Photo by Michael Ventura

Their Home Is Their Castle

Casa de Amor | 9101 River Road, Potomac

Casa de Amor is something of a Potomac landmark, with its towers and turrets rising above the Spanish-tiled roof, faux palm trees in front and a fountain illuminated at night by lights of many colors.

This 8,645-square-foot stucco home, built in 2009, resembles an adobe hacienda as much as it does a castle. Casa is owned by Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Properties of Germantown, founded in 1995 by Mexican-born Carlos Horcasitas and his Hong Kong-native wife, May-May, who live there.

The Horcasitases demolished a smaller home in 2005 to make room for their castle. “At one point, we went a little crazy,” Carlos Horcasitas says, obtaining government approvals to build a 45,000-square-foot, four-story mansion modeled after the famed Marble House in Newport, R.I. But then they reconsidered after visiting friends in a nearby 20,000-square-foot house who were living in one wing because their children had moved on.

The five grown Horcasitas children had no intention of moving back in with their parents, so the couple scaled down their plans. The home they built, looming large on the outside, has only five bedrooms and no basement, but includes 8½ bathrooms, two kitchens, high ceilings, a 53-foot-tall tower retreat reached by elevator, lots of interior balconies and a ceramic Roman-bath-style pool that is a virtual replica of an indoor pool at the home of late fashion designer Gianni Versace in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach.

The spacious interior is full of art and artifacts from countries the Horcasitases have visited in their global travels, and two jade dragons stand guard just outside the front door.

The front gate features two large Grecian urns, two sculptured birds and a stone wall with the decorative inscription: CASA DE AMOR. Carlos Horcasitas credits May-May for much of the interior design, as well as for the house’s name. “Everybody who comes here feels good, feels comfortable, feels love,” she says.