Visit Aerin Lauder’s indoor and outdoor tropical escape


Studio Tlalli’s teak furniture creates a seating area on the pool deck. Decorative pillows are made with a Carolina Irving Textiles linen.

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Plaid with polka dots and pompoms

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It’s all in the details. Even the simple-looking, slightly sloped thatched roofs that curl outward to create shade are a feat of modern engineering. “There are no nails,” Lauder said admiringly. For the roofs, IM/KM collaborated with VTN Architects, a Vietnam-based company recognized worldwide for its bamboo pavilions. “The challenge was, how can we create something primitive in construction but make it air-conditioned?” said Ivan, adding that six New York engineers and a translator completed the effort. The end result, Lauder points out, “really creates this indoor-outdoor tropical feeling.”

Given all the care and attention given to the natural environment, it’s no surprise that sustainability has been a driving force, in fact, as much by necessity as by intention. “When you see how insulated it is, you realize that just putting the fridge in there is a huge undertaking,” Lauder says. Once the forest was mature enough, various timbers were harvested locally and a large amount of furniture was purchased and made locally. “You can’t just buy furniture in Panama,” says Kristin. “So, over the years, we have found people who want to learn and who have a particular talent, and we have trained them. Now they are in high demand. So much so that the couple has expanded their practice. Today, Studio Tlalli, the furniture wing, employs eight artisans who assemble each piece of furniture by hand on reserve. Ivan and Kristin hope to eventually market and export the designs. “The house had a much broader impact than just the architectural result,” says Ivan. “We are also proud of the positive social and environmental impact in the region.”

The bathtub is clad in encaustic cement tiles by Clé.

In the master bedroom, a vintage bench sits at the end of a Studio Tlalli four-poster bed. Patterson Flynn rug.

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Cove Canopy Bed by Nathan Yong

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The last element was, of course, the decoration. Aerin enlisted the help of close friend and longtime collaborator, AD100 superstar Daniel Romualdez. “She said, ‘Can you help me make this bohemian and colorful and warm?’ Romualdez recalls, noting that his own Ibiza getaway (AD, June 2017) served as a catalyst. “If you look at the architecture, it’s quite masculine. Then Aerin comes in and layers a soft touch. Many of those “layers” came from trips they had taken together over the years – a pair of vintage rattan chairs from Italy that Romualdez calls “modernist instead of preppy”, a sculptural Gambone jug in a bath of guest, Atelier Vime rattan pendants that crown the dining table and kitchen island, and punchy textiles from Carolina Irving, Creel & Gow and Pierre Frey. “We identified the elements that were going to be salt-proof, that would bring color, texture and fantasy,” Romualdez explains. “We didn’t want to accessorize too much. We were aware of the setting. It had to be casual, but I felt like it also had to be personal. The last thing you want is for it to look like a resort. For Lauder, it was also a chance to showcase offerings from its wildly successful in-house collection — eye-catching ceramics, raffia placemats, and even a new dinnerware collaboration with Carolina Irving & Daughters.

Ottoman Asturias by Carlos Motta; price upon request.

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“It’s a completely different way of living,” Lauder continues, pointing out that there isn’t even a front door to Casa Loro. While her husband and sons spend their days adventuring, Lauder takes a leisurely stroll along the beach or lounges by the pool with a book. The catch of the day is cut into ceviche; the fruits are picked directly from the surrounding trees. There is no florist to go to. Instead, Lauder decorates the rooms with cuts fresh from the property. “The vegetation is very inspiring,” she says, noting that landscaper Titi Hernández helped curate the selection. Of the perfectly laid-back nature of it all, she adds, “There is something very peaceful about just having a quiet day. What is interesting is that there is nowhere to go. There is no town with stores to encounter. There is no one to meet for lunch. It’s all about family time. That’s really what makes it so special.


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