It is no secret that we count among Los Cabos residents also George Clooney, Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber. But not until they agreed to invite to their homes Architectural Digest magazine, we were able to take a peak inside their beautiful Mexican villas. We loved the story and the photos, and we wanted to share them with you:
Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber and Neighbor George Clooney’s Side-By-Side Mexican Villas
On the Baja peninsula, the couple team with their longtime pal and business partner to build stunning neighboring retreats where friends and family come together
Every house tells a story, and in Los Cabos, on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, a pair of vacation homes stand side by side as a testament to a remarkable friendship—the one that George Clooney shares with Rande Gerber and his wife, Cindy Crawford. The name of this compound, Casamigos—or House of Friends—says it all. “We’ve been hanging out for 20-something years,” says Gerber, a nightlife entrepreneur who now focuses on his tequila-and-rum company, Gerber Spirits. “Long before the houses were built, we would travel to Baja together, staying at different hotels and drinking tequila.”
The idea of planting a flag in Los Cabos came several years ago while the two men were there on vacation with a few friends. “We saw this oceanfront lot and thought maybe it made sense to build something,” Gerber says. It was a desire fueled by wanting a place where family and friends could come together comfortably. “Once we had kids, we would go on vacation at Christmas,” says Crawford. “But you’d have to book hotels a year in advance, and then you’d get there and they never quite lived up to expectations.” Plus, Los Cabos is a short flight from Los Angeles, making it a convenient getaway for Clooney, whose primary home is in Studio City, and for Crawford and Gerber, who live in Malibu most of the year with their school-age son and daughter.
Initially the trio thought of creating one house large enough for everyone, but that concept was eventually nixed in favor of two independent structures. “It’s just nice at the end of the night to have your own place to go back to,” Gerber says. Even so, the houses are basically used as a single home, with overflow from one accommodated by the other, and meals and other activities frequently split between the two. “Our lives go back and forth,” Crawford says. “We’ll have cocktails at our place and dinner at George’s, and vice versa.”
The two homes were designed and built in tandem, and Clooney happily allowed Gerber and Crawford to take the lead on the project, knowing he could trust their taste implicitly. “Rande has this amazing eye for houses and style,” says Clooney, who nonetheless was a regular presence at meetings and traveled to the site every couple of weeks to give input. “I wanted something that would blend in,” he notes, “something indigenous that would feel in harmony with the setting.”
Another priority, all agreed from the outset, was to avoid the type of hacienda-style villa commonly found along this coast and aim for something more distinctive. The group decided to approach the firm of Ricardo Legorreta, one of Mexico’s preeminent architects, and his son, Víctor, a star in his own right. (Ricardo died in December 2011, two years after the project’s completion, and Víctor maintains the practice.) “A friend of ours had used Ricardo in California and loved working with him,” Gerber says. Adds Crawford, “That property was the first modern house I thought I could live in.”
Like his celebrated mentor Luis Barragán, the elder Legorreta was known for crafting muscular geometric volumes where the interplay of light and shadow is created by large windows and doorways, as well as open-air courtyards. All of those elements are present in the Crawford-Gerber and Clooney residences, which the Legorretas tailored to suit the trio’s relaxed, social lifestyle. “They wanted houses that were very elegant and almost like an art piece,” says Víctor, “but where you would still be comfortable walking around barefoot and in a swimsuit.”
Each structure is entered via a long hallway that flows gracefully into a dramatic double-height central courtyard, which connects to a series of sitting areas, dining spaces, an open kitchen, and, of course, a bar—an especially roomy one at Clooney’s, where the friends often assemble to watch sports on the wide-screen TV. And fronting the beach, each house has its own sizable swimming pool and terrace, as well as ample outdoor seating and dining areas. To soften and contrast with the residences’ expanses of cement plaster, many of the spaces feature wood ceilings, beams, and brise-soleils. “Using wood was something we pushed for,” Crawford says. “It’s not the material the Legorretas are best known for, but we wanted the warmth.”
See more photos and read the entire story in AD’s November issue, on newsstands October 8, or download the digital edition.