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In the luxe resort of Punta Mita, a Vancouver couple finds an idyllic slice of home away from home.
Vacations have a way of creating could-we, should-we moments. This place is fantastic. Could this be our life? Should we talk to a realtor? Could we come back every year? When Wayne Deans visited the resort enclave of Punta Mita back in 2007—then just one hotel and a handful of private homes—he very quickly went down that path. “The woman I was with decided we needed to take a 10-day vacation, and I said, ‘Just tell me where I’m going,’” says Deans, who ended up spending the time at the Four Seasons Punta Mita. “And I fell in love with the place. I was playing golf every day—and met up with a realtor. I ended up buying a house before the year was out.”
Wayne Deans and Leslie La Vie relax in their living room with recue dog Missie.
While Punta Mita suits Deans and his partner, Leslie La Vie—he still golfs every day, teeing off early and back at his desk by the time his colleagues in Vancouver are just getting started at work—the home wasn’t quite what they were looking for. He called on Vancouver designer Robert Bailey—who’s worked with Deans on several of his properties—to come down to take a look. “It’s easy for me to work with Robert; we’re always on the same page,” says Deans. “He knows exactly what I like, and I know exactly where he’s going with stuff—we’ve never had a single disagreement.”
Much of the flow of the home worked well (it was designed by celebrated Mexican architects Alfonso López Baz and Javier Calleja) and was designed so that the homeowners feel as though they’re outside most of the year. “The home is really a garden and a roof,” says Bailey. “It’s a series of pavilions, with the living space under this giant palapa roof.”
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The home’s main living space is open to the garden on one side and the pool on the other; Bailey selected outdoor furniture from Dedon and B&B Italia that’s deceivingly sturdy—it can handle guests in bathing suits by day and cocktail attire by night. The roof deck was previously empty; Bailey brought in flooring and bold furnishings from Dedon. Deans is an avid gearhead—that’s the nose cone from the F1 Ferrari that Michael Schumacher drove to win the 2004 Formula 1 World Championship mounted on the wall.
Bailey was tasked with refurnishing the home and turning those great open areas into a warm, livable space. “All of the colour is really driven from a couple of things,” says Bailey. First, the rose-coloured marble used for the flooring throughout the home started as the base point, he explains. And then much of the colour was drawn from the flora and fauna around the property—the pinks and purples of the bougainvillea and other wild plants that line the gardens. “Mexico’s a very colourful place,” says Bailey. “We didn’t want to do the same as what we’d do in Vancouver.”
In the main living space, all the furniture is made from synthetic wicker and deceivingly outdoor-sturdy fabrics. A pair of B&B Italia chairs, designed by Patricia Urquiola, takes its cues from the popular plantation chairs of the ’60s, chosen by Bailey for their delicate open backs, which allow those sitting opposite them to still see to the garden beyond. Lounges from Dedon in aquamarine blue and a cool neutral round out the conversation zone.
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Bold hits of colour pop up in the space, like the splash of fuchsia in one hallway. The Ferrari-red glass backsplash lends colour to the otherwise white kitchen. The bedrooms pivot around the pool in the courtyard, ideal for a morning dip. The master features a poppy orange leather Tufty bed.
And for a conversation starter, overlooking the room in stately beauty is a life-sized antique horse—a discovery from a vintage artifacts store in nearby San Pancho, its warm patina developed from years of use as a tack stand in a stable.
The bedrooms are a testament to that bold colour that Bailey references—bright purples in the master bedroom, vibrant Missoni bedding in a guest room. And though the gardens contribute to much of the colour in the main areas of the house, Bailey couldn’t resist one bold punch of fuchsia on a wall by the outdoor eating area—a nod to famed Mexican architect Luis Barragán, much loved for his use of colour.
The guest bedroom gets bold Missoni bedding. The master bathroom is lined with rose-coloured marble. Bailey replaced the existing cabinets with dark wood, which balances out the orange tones from the local wood used in the existing window frames—and that great garden view.
The space is flexible enough to suit La Vie and Deans, whether they’re in alone for the evening or have a crowd of 75 gathered around the high-top tables by the pool. At the end of the night, there’s one thing in particular that Deans cites as the reason he keeps coming back. “At night, all you hear are the waves crashing on the beach below the house. It’s quiet and peaceful.”