On entering Casa Cusenza—and being swept away by its electrifying presence—the first thought that enters your mind is: Just who created such a unique vision? The answer: Geri Cusenza and John Sebastian, whose basic philosophy “Being truly creative does not confine you; on the contrary, creativity is applied to everything you do” has become a lifestyle. The founders of the world-renowned Sebastian International cosmetic company have known no limits to creativity, gathering hundreds of awards along the way, from best product innovation to best show spectaculars and a score of patents worldwide. So when it came time to find the ideal, most perfect, secluded, spiritual, tranquil place to create a romantic hideaway, the Cusenzas reached back in their memories and decided that Puerto Vallarta was the place. Here was a special connection, a very emotional one, and an opportunity to build a very modern glass structure and yet live that special connection with nature. They chose a tantalizing two-acre tropical beachfront close to town yet a world away, a very private place where the jungle meets the white sand beach and towering cliffs the natives call El Paredon. They then hired Italian architect Peter Petraglia and together created what they call the ultimate tropical modern casa. As you enter the long driveway, you get a sense of the unattainable, that special connection to the essence of life. High stone walls intertwine amongst hundreds of trees. It is impossible to separate the house from surrounding nature: gigantic boulders, the city lights, the openness to the sea. And since Casa Cusenza was to be a place to escape the busy world, to partake of the purest blue of the ocean’s warm waters, the concept was minimal. The motif itself began with the roof, inspired by Japanese master Toshiko Mori and shaped like a butterfly. When you enter the gathering room, you discover the simplicity of the space. You also discover the high-voltage drama. Beyond a massive Balinese door by Jerome Abel Seguin and huge Balinese vessels, each carved by Jerome from one tree, a towering higuera tree looms up before you. A wenge Barragán stairway ascends up one of the pristine walls. A rock garden is to one side. To the left, a floating garden reflecting two fireplaces in the water unveils a life-size Buddha and Andy Goldsworthy-inspired dripping wall. Floating horizontal mirrors become portals to nature, the very original artwork of the house, as nature becomes the painting. Spaces become one, integrating indoors and out in a ceremonial marriage of floating garden, rock garden, pool, pizza pavilion, grassy area, waterfall, white beach, and the soaring cliffs themselves. To maximize the interior visual impact, three “skins” were added. During the day, the house is completely open, blissfully at one with nature. At dusk, sheer window treatments are pulled to reflect candlelight and billowing breezes. Later at night, the celosias are exposed, conjuring a floating Japanese-lantern feeling, or completely closed with huge sliding glass panels. All three skins become invisible during the day. Imported from Italy, the kitchen, designed by Poliform Milano, was formed to interact with the dining space, whose centerpiece is a floating inside/outside cement table suspended with glass. Almost nightly fireworks enliven the setting under ethereal starry nights. Down the hall, Shoji doors introduce a Japanese bedroom with floating Italian bed. Both a stairway and elevator reveal the view-filled master suite. Evoking a Manhattan loft, the voluminous space, one of five bedazzling bedroom areas, is pure Zen, with a floating bed by Fabian Baron, a giant candelabra reflecting as its headboard, and a flat-screen TV hidden in a celosia. The bath complex is a maze of glass walls with Japanese paper brown rug dividing the space. A lounging couch complements the gorgeous CaesarStone bathing area. Guest quarters embracing a main floor with terraces and an upstairs bedroom with Bali bed are cloistered romantically beyond a teak bridge over a creek. Michael Gabellini’s design inspired the pool—of all the evocative settings, the most unforgettable. Surrounded by papelillo trees and seductive white beach and azure sea, the heavenly spot exudes both the peace and the energy of the sea, the jungle, and Los Arcos—a peace and energy not unlike that of the casa’s creators, the Cusenzas themselves.