In 2012, when Brittney Borjeson first visited the beachside town of Sayulita, Mexico—a village with fewer than 4,000 residents just 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta—it was a life-altering experience. Having spent the previous 13 years living in Boston and New York City, she was immediately smitten with the stunning Pacific seascape and easygoing attitudes of the local artisans.
Borjeson decided it was time to make a major change: for the next year and a half, she rented a tiny studio in a family-run hotel and traveled the country gathering native crafts, a collection that would eventually become the contents of her first shop. “I came for what was supposed to be a short vacation,” Borjeson jokes. ”And, two years later, I’m still here.”
Borjeson wearing a dress of her own design. evokethespirit.com
The Pacific landscape is what first drew Borjeson to the hillside home. “I wake up to the sound of waves,” she says. “I can see the ocean from every room in my house.”
In the living room, cement platforms—common to the architecture of many Mexican homes—are covered with cushions to form a sectional sofa. The coffee table is made of two unfinished plywood crates stacked one on top of the other.
This past September, Borjeson—and her rescue poodle, Pepino—moved into her dream home: a quiet two-bedroom house overlooking the ocean in the southern hillsides of Sayulita. While decorating her sanctuary, Borjeson drew inspiration from her surroundings, opting to keep things true to their natural form—for better or worse. On the terrace, a hand-woven hammock is surrounded by banana leaves and bougainvillea.
Borjeson scored this chair—which she wrapped in white vinyl—from a local craftsman.
Chair (similar to shown) JM Drygoods “Acapulco”
“Mexico is filled with so many beautiful things,” she explains. “But it’s very hard to find actual furniture here.” As a result, almost everything in Borjeson’s two-story, all-white abode is custom-made, either by herself or with the help of village craftsmen. In the kitchen, whitewashed reed shades are hung with strips of linen.
However inspirational the landscape may be, it’s the culture and community of Sayulita that have brought Borjeson the greatest joy and fulfillment. Last year, she opened Evoke, a shop of Mexican crafts and artifacts. Much of the merchandise is designed by Borjeson and made by local artisans from the indigenous Huichol tribe. This March, she launched Spirit, a smaller beach outpost, near shops owned by many of her friends.
“White is simple,” Borjeson says. “It isn’t a call to action or an emotional color; it’s just peaceful and serene, and lets nature do the talking.”
Borjeson made the guest bedroom’s two-toned curtains herself by dipping linen panels into indigo dye.
Curtains (similar to shown) Ohanahomedecor “Tie & Dye” $26/panel, etsy.com
Feathers (hung around lamp) evokethespirit.com
In the master bedroom, a pair of arched windows offers views of the surrounding jungles and ocean. “My favorite design elements are the sea and the palm trees,” Borjeson says.
Evoke, the larger of Borjeson’s shops, is located just three blocks from her beachside outpost.
Out and about on Sayulita’s beachfront.
Borjeson loves the light-filled ambience of Debbie de la Cueva’s tiny jewelry shop.
Pompoms are a popular Huichol artisanal product.
The Artifacto Store, one of Borjeson’s favorites, stocks pottery, textiles, and other local crafts.