We saw one home that was neither vintage nor iconic, but, at the same time, represents the mid-century modern ideals in perhaps the purest form of any of the homes we toured.
The Dessert One, by Jim Jennings, AIA, is pure by any modern standards. It is a simple retreat, most likely, a vacation property for the owner, and certainly only suitable for occupation by one or two people.
It is designed as a self-contained compound, and fully embraces the concept of letting the outside in. The home is constructed to incorporate outdoor space, as part of the home.
Mr. Jennings comments about the space
On a desert site of undisturbed native vegetation, the modest retreat is defined by an 8-foot-high concrete wall that supports a steel roof structure and encloses two courtyards. Everything inside the containment wall functions as living space, making it a 2,900-square-foot, rather than a 730-square-foot (of climate-controlled area), house. In the traditional post-and-beam model, glass expanses blur the boundary between landscape and building. In contrast, this retreat is about the walled enclosure marking the building as volume and mass. What is adapted from mid-century design is the logic and clarity of an unconventional residential structural system – and the virtue of supreme indoor-outdoor living on a small scale.
This is an outdoor dining area. There was no covering. Palm Springs gets brutally hot, so the home is either designed for winter usage only, or there may be an umbrella added for typical everyday usage.
Small living room area that is essentially outside as well. But could be closed off with glass walls.
Bedroom opens up to the compound yard.
Typical clear windows at the top of the wall.
Kitchen area small but highly functional.
Very simple wet bathroom.
All the necessities. And frankly, only the best hardware.
House lacks any adornment. It was surprising even to see this small amount in the bathroom.
View of the window wall that can close off the living room. Everything is solar powered.
Crowds had a lot of trouble with the front door. I kept waiting for someone to get caught in this as groups were trying to use both sides at once.
Oddly, the house has no side walk and no driveway. It simply rises up out of the desert.
Stunning mail box.
The home was featured in the September, 2009 issue of Architecture Digest. Mr. Jennings built it for himself and his partner who is also a writer. It is a perfect artists' retreat.
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- PSMW 2013: Bringing the Outdoors In
- PSMW 2013: Ten Decorating Tips from Marrakesh
- PSMW 2013: 1970s Time Capsule Marrakesh Home Tour
- PSMW 2013: Hedge Tour
- PSMW 2013: Garden Tour
- PSMW 2013: Palmer and Krisel House Tour
- PSMW 2013: Frey House II
- PSMW 2013: Liberace
- PSMW 2013: Desert One by Jim Jennings
- PSMW 2013: Margaret Joplin Glass Garden Lights