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Our Team Retreat In Mexico: A Tour Of The Home Designed By A Designer/Friend

A few weeks ago the EHD team went to Todos Santos in the Baja peninsula of Mexico for our first international “offsite” with the intent to connect over margaritas and ceviche. AND WE DID. It’s like any long-distance relationship – being in two different states requires frequent IRL connection to keep the relationship as healthy as possible (the out-of-site out-of-mind part of remote work is one of my biggest life challenges so I NEED these hang sessions badly). One of the highlights of the trip (and the reason we chose to go to Todos Santos in the first place) is this incredible home by the owner of one of my favorite LA design boutiques, deKor, Isabelle Dahlin. She has been a friend/colleague of mine for years and is such a beautiful designer (I’ve been a big fan for years). I saw that she was building a house a couple years ago on IG, so I reached out see if it was ready to rent out and indeed it was (and you can rent it here). So today I’ll show you a tour of the property with a main house, a casita and the most adorable little lofted area and call out my favorite design elements.

Izzy found the place a few years ago in total disarray and brought it back to life, with a lot of the original elements (like the thatched roof and plaster walls). It was incredibly charming, warm, and felt like a property you could spend all day at with little different pockets to hang out in.

I loved all the poured concrete pool seats and sofas, this is obviously done more for construction reasons (there aren’t a lot of trees for wood here we were told) but the look is so streamlined and chic (and likely durable?).

The dappling of the light through all the thatched roofs and pergolas really created the most perfect vibe (and those succulents don’t hurt either). Beautiful but still casual.

At one point Caitlin, Mal, Jess, and Gretch spent 3 hours in the pool hanging out on the Baja shelf, playing “colors” and marco polo which was very entertaining for all. There was a lot of giggling (even more as we attempted our own DIY Watsu).

In case you don’t know where we are, it’s a village an hour and a half northwest of Cabo, and while it’s near or on the ocean most of it isn’t swimmable so it doesn’t have a lot of resort culture (but there is a swimmable beach in 15 mins away). The draw of this town is the art, culture, food, design and sense of escape from the spring break party vibe of all the Cabo resorts. Some areas were so adorable and charming and others are still developing. We were so impressed with the restaurants that we went to that we LOVED. Jazamango was INCREDIBLE (get the beef tartare), Tenoch at Paradero (a verrrry cool hotel) was also really delicious, and Oystera was both so tasty and our server made the experience hilarious and fun. We sadly didn’t get to shop much (we needed pool time:)) but Kailtin insisted we stop by Pronto Mu Pronto. It’s filled with beautiful Mexican decor, clothing, and accessories. So glad we did! But the real star of Todo Santos was this house.

We loved how clean and sophisticated it felt, but again still very warm and regionally appropriate. I honestly don’t know enough about this type of architecture or materials to speak to it, but all the exterior design elements were perfect (including the black steel windows) and kept the inside cool and outside warm (we hit perfect weather with 75 degree days).

Izzy did such an incredible job of merging Mexican style with modern amenities. A goal of mine when traveling is to have the experience of the hotel or Airbnb match the location (conversely a huge pet peeve is when you are in a different country and your hotel could be anywhere and feels generic and pulls you out of the cultural experience instead of helping you lean in). I realize this is a champagne problem, obviously, but the last thing you want to do is fly to a different country and stay somewhere that feels like it could be in a suburb of an American city.

We ate out every meal because the food in Todos Santos is incredible but should you want to grill or play games, there is a lovely shaded outdoor kitchen and dining area. Please note the poured cement ping pong table in the back.

Inside The Main House

There were three structures – the main house, the casita, and the loft. The living room had these two awesome daybed sofas (which you could obviously sleep on like twin mattresses), and a gas fireplace.

Izzy sourced from all over, but if you like this vibe I’d suggest going to one of her stores, deKor, in LA (near Glendale). She collects so many different styles, makes new custom furniture, and sells a lot of vintage. It’s a very high end curated home good store but with a lot of gifts and more affordable pieces as well (and her warehouse sales are epic).

The thatched ceiling really set the vibe and allowed the rest of the space to be really simple, soft, and organic.

The kitchen was super charming and totally functional for our needs. We obviously love the cement cabinetry frame with the wooden fronts (something we don’t do in most regions of America but sure is pretty). I’m assuming cement/concrete is way more affordable in certain places because it’s crazy expensive right now where we are (where wood is more plentiful). I love learning about these regional differences 🙂

The dining table has four woven chairs that are just so perfect here and a big bench with storage. And behind that bench is a bedroom with a queen-sized bed.

How adorable is that? PS We made the beds and shot this all before we left so sorry if the beds are a little messy, Izzy. I also love the integrated nightstands. This is where Jess and Caitlin stayed.

There were so many details that we design enthusiasts just loved. The vintage lighting, the vintage rugs, the sweet and simple styling of all the towels and hats.

This is the bathroom in the main structure and as you can see it’s perfect.

The property wasn’t huge but it had all these little pockets that were so pretty and charming. This was right outside the pool area and had an outdoor shower (two on the property) with hot water of course and it was such a fun luxury.

This little area around the back was how you got up to the loft.

The Crows Nest!

Up the spiral stairs was this ADORABLE lofted area with two twin daybeds and a view of the ocean. I loved that she treated this space differently with the bold dark jewel tones.

It feels so not precious but very very special. Oh, and there’s an AC unit in case you were wondering:) Mal and Gretchen had a blast staying up here.

The Casita

On to where Kaitlin and I slept (mostly because I had to share a bed with someone and she is the only non-full-time employee so no HR violation LOLOL). This is the primary suite with a king bed, bathroom, and outdoor shower. It was WONDERFUL to sleep in, so comfy, quiet and with great bedding and pillows.

Izzy designed it really simply with the cement bed and nightstands, vintage rugs and dope vintage lighting. I loved the wall hangings and the Frida Kahlo art (which she bought from a shop down the street from her called Casa de Todos) and, of course, those windows are so special (with shutters on the outside).

It felt spacious, uncrowded, simple, and super relaxing with a ton of natural light. At one point when the girls were swimming in the pool, I laid in here and read Funny Story for an hour and it was so peaceful.

And also has AC should you need it!

Onto the bathroom!

The bathroom was so beautiful, warm, and minimal. I loved her faucets and while I don’t know much about them, they were cool and weird and that simple gooseneck is rather sexy. Obviosly the more ornate mirrors with the midcentury lighting is a combination that I LOVED.

A true water closet, I loved this little toilet room. The fact that it’s two swinging doors really helped with the charm.

Lastly our outdoor shower with gorgeous tiles and just an incredibly dreamy location. Jess decided to stay at the house with some friends after we all left for a few more days and took full advantage of getting to sleep and shower. I don’t blame her:)

A few facts about the space: There were six of us which slept comfortably (but no one had their own room). 1 king bed, 1 queen bed, two daybeds in the loft, and two daybeds in the living room. It’s a quick 5-minute bumpy drive to a few coffee shops (and a sweet gallery) and about 8ish minutes to the town. It took about 15 minutes to get to the ocean where we ate at The Green Room but it was crazy cloudy so we didn’t get to see much. Still fun to each on the beach though! We stayed three nights, four days and while the travel from Portland was longer than LA, obviously, it was still pretty affordable to get to (way more than the original New York trip we had planned). It definitely made us more inspired to do international trips specifically to Central and South America which is pretty close to California.

Now a quick call out, if you have an awesome airbnb or boutique hotel and you are looking for more PR awareness and beautiful photography the EHD is certainly open to retreat collaborations/trades. I think it worked out well because we stayed Monday – Thursday so we didn’t take up any of Izzy’s weekend rentals (Well, like I said Jess took advantage this time round), we made a fun reel and took so many photos that she can now share for reference. So yah, if you have a design-forward space (that would be fun to share with readers of a design site) that can sleep six comfortably and are into a trade like this, let us know! Thanks so much to Isabelle Dahlin (Izzy!) for giving us a deal, letting us stay at her beautifully designed home, and giving us a time, space, and reason to spend to connect together outside of normal work.

Come back very very soon! as you might see our first EHD international swimsuit campaign 🙂 OH BOY!!!! The opening photo was a little sneak peek;)

But first here are a few candids from the team trip, which included horseback riding, so many restaurants – Jazzmango (INCREDIBLE food, great vibes), Paradero, a hotel/restaurant that looked like a contemporary art installation with food that looked like actual art, Oystera (a beautiful tiled and ivy-covered building) that had the best seafood, and The Green Room (Oceanside, good drinks). We also loved the coffee shop near us that had delicious breakfast and lunch in a very charming environment.

Y’all, there might have been some HR violations from our late-night conversations (always led by me) or perhaps my public tableside Watsu demonstration on Mallory, but what happens in Todos Santos stays in Todo Santos, right my EHD TEAM??? GAH! MY GOODNESS I LOVE THESE LADIES!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks, Jess, Caitlin, Mal, Gretchen, and Kaitlin (honorary EHD team member!) for bringing a real team/fun spirit. We all feel extremely lucky to enjoy each other so much and while so much of our days are dominated by work, it’s just so much better when you genuinely like and care about the people you are working with. This trip was mostly fun-dominated (only a couple hours of work) and hopefully, that connection will last us til the next retreat (perhaps Costa Rica? Brimfield? New Orleans? Napa? Prince Edward Island (just finished This Sumer Will Be different – so good), Santa Fe or Milan??? We are VERY OPEN :))

But again to stay here GO HERE! If you couldn’t tell we HIGHLY recommend.

*Design by Isabelle Dahlin
**Photos by Kaitlin Green

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Cynthia
1 month ago

The house looks and sounds lovely and relaxing. What a wonderful idea!
I’m glad you asked for suggestions, because I’ve been thinking about making one lately. Have you ever thought about making and excursion to  the annual International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe. I don’t work for them. I went there several years ago and dream about going again.
They host over 150 folk artists from all over the world who keep traditions alive while supporting their communities. I love the textiles. Just incredible! Also – ceramics, baskets, jewelry, leather,  clothes, art objects, etc. They also have live music and educational presentations. I think you and your team would love it! https://www.instagram.com/folkartmarket/

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynthia

I used to go to Santa Fe when I was young all the time and would LOVE this!

Shannon Newell
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynthia

I have a darling little cottage in Gearhart, OR that is listed with Evolve Vacation Rental (evolve.com). It’s headline is “Modern Gearhart Getaway, Walk to Beach & Downtown”. Evolves photos don’t do it justice – basically no styling done at all. But it’s in a great location, sleeps 6 and might be handy for you and your team. I would love to share! I can be reached at: newellvineyards@sbcglobal.net
Looking forward to hearing from you!

Lee
1 month ago

That looks fun! Your team would love Granada, Nicaragua.

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

I am very sure we would:)

Lauren H
1 month ago

Absolutely gorgeous home!! I know this post was about your retreat and showing off an Airbnb but this may have been one of my favorite non-EHD homes you’ve showcased in some time. If I didn’t live on the East coast (and therefore had more complicated travel logistics) I would definitely be scheming a way to stay there.

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Lauren H

It truly was so magical and if you can ever find you’re way down there you should! My best friend came from New York and it wasn’t too bad.

Patricia
1 month ago

That opening shot is incredible…EHD giving Slim Aarons vibes.

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Patricia

lol thank you! All thanks to our incredible photographer, Kaitlin<3

Kelli Bates
1 month ago

This reminds me of https://www.lunanuevaelparedon.com/
The owner, builder, designer is Tiffany Francis, who is a force. She’s from Kansas but lives in Guatemala now. The entire space is designed perfectly. Check it out!

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Kelli Bates

Will do!

Gretchen
1 month ago

Ack! What a gorgeous getaway! Looks like a dreamscape.

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Gretchen

We feel SO lucky we got to experience it:)

Joyce Garrity
1 month ago

It is fabulous, but what do ya think… maybe 15% of us could afford this. I raised 2 sons alone and with a purchase , I asked is this a want, or need.( Yes wants were ok too.) My son, when he got a high paying job used to donate to charity an equal amount when he bought a luxury item. I’m sure your stay will be a deducted business expense, maybe you could donate a stay to a follower? one can dream

Leigh H
1 month ago

Where are the lavender colored duvets from? They are really pretty. Gorgeous space. I’m so happy you all were able to connect in such a lovely place.