach houses to luxury waterfront mountain homes.
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Lakefront Mountain Home in Northern Idaho
Written March 12, 2012 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
A lakefront mountain home Hendricks Architecture designed was recently built in Northern Idaho. The home faces north looking over Lake Pend Oreille, with great views of Sandpoint, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, and the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains.
Lakefront Mountain Home
The property included an outdated lake home. The layout of the existing home and view corridors didn’t work for the owner’s tastes, and wasn’t very energy efficient, so they decided to tear it down and start over. The Owner’s mountain style home wishlist included a rustic, yet refined look on the exterior, with cedar, stone and timbers. They wanted the interior a little more modern and cozy, with well done finishes, and higher ceilings. They also wanted views from all the major rooms.
The existing home didn’t get any winter sun, so they wanted to bring in as much natural light as possible, while still maintaining some privacy. We designed in a cupola (held up by timber trusses) and a couple of dormer windows to add more natural light, along with other windows. I knew we succeeded when I showed the house to a client and they asked me why I didn’t turn the lights off when we were leaving. When I replied that they in fact were off, they gave me that wide-eyed wow look that’s always fun to see.
Two existing garages were kept, one of which was connected to the new house and given new exterior materials. A third garage was torn down to make space for construction materials, as it was a tight lot with limited access. A long mudroom/laundry/pantry connects the garage to the house. A great room, which includes an open kitchen, dining, and living areas, has breathtaking views out to the lake. The master bedroom also has great views, along with its own fireplace, and a large nook for her desk and bookshelves.
In the daylight basement below are bedrooms, an exercise room and office. The guest bedroom is a favorite, and it looks out between massive stone pillars forming an arch, which frames the water and mountain views. Because the home is on a fairly steep slope (about 30 degrees), the basement sits back against the hill. We designed mechanical and storage in the rear, and included a wine room that is so naturally cool year round that a refrigeration unit isn’t necessary.
The home was built jointly by Dan Fogerty of Sandpoint, Idaho and Denman Construction of Whitefish, Montana. Photos by Marie Dominique Verdier.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture, Idaho mountain architects specializing in mountain style lakefront homes and cabins. Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture’s Blog.
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Small Beach House in Mexico Breaking Ground
Written July 24, 2010 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Resort Areas
We’ve recently broken ground on a small beach house in Mexico. The home is organic in nature and designed for outdoor living, as well as situated to bring in the ocean breezes. Located above the Pacific coast between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, this hillside beach house is about 30 miles (48 km) SE of Zihuatanejo and the beach resort town of Ixtapa in the Mexican state of Guerrero.
North View from the Beach House
Views are wide ranging out to the Pacific Ocean and up and down the coast. More information, including schematic plans and elevations of the home, can be found on our Mexico Beach House blog post.
Construction materials for a beach house are quite different from the mountain style homes we design. The typical cedar siding over wood frame construction in the mountains would quickly rot in a high humid location. The best materials to use in high humidity climates such as coastal Mexico and Nicaragua are less perishable ones like concrete and native hardwoods. This home will be concrete with some hardwood trim and finish work.
For updated construction photos, see Beach Home on Mexico’s Pacific Coast and Mexico Beach House: Infinity Edge Pool.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture, Mountain and waterfront architects
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Mexico Beach House
Written April 30, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
As an architect living in the mountains outside Sandpoint, Idaho, it is always fun to design something a little different. We are currently in the schematic design phase for a small beach house in Mexico. This home will be located on the Pacific coast between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, about 30 miles SE of Zihuatanejo and the beach resort town of Ixtapa in the Mexican state of Guerrero. There are several roof decks to take advantage of great views in all directions, including the beach just below, and fisherman boats anchored to the south. The home is designed to capture the ocean breezes in the warm, tropical climate.
Main Level and Rooftop Level
This will truly be an indoor/outdoor home. Most of the home is actually outdoors, with enclosed indoor areas having air-conditioning. The kitchen (cocina) is outdoors, covered by a waterproof deck above, with a large outdoor bar for those still wet from the swimming pool. The guest bathroom is shared with the pool area, with an organically formed outdoor shower. The upper level consists of the master suite and several rooftop gardens. Awnings, hammocks and lounge chairs will be provided. The owners will supply the daiquiris, margaritas and Coronas.
The landscaping will consist of an infinity-edged swimming pool hovering over the Pacific Ocean, along with terraced patios, pergolas, another outdoor kitchen, gardens, planters, palm trees, and more hammocks. As my grandfather used to say, “This is real living!”
Mexico Beach House - Pacific Beachfront Elevation
Mexico Beach House - Courtyard Elevation
I was excited to design a beach house in Mexico when I was approached by the owners, who live in Idaho. I grew up in California, where I was exposed to several styles of architecture, from the beach to the mountains. I also learned about Mexican history and culture in school. At Texas Tech one of the architects I studied was Luis Barragan, who was one of the most influential Mexican architects of the 20th century (he was also a very prominent landscape architect). I’ve also been fortunate enough to be able to design some Mission and Tuscan style homes in California.
Every project is different, and it’s just a matter of bringing out the owner’s own tastes to fruition. Some of the elements are borrowed from the local indigenous architecture that evolved over centuries to make the most of the shade and breezes. The owners wanted a more organic flow for this home though, more so than what it traditionally in the area. There are some aspects of mountain architecture, such as the gnarled wood columns and timbered ceilings. The owners also supplied me with several books and printouts of their favorite elements. Some books they really liked that I found very helpful were:
- Casas en la Costa Mexicana and Casas el la Costa 2, both of the Lifestyles Nature & Architecture series by Fernando de Haro & Omar Fuentes
- Casa Mexicana Style by Annie Kelly, with some great photographs by Tim Street-Porter
- Houses by the Sea: Mexico’s Pacific Coast by Mauricio Martinez
My wife tells me she wants to retire somewhere by the beach. I halfway joke that if I can get enough beach houses in my portfolio I can still work when I’m “retired”.
Drawings are attached with permission from the homeowners.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture, Mountain and beach architects in Sandpoint, Idaho
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Mountain Home Taking Shape On Lake Pend Oreille
Written April 4, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
, North Idaho
A new Hendricks Architecture designed waterfront home on Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint, Idaho is taking shape. This steep site originally consisted of a tear down home with three separate garage structures. The new rocky mountain style home will have roughly 3,000 square feet over two levels. It will tie into one of the existing garages, which will all have new stained cedar siding and cedar carriage house doors. The Contractors are a collaboration of Dan Fogarty of Sandpoint and Denman Construction of Whitefish, Montana.
The home has a cupola over the Great Room which will bring in additional light. Large cedar decks will have great views of the lake, as well as the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains, and a private beach below. Natural stone will cover the concrete piers which buttress the decks.
Water View of Lakefront Home under Construction
For finished photos of this home, please see Lakefront Cabin on our Project Page.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture, Mountain Architects in Sandpoint, Idaho
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Good Quality Architecture Adds Value to Your Home
Written February 20, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
Building a new home or remodeling an existing one should be an exciting and rewarding process. In most cases, hiring an Architect to help you realize your vision will add value that far exceeds their costs, in addition to simplifying the design, approval and construction process.
An architect designed custom front entry.
It is well recognized in the Real Estate community that homes designed by Architects have a value up to 50% higher than similarly sized and located homes that come from builder/ designers, draftsmen, or catalog plans. This number is much higher when compared to production homes. Since Architect fees are typically anywhere from 5% -15% of construction costs (depending on the level of service provided), any value added to a project that exceeds this fee is a direct benefit to the homeowner. An important point to remember is that value is not necessarily measured only in dollars. Value is also realized though long term enjoyment of a home with improved functionality that is designed to meet your specific needs.
If you look closely in any city or town, usually the oldest (and often the nicest) homes are almost exclusively Architect designs. The perceived value of a well designed home makes it worthy of continued maintenance and preservation, and the careful thought Architects put into their home designs tends to greatly increase their longevity. While many Builders are conscientious and build homes to last, they often choose materials & methods that make building easier and less costly, especially when they are building homes speculatively. Architects typically design homes to maximize owner value through better aesthetics, quality, livability, and longevity while trying to minimize long term life cycle cost.
- An architect custom designed interior.
Most people can pick out a home that was designed by a good Architect, and a quick comparative study would confirm that well designed homes command significantly higher resale values. It is important to note that an Architect designed home doesn’t necessarily cost more to build. In addition, careful site consideration, curb appeal, efficient space planning, thoughtful construction details, energy efficiency, and creative, well informed material selections can add value that will far exceed that of a comparable builder grade home.
Aesthetic value is difficult to quantify, but most home buyers would agree that if they could afford it, they would pay more for the visual and spatial qualities an Architect can add. Homes designed by Architects also tend to be less susceptible to market fluctuations, which makes them a reliable real estate investment. Similar to other designer products, homes by well known and especially talented Architects have an “association value” that increases the price people are willing to pay for them.
An architect designed waterfront home
Depending on where you live, there may be city, county, and state regulatory agencies that govern any building project. The process of securing approval and permitting for construction projects can be daunting, and having an Architect who is familiar with the requirements can save you valuable time, money, and help streamline the process. It is not uncommon in areas with lax building regulation for homes to be built that don’t meet code requirements, that exceed setback limits, or that are occasionally even over property lines. Architects are required by law to design buildings that comply with all applicable building, zoning, and accessibility codes, giving you the assurance that your home meets the requirements of accepted life safety and land use standards.
An Architect can help you get the best value for your construction dollar. One of the most important decisions in the homebuilding process is locating and orienting the building on the site to optimize views, solar exposure, excavation costs, and aesthetic appeal. The long term energy savings realized by a well sited home with windows properly sized and located can be substantial. Architects stay current on the latest construction materials and technologies, and can select materials and systems that enhance your home without breaking the budget.
Quality custom home builders agree that an Architect’s careful planning, accurate drawings/ specifications and availability to answer questions while the home is being built speeds up construction time and helps avoid costly delays. This ultimately saves the homeowner money and assures they end up with a better final product. A well thought out home design can save the homeowner a lot of money by avoiding change orders, mistakes, and time wasted on the jobsite solving unforeseen conflicts. Value added during construction can also include less stress for the homeowners, more free time to devote to your family or career, and the assurance that crucial safety measures are being addressed.
Most Architects have a carefully selected group of builders they recommend, builders who have a proven record of quality work delivered on time at a fair price. An Architect can help you select a reputable builder who understands your goals and expectations. As an advocate for you, an Architect will assist you in negotiating with the builder during the contracting process, and ensure that you have a fair contract that protects your interests. While your home is being built the Architect can help you determine if proposed changes are fairly priced, review and approve contractor pay requests, make regular visits to the site to monitor progress, and make sure it is built according to the plans & specifications.
Though some clients choose to not involve the Architect during the construction phase to save money, they fail to realize the value of having an important advocate and advisor working for them to insure that the final product meets their expectations and is delivered at a fair price. Construction projects can be challenging, and while an Architect may not be able to eliminate all of the issues involved, they can streamline the process to minimize headaches and additional costs for the homeowner.
The design aesthetic is perhaps the most obvious area where an Architect adds value to your home. A good design always creates enduring value in excess of cost, and a bad design is often painfully obvious and will be regretted far longer than the savings are enjoyed. An Architect will help you create a visually appealing home with character and style that is designed specifically for you, not an imaginary generic buyer.
It is not difficult to understand how your appreciation of a well designed home will be equally valued by a discriminating buyer in the future. Ultimately, the resale value of your home is going to be increased when an Architect is utilized to add tasteful design, improved functionality, thoughtful detailing, and quality construction that will last for generations.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect, NCARB
Tom Russell, Project Manager, LEED AP
Hendricks Architecture, Architects in Sandpoint, Idaho
A Log Accent Mountain Home, one of many different types of Mountain Home Architecture.
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