Step Inside a Truly Transportive Mexican Vacation Retreat

In the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry classic The Little Prince, the fox prophetically says, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” There are few people who subscribe to this more exuberantly than Trevor and Alexis Traina. Dear friends and longtime collaborators of mine, Trevor and Alexis both have an innate understanding that a happy life is made up of profound experiences rather than precious things: They believe in creating traditions, celebrating milestones, making memories, and unabashedly appreciating their loved ones.

The story of Casa Blanca, their newly constructed vacation home in Mexico, unfolds when the Trainas decided to upgrade a cherished holiday tradition into something that could be shared throughout the year with friends and family. For more than a decade, the Trainas would pack up their multigenerational family and decamp for 10 days post-Christmas at a classic hacienda-style resort in Los Cabos. The warmth of the place and the daily rituals left a lasting impression, and a seed was planted.

Blue and white ceramics define the kitchen. The island and backsplash are clad with antique Italian tiles from Recuperando, while vintage Dutch and Spanish plates adorn a wall. The electrified 19th-century chandeliers are from ABC Carpet & Home.

While visiting mutual friends in Cabo about six years ago, Trevor, Alexis, and I decided to go fantasy real estate shopping. Our shared obsession with great places had previously led us to collaborations both fictional and real, the latter including an early-1900s Victorian farmstead among the vines of Napa Valley, a fantastical fishing camp on the Northern California coast, and the stoic Bauhaus-era residence in Vienna that we transformed into a joyful family home and where Trevor served as U.S. Ambassador to Austria. This time, with images of a glamorous Liz and Dick frolicking in Acapulco dancing in our heads, we homed in on a hillside lot tucked up against a craggy outcropping with expansive views of the Sea of Cortez.

Rather than the modern and often anonymous houses that seemed to be sprouting up and down the coast, we dreamed of something with real charm and deep romanticism. “Mexico for us is a refuge and a retreat,” says Trevor. “We wanted the architecture to reflect our life experiences. I still dream of visits to my aunt and uncle’s seaside house in Sardinia, which was pure white and designed by Couëlle. As Californians, we feel connected to the Spanish Revival style. The ultimate result would be something loosely Spanish, historic but with a twist or two.”

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