In recent years, Costa Rica has seen an influx of expats who have taken up residency in a country noted for its commitment to a pristine environment. Pura vida, meaning “pure life,” is Costa Rica’s promise of rainforest dreams and a laidback lifestyle. And while the country possesses all of the natural attributes it needs to honor its promise, the true depth and resolution of each Costa Rican dream is defined through development.
Each development project must carve its own signature comforts into individual and collective pieces of paradise. Long before owners gaze out over the coastline, while tropical breezes flow tranquilly through their homes from a backdrop of lush, vibrant jungle, people like Michael Himes and Blake Delatte, partners in Axiom Development Group, invest a great deal of time and money envisioning how to convert those dreamy moments into daily realities.
“Michael and Blake are both extremely talented and creative individuals,” notes Luis Rodriguez, an architect and consultant with Axiom Development Group. “It has been great to work with people with such tenacity and the desire to go where no man has gone before.”
After selecting numerous parcels of land along Costa Rica’s southwestern coast, in a relatively undiscovered part of the country, Himes and Delatte brought in Rodriguez to help bring their grand visions into focus. Rodriguez brought a long history in Central American development to the projects, including seven years of work on the 600-acre Los Suenos Resort and Marina along Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast. What emerged was a vision to develop a synergy of projects that would collectively form a resort environment, despite the fact that the sites weren’t concentrated in one location. Axiom would build a brand that would weave its way throughout the southwestern region, backed by a concierge-style offering.
“Each project is very different, but they are all the same in terms of the quality of life that you are looking for,” explains Rodriguez. “Each development has been optimized for its location and all of our collective experience in Central America is being passed on to the owners.”
Rodriguez sought direction for a challenging vision that called for development on land marked by difficult soil conditions, rugged terrain, and strict government regulations. In a unique part of Costa Rica, where the mountains meet the sea, that vision included taking advantage of two very different worlds, combining rainforest fauna with inspiring beaches. From a design point of view, each individual project provided a different palette and a world of possibilities. Everything would have a purpose, including design features such as the absorption of natural light and flowing breezes. Views will draw you onto terraces, which in turn inspire walks through the rainforest and beach exploration, before withdrawing back into the comforts of a contemporary living space.
“Michael and Blake made it clear to me that we would spare no expense to work around unique features in order to create a better product,” adds Rodriguez. “These are two men who have raised a very high bar in terms of aesthetics and sophistication, and it has been very challenging to create something that they both signed off on.”
Set in the rainforest, the focus at Élan at Ballena was to create inward beauty that offers access to outward adventure. From every doorstep, you can walk through dense rainforest and emerge on a beach that opens your horizons to infinity, like Robinson Crusoe. Conversely, the canopy townhouses of The Terraces at San Martin provide the experience of living in a luxurious treehouse. Designed with more of an outward focus featuring broad, open spaces and inspirational coastal views, the two-story townhouses invoke a sense of having a piece of paradise all to yourself. Yet while offering that ambiance of privacy and seclusion, a turn to the opposite side of the house provides access to a surrounding community and vibrant jungle life.
Axiom’s Sierra Collection transports you to the top of the world, set 2,000 feet above sea level between the Central Valley and Costa Rica’s spectacular Pacific coastline. The luxurious and secluded properties have each been selected and groomed to fit cohesively with their ecological settings, resulting in multi-level terraces and cascading elevations that have been built into their environments without altering them. Meridian House features 14-foot ceilings and huge slider windows that make the home transparent to both valley and coastal views, while the entire property has been mapped out so that clouds can literally float through the house when it is opened up.
Luxurious homes set in a cloud forest, overlooking a lush valley and a spectacular coastline. On a lazy afternoon, as you watch a cloud float through your living room, one would have to think that reality has surpassed the dream.