DIALOGUE, AN AMERICAN MOSAIC, a Podcast with conversations on the road in America. These are ordinary and extraordinary people talking about life today in a changing America. All walks of life from around the country saying what's on their minds. Available on Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, and other platforms. You can find links here: http://anchor.fm/john-van-dyke
http://american-mosaic.com and peponi.com.
PEOPLE ARE RESPONDING
‘If you are in anyway engaged with recent events, and the need for change that was so overwhelmingly voiced, you understand that a lot of people feel that their country has failed them.’ – “You're talking about me John. Fantastic project - please let me know if I can be of any assistance. I'm anxious to see your results!”
“Bravo! I think we all need to do this! We don't know each other like we should. We have more in common than not, I feel sure. I'll be eager to see your project unfold!”
“As part of the 'rest of the world,' I will be watching and listening as well. Canadians want to understand America as well. . .”
“Sounds incredible, what a great undertaking.”
“We're listening, John. Signed, the choir.”
“Love, Love, Love this project! What are your plans and what support do you need? I’d love to help you!”
What is this project? Are you part of the American Dream? Add to the conversation at:
What is this project? Are you part of the American Dream? Add to the conversation at:
"An American Mosaic". It is journey to photograph, video, and tell the stories of the American People. Starting in the summer of 2017. You can find me on LinkedIn.
It was hard to imagine an area so beautiful and untouched still existed when Chachalaka was discovered almost ten years ago.
Six acres fronting on a beach that seems to go forever, and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, all seemed to good to be true, it was a dream place discovered.
Now the property has infrastructure, water, power underground, utility buildings, a guest house, and a contemporary main house that has been recognized for its architectural design. There are two additional building sites for houses, each with a guesthouse. One of the sites is ideal for a multiple unit structure. Green features have been incorporated into the plan. Solar, thermal hot water, water capture, smart water treatment systems, and all LED lighting are all part of Chachalaka.
The topography is what really makes Chachalaka so special. A first walk on the property revealed six building sites... all with amazing views. The plan now combines these into three compounds with space, privacy and view. Casa J, the main house, a guest house, and a palapa with plans for an additional pool and two guest quarters make up the first established compound.
Two real estate cycles later, the Costalegre of Mexico is being discovered. The serious developers have announced major projects and a major new airport is near completion. This is last stretch of undeveloped beach on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, it has been waiting for this moment.
It is now time to share the vision and the timing seems to be perfect. Chachalaka is a place without comparison for savvy individuals who like privacy and don't follow the crowds.
It is rare to find a place of pristine endless beach with few people in today's world.
|Chachalaka is a one-of-a-kind property fronting on the Pacific Ocean on the coast of Mexico|
There is an old saying in the design world that could to apply to a broad range of things today. Less is more. It is a way of getting to the point. A visual point. An experience point. A talking point. A message point.
Less is harder, because it requires the ability to edit and refine and be clear about what you present or create, not a something for everyone approach, but execution with great care and skill, and focus.
I am going to stay with design on this, because it is what I do. I was inspired to write this because an architect friend has labeled me minimalist. It is reflected in my Chachalaka project, and the house I designed and built in Mexico.
I was not always minimalist, I did not understand the power of its simplicity. It takes maturity, and a level of personal experience to reach a point, of just getting what simple is about – a point when you can execute something extremely complex with a simple broad stroke.
A single impactful experience leaves so much more, than a cluster of random distractions.
chachalaka.com to learn more.
The Pacific Coast of Mexico along the state of Jalisco, is a richly diverse coastline with large and small bays – beaches, and a variety of sparsely populated communities between the larger towns and cities. Cabo Corrientes just south of Puerto Vallarta is where the Costalegre actually begins. Costalegre means “happy coast”, and it is indeed that. It will put a smile on your face when you see some of the remote and pristine beaches it has to offer. There are isolated little coves of sand and grand expanses of beach that stretch for as far as the eye can see. There is a diversity of flora and fauna that ranges from tropical to dry and arid, and high bank oceanfront with rocky cliffs at waters edge, to flat almost dune-like no bank beachfront. There are lagoons that form where rivers outlet against the beach and find a place to break through to the ocean during the rainy season. Birds of many varieties populate the coast, and some are unique to only this area of Mexico. Marine life is still abundant off the coast from Cabo Corrientes and to the south of Jalisco. Much of this remote area is also home to nesting sea turtles that return annually to lay their eggs on the beaches.
All of this is why this area is so special and why it appeals to those who want to escape the usual convenient tourist destinations. Imagine sitting on a beach that seems to go forever, watching the sunset into the ocean, and no one else is around. Perhaps a morning walk, as the first rays of sun warm the sand under your feet. Add a little creature comfort. Perhaps some fresh fish for lunch or dinner, maybe something that you caught. Find a setting with the ambiance that suits your style, and you might not want to go back to whatever you do in real world time. When you do, you will feel refreshed, inspired, and probably planning your return.
Access to some of the best is just now improving with the surfacing of what once was a seasonal dirt road from the town of El Tuito to the Mayto area. The Mayto area affords access to beaches to the north of Cabo Corrientes as well as south to Tehuamixtle and Villa del Mar and beyond to La Cruz de Loreto.
At Chachalaka we are fortunate to have one of the best beaches at our doorstep.
We all have a dream. Some of us achieve that dream, and some experience it through others. And some just continue to dream. In business, dreams become ideas, and ideas become a business. It can start small and grow as we follow our idea, learning along the way and following our passion – if we are fortunate enough to be passionate about what we are doing. I have been fortunate. Design is something that I realized was my passion a long time ago. All things design. A friend once said to me, when I got up in the morning, the design process began. That passion for design set me on a journey that became a lifestyle. As I matured, I began to realize and recognize design on many levels. Travel broadened my experience and introduced me to design from different perspectives. I would introduce these ideas in my work. I became a collector of furniture, photography, fashion, and a consumer of anything showcasing good design. Design was my work and design was integrated into my life.
As I began exploring cool places to escape in warmer climates, I was drawn to amazing beaches and developed a user experience checklist. How did the walk on that pristine virgin beach affect me? Did I totally forget everything the moment I took in that breathtaking view? Was I mesmerized by the awesome sunset? Am I appreciating the carefully designed architecture around me? Have I noticed the selected and curated furnishings and décor surrounding me? Am I inspired to do something, to create something? Do I feel like I have experienced something so special, I do not want to tell anyone about it? Am I totally relaxed? Do I want to stay or leave.
If I never wanted to leave, I knew I would return. And I did return frequently to many different places and some extremely special favorites. It is about life. We all need to fuel our inner self with rewards. I realized for me it was ocean, beach, architecture, and, a beautiful setting that had not been overly changed by the hand of man. This became a part of me, a lifestyle, something that fueled me with enormous energy and creativity. When my tank was low, I knew I could go someplace amazing and fuel up.
As the world shrank and the truly special places were becoming overcrowded, I decided to create a place. A place that drew on all my experiences discovering amazing beaches, and very cool places. A place that embodies lifestyle and involves design and architecture, things that I am passionate about. I have been blessed with having the time it took to plan and create the place I call Chachalaka. A lifestyle experience that soon will be available for those looking for beauty, intimacy, tranquility, and privacy.
Transforming a piece of paradise into a place that feels like home is a delicate balance between nature and lifestyle. After a lot of planning and thought, ultimately the land tells you what to do. And, you design something that is as special as the place.
About a one hour drive from the town of El Tuito, south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is an area of pristine, virgin beaches. It is a place that surprised us, as it does all who discover it. It is unexpected. That became the overriding criteria for the design of the house I call Casa J. Create something that is equally as unexpected. The nature part of the plan was obvious, keep things as natural as possible, leave the beautiful trees, and use nature’s resources in the architectural design. The lifestyle part, for me, was to baffle expectations for a house in this undeveloped area by creating a unique high-end house. In contrast with the usual stereotype grand, high-color and tiled homes associated with high-end Mexican coastal living, Casa J is a contemporary, minimalist style, influenced by mid-century modern architecture. It is open in its design and incorporates the setting, and amazing views seamlessly into the design. The house is as visually interesting as the setting without distracting your attention from the ocean, beach, and landscape.
In a place like this you also want to be smart about the environment and your consumption of water, energy, and fuel. A modern house today should be eco-smart. Casa J does not wear a lot of environmental features as a badge - it is just quietly smart. Hot water is from a thermal solar system. Rainwater is captured and used. Our water comes from our own well and water system. Grey water is recycled and used for landscape. Black water is treated in a Biodigestor system. Our fuel is from a single source, propane, fueling our stove, clothes dryer, and a backup generator. A leading technology, multigate micro inverter solar system, ties us to the power grid. We generate more power than we use. The 70 LED lights at Casa J, consume a total of only 315 watts. In addition, the design considers thermal mass, and natural air convection.
Some have said I am living the dream. Building an amazing house in a place that many would call paradise. It has been a journey of almost seven years since first discovering what I think is one of Mexico’s secret places. The journey began with a chance conversation with an old friend in Puerto Vallarta, who told me about the area known as Mayto. The area is one hour down a dirt road from the town of El Tuito, an hour south of Vallarta. Drive time is actually less than two hours now that the dirt road is partially surfaced. You get the idea, this is off the beaten path and that is why it is so special. Imagine a pristine virgin beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. Better yet, imagine six acres of oceanfront land on this beach.
That is how it all started. I did not hesitate when I found the parcel of land I call Chachalaka. Purchasing and getting real papers for the land is a story in itself. A very important step, that took almost three years. The last three plus years, has been spent putting in infrastructure to support my vision for multiple homes on the property, and the design and building of the first house – Casa J.
People are surprised by the caliber of the design and quality of the house. I think many assume that if you are in a rural undeveloped area that you build something funky and rustic. To the contrary, Casa J is a contemporary house influenced by classic architectural modernists, such as Wright, Barragan, and Nuetra. I also, strongly believe any house built today should be eco-smart. Casa J was designed to consider thermal mass, natural air convection, rainwater capture, gray water recycle, thermal hot water, and solar panels for power, with a grid-tie system. High quality Italian tiles are used, made of 75% recycled material. This is modern sophisticated architecture that supports sustainable living.
This is a new idea for developing oceanfront homes on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. I think it makes sense and is the way of the future. As more people discover these virgin areas, controlling density, and requiring eco-smart features, should be part of any plan. This is an amazing area that should require smart thoughtful development. Casa J is a good start, a beach house with style.