TULUM, Quintana Roo – In the midst of the jungle and inspired by Picasso’s house, lies a Mexican refuge where one could easily envision living forever. Nestled within the Yucatán Peninsula’s lush rainforest, Casa Zapota is a contemporary dwelling located in Tulum. With its clean lines and minimalist architecture, this home embraces the dense tropical vegetation, acting as a natural sanctuary from urban chaos and the year-round influx of tourists drawn to the area in search of crystalline beaches, ancient archaeological sites, and nature adventures.
Built in 2011, Casa Zapota has remained in a semi-abandoned state until recently. Its minimalist design consists of a horizontal succession of spacious open areas, where the exterior landscape is framed by enormous windows, resembling living canvases of nature.
This unique structure captured the attention of artists Daniel and Nazarena, who transformed it into their home and creative workshop. Daniel, a Brazilian, and Nazarena, an Argentine, met in the Mayan jungle of the Yucatán Peninsula, merging their professional backgrounds in the art and interior design studio known as Ego Killah, based in Tulum.
The house required significant restoration as nature had begun to encroach upon its interior space. However, the creative duo saw this as an opportunity to leave their mark on Tulum—a testament to their lifestyle and artistic vision. The isolated location of Casa Zapota posed the primary challenge for completing this project.
Limited nearby shops and suppliers, coupled with logistical difficulties of transport through the jungle, compelled the owners to personally undertake a significant portion of the renovation and furniture production. Their mission was not to disrupt the existing architecture but rather adapt it to the needs of a domestic environment that also served as an art studio, gallery, and client reception area. To achieve this, Daniel and Nazarena complemented the original elements with custom-made furniture, artworks, and vintage relics.
The majority of the furniture was designed and crafted by the owners using local materials, while other items were sourced from old farms in the Yucatán and Quintana Roo regions. Only a small selection of upholstery was purchased from Tulum’s Terreo Decor store. Subsequently, vintage chandeliers and candle holders from Brooklyn and Paris were added to the project. The extensive collection of paintings and sculptures found within Casa Zapota is the work of the artistic duo themselves.
The primary objective was to create a livable space that eschewed theatrical interior design in favor of aesthetic and functional harmony with the artists’ creative and exhibition processes. Drawing inspiration from the chaos and beauty of Picasso’s house, the result is a creative space that truly captures the essence of the owners’ vision.