Monday, February 18, 2013

#psmw home tour: desert one by jim jennings

Palm Springs Modernism Week, Feb.14-24, 2013,  has been loaded to the gills with (guess what) mid-century modern homes. Most have been true vintage and represent the iconic architects of Palm Springs. But not all.


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.




 Stunning pool is part of the compound.


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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14 comments:

  1. As beautifully simple as I find homes like this, I could never pull it off. I like buying vases too much! :)

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    1. I love the idea of it a lot. As a vacation home, or artist's retreat, it is perfect. I can see people using this space to really relax and just create.

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  2. Wow... talk about minimal! The thing is I love it. Like Dana I could never actually live in for more than a few days. I would crave all my crap. I have to admit, though it's a small space that feels incredibly open and much larger than it is. Great job by the architect! LUCKY YOU to get to see all of this. HAVE FUN!

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    1. No crap allowed in this impeccable home. It felt open when we walked through it in spite of the twenty or so people tromping around.

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  3. Love the post and the pics, can't imagine being in that house. I love color and decor too much.

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    1. When you are inside Brooke, it has a very peaceful relaxing vibe. Very private and cozy in its own minimalist way.

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  4. I really like the minimalist ethos--but what would I do with all my photo albums?? As a vacation spot or weekend retreat, it would be perfect.

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    1. It reminded me of the whole private bungalows with private pools of Hollywood lore. And Palm Springs has that vibe for sure.

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  5. Gosh, I had a hard enough time getting used to living in our minimalist design, but I don't know what I would do without color!! I'm sure it would be different to see in person, though, as you've said.

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    1. It truly feels very peaceful and private. Totally zen.

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  6. You know it's going to be a great house just by looking at that mail box. I'm saving those bathroom pics for inspiration. It's simplicity is beautiful and exactly what I want in a bathroom. No fuss, elegant and practical.

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    1. I thought the bathroom was pretty nicely done. And you know I have a thing for a good bathroom.

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  7. Something about this initially strikes me as comfortable and not sterile, which is odd for me to say!

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    1. Honestly, it really grew on me as I walked around. I could get used to it.

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