Our clients, a European family, never imagined they would fall in love on a property so far away from their home country, but that is exactly what happened. The family was looking for a place to relax and get away from the cold European winters, and they found the perfect home in Costa Rica. The property is surrounded by lush vegetation and just steps away from one of Costa Ricas most beautiful beaches, making it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the holidays.



A compact duplex house on a 400 sqm lot that houses in total up to 16 people. The development should be easy to be maintained and resistant against heavy and constant uses through new guests. The design should be modern, elegant and spread a tropical & fun vibe for families.

  • Design

    M. Usher, R. Portillo

  • Client


  • Year


The building is inspired by the concept of a vertical garden

The small lot size of 400 sqm has motivated Studio Octava to find a solution uncommon in Costa Rica. In order to maximize the usable terrace area we took on a traditional house typology where common spaces like garden and living areas are located in the first floor while bedrooms are upstairs. We flipped it so all of those things happened at ground level, while gaining a lot more outdoor area on the roof which gave us room for a spacious terrace with pool and pergola.

Due to the fact that the owners spend most of their time in Europe, they had concerns about maintenance of the house when they are not in Costa Rica. They wanted to build a building that will look great, almost new in the years to come. 

For that purpose, owner and architects have decided to install a charred timber facade that due to the process of charring it becomes resistant against insects such as termites and in addition is very forgiving for any damages or wearing on the house due to its black color.

The facade has been designed with the intense solar radiation of Mal Pais in mind. The plants in front of the windows on the balconies and terraces don´t just reduce the solar radiation but also protect from any views from the street and on top of that gives a fresh tropical visual vibe.

Inside the building has been designed with the idea of an inverse color scheme, featuring in contrary to the charred timber facade in black, purely white and creme tones, that lighten up the space and mood. The result is a modern but tropical color scheme that surprises every guest.

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We’re a team of creatives who are excited about unique ideas. A husband and wife with international experience from Europe and Asia bringing high-quality construction to Costa Rica. We are focusing on improving local building practices and re-shaping tropical architecture through high quality construction.