Tuesday, August 16, 2011 4:08 PM EDT
I first visited Costa Rica in 2010 and loved it. I surfed, explored the rainforest, saw beautiful water falls and really enjoyed the relaxed attitude. I know it all sounds very cliché but — at least where I was in Nosara, on the west coast — Costa Rica is exactly what you expect and more.
While searching for a place to stay in Nosara this coming December, I came across these amazing houses (called cabinas because they're small) and couldn't resist sharing them and their creative, inspirational owner.
Who: Rosemary Clubb, Real Estate Agent based in Santa Monica, California.
Rosemary with her surf board outside mid-construction Sacred Spaces
What: Two eco-friendly, Costa Rican-style vacation homes with a shared pool, called Sacred Spaces. Each has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a small living area that includes a terrace.
Where: Nosara, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Why: Rosemary's passion for the region, knowledge of real estate and modern style make these so much more than your ordinary villa.
One of two cabinas at Sacred Spaces
HGTV: When did you first visit Nosara?
Rosemary Clubb: December 2009 for a one-week vacation. I loved the combination of being in the jungle and the beach all at the same time. I fell in love with the ‘pura vida’ (pure life) culture and the laid back people who smile with their eyes at each other, passing.
HGTV: Why did you decide to build the houses?
RC:The investment aspect of the project spoke to me before everything else. As an investment real estate agent, I instinctively calculate capitalization rates on the fly. I calculated how much we were paying for our hotel and it struck me that vacation rental income can earn a good rate of return — the numbers started talking to me.
Plus, rather than blindly investing in things my girlfriend and I had no innate or soul connection to, we knew we could put our heart and souls into building and growing a retreat in paradise to share our passion for the outdoors, nature and clean living with other like-minded people.
Architectural rending of Sacred Spaces
HGTV: How did you start?
RC: During our December 2009 vacation, my girlfriend was out surfing one afternoon and met Andrew Saxton from Surfing Nosara in the water. He became our real estate agent and now is a great friend.
Our architects are Husband and wife team Lucca Speldingwimmer and Evangelina Quesada from Salagnac Arquitectos.
What you see upon entering the property
HGTV: What did you want to achieve with these houses?
RC: This is so much more than just a rental unit. It’s a Sacred Space that we built specially for people whom we consider to be like-minded tribe mates from all over the world.
We built a space where you will sleep under grass roofs, be surrounded by trees and hear the ocean while you’re dreaming at night. Our vision is that this Sacred Space would be a nest for positive transformations.
The pool between the cabinas
HGTV: What are the eco features?
RC: Each house has very high ceilings and none of the walls go all the way up to the ceiling in order to have a cross breeze that always runs straight through the houses. This feature makes this one of the only houses in Guiones where your room would actually get cool at night without using an air conditioner.
The grass roof is made of easily farmed and sustainable grass that grows in abundance in the south of the country. We have a personal wastewater treatment plant that cleans all the water that goes down the drains and makes it clean enough to use for irrigation.
HGTV: Tell us about the traditional Costa Rican features?
RC: The kitchen sink is one of the most traditional aspects of the house. In a traditional Costa Rican home, there would be a recessed wooden sink just like one that is in Sacred Space.
The roof and the pitch of the roof are traditional Costa Rican architecture. High roofs allow heat to rise and with ventilation on all sides of the high roof with elevated ceiling fans, a cross breeze acts as a natural vent that is necessary in tropical climates.
The façade of the exterior walls are designed with rocks that came straight from the Nosara River.
The shower is probably the most memorable experience of staying at Sacred Space. My favorite thing in Costa Rica is taking a warm outdoor shower after an evening surf.
Kitchen with traditional, recessed sink
HGTV: What was your main priority when it came to design?
RC: Our main priority was to build luxuriously habitable homes that were made with as many raw materials from the surrounding land as possible.
Wish you were there right now? Live vicariously through this video tour.