Dramatic desert views surround a home reminiscent of the iconic architecture of the region.
Madison Desert Club by Californian architectural firm Kovac Design Studio is equal parts vacation home and boutique hotel. With a generous nod to the ‘Golden Hollywood’ era of nearby Palm Springs, the two-level residence is hidden deep in the exclusive Coachella Valley of La Quinta.
Hosting large numbers of guests was at the core of the design brief, seen through the home’s unique flow and layout. “The homeowner’s love for entertaining and outdoor living served as the driving force behind the design,” Kovac Design Studio partner Michael Kovac. Kovac Design Studio created “a central, double-height gathering space with four flanking casitas housing six bedrooms, separated by outdoor walkways and courtyards for visual and acoustic privacy,” Michael says. Each bedroom features an en-suite, mini bar, private terrace and fire pit – not to mention amenities including a wellness spa, gymnasium and private garden.
A foamed aluminium canopy shelters the entire home, mimicking the cholla cactus skeleton, protecting it from the harsh desert elements while creating intriguing shadow play as the sun moves throughout the day. The retreat takes full advantage of its dramatic mountain panorama. Frameless, oversized glass doors open from the kitchen, dining and living space; they are capable of disappearing completely to create an illusion of being immersed in the landscape.
To negotiate the desert climate, Kovac Design Studio favoured enduring materiality. “We leaned on materials like exposed aggregate exterior plaster for the walls and foamed aluminium for the canopy, neither need any maintenance,”explains managing partner Thomas Scheider. Inside, soft-textured plastered walls meet concrete floors and rich walnut panelled ceilings.
In the kitchen, Cremo Delicato marble countertops reference ‘old Palm Springs’, coupled with stone and warm timber. However, what is most intriguing about this space is the ability for guests to view live chef demonstrations projected onto the motorised cinema screen across the room.
“The design of the home is less about privacy, although that was desired – and more about creating a sense of mystery,” Michael says. “Encouraging exploration as new spaces and moments are revealed throughout.”
This piece originally appeared in est magazine issue #44.