The Mojave Desert has become a weekend retreat for busy Californians with Joshua Tree being the brand name for the coveted region. Once you pass the Low Desert, Palm Springs and all its neighboring cities, you get to the High Desert with its charming small towns like Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Twenty-Nine Palms. They have become a magnet for bohemian, funky and artsy people who are looking for a getaway from the city, an escape promising spiritual bonds and slower-paced pleasures.
One of our first projects was the remodel of the desert house. After about six months, the new house had turned into a stunning showcase of the couple’s work but also a part-time home and an Airbnb rental. Influenced by famous Mid-Century architects like Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, who were also Austrians and definitely characterized Californian architecture, we had built a compact structure which allowed uninterrupted views of the scenery outside. The two-bedroom and two-and-a-half-bathroom structure is characterized by floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors. We used to own their own outdoor furniture company in Europe and focuses on blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Rather than imposing ourselves on natural environments or neighborhoods, their buildings aim to blend in and become part of the picture. The focus was to co-exist with the desert, understand its rhythm, and watch its inhabitants, like families of quails and hares, coyotes, and flocks of different birds.
Although the house is very modern, which is still somewhat unusual for the rustic area, it is designed as a ranch house and the materials reflect the natural environment. We blurred the lines between indoors and outdoors by adding a massive outdoor space that becomes a dynamic extension of the rather small house that only covers 1,200 square feet. When you’re inside, you definitely note what is outside. Hence, the house gets its personality, and an abundance of sunlight, from its connection to its natural environment and the full-height openings that fill the house with sunlight all day long.
We directed all the aesthetic choices in both houses. It was important to us that the homes are modern and pure, but not soulless. Coziness and Hygge (Swedish word for spending a comfortable, relaxing time with people) are key factors of our homes. People need to feel welcome and at home, even if they are just guests for a couple of hours or days. There is a genuine balance of materials, proportions, colors, and lines, which creates inner calmness and happiness. You cannot explain it, but you feel it. Although the interior and exterior seem effortless, there is masterplan behind every little detail. We are huge fan of outdoor living so that we created a high-end outdoor space that takes advantage of a rural setting with features such as a fire pit, different cowboy tubs, a hot tub, an outdoor shower, hammocks, outdoor dining areas, and clever lighting solutions. The property offers different spaces to gather, sit, lie, retreat, sleep, chat, play or gaze at the stars. The abundance of desert flora surrounding the house, was additionally complemented by different cacti fields. By merging the attractive informality of Californian living with exclusive international design, we created a place in which they could relax, entertain, work and flourish. State-of-the-art furniture, technology and eco-friendly facilities turn their home into a haven for themselves, friends and like-minded people who love the desert. Today The Modern Wolfden is one of the most successful rentals in the High Desert, due to its unique combo of prime contemporary architecture and design.