Prior to their marriage, Beverly and Ken Vidalin each had a California desert getaway—Beverly’s in Indian Wells and Ken’s in Rancho Mirage. A few months before tying the knot, they decided to sell Beverly’s and keep Ken’s. However, they wanted the house they would now share to be a current reflection of their new life together as a couple. Beverly, who has a background in design herself, knew too she needed a professional to help realize that vision and turned to interior designer Sheldon Harte.
Recounting how the project began, Harte says playfully, “I waved my magic wand and opened up my bag of tricks!” But that’s not far from the truth. The 1980s home, which sits smack on a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, was a gut renovation. “We rebuilt the house,” Harte shares. “It was originally a model home, so it has the most spectacular view, but a previous owner had remodeled it in a very dark, Frank Lloyd Wright style.” The team, including architect Thomas Jakway and general contractor Damian Trevor, reworked the layout, adding a den and enlarging the entry, ultimately opening the home to its mountain views.
Outside, landscape designer Marcello Villano thoroughly revamped the gardens. To give the pool a more clean-lined, contemporary appearance, the faux-stone around it was removed. This move, in turn, prompted a rethinking of all the hardscape. “It’s the domino effect,” muses Villano. Since the Vidalins only live there part of the year, they requested drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plantings and also wished for spots where their collection of sculptures could be displayed. The seamlessness, though, could not have been achieved without some exceptional teamwork. “We were able to start collaborating early, and that’s the best way to create something like this,” adds Trevor, recalling the complexities of custom elements like the hand-chiseled limestone floors from Israel and oversize polished-nickel details that required sourcing from specialist fabricators.
The furnishings became a thoughtful combination of Beverly’s existing collection along with finds intended just for the home. “She had some antiques and some classic art but wanted to update the mix with contemporary pieces, so it felt current,” Harte says. (One favorite is the foyer’s 17th-century Flemish tapestry that she first saw in a Beverly Hills rug gallery as a little girl. When she returned as an adult and found it still there, she had to have it.) “My home when I was single was more formal—you knew a woman lived there,” explains Beverly. “So, it was important that my husband have more masculine elements in this home, like the warmth of wood and color.” To that end, Harte employed the couple’s favorite hues (Ken likes yellow, and Beverly likes teal) through patterned textiles and wallpapers. One particularly peppy moment is a pair of petite Elbow chairs in the living room by legendary Hollywood decorator William Haines. “They’re great little chairs that play with scale—they’re not too heavy,” says Harte. “They’re symbolic of Haines’ work in the desert.”
But where the couple’s personalities really come into play is in the kitchen. Ken had spotted a photo in a magazine of a kitchen that kindled their interest. “Our vision was to have that room be the focus,” Beverly reports. “Then Sheldon created our beautiful open and much brighter, larger space with the sparkling polished-nickel cabinets and the wood butcher blocks—the wood was for Ken—and the leathered quartzite countertops and marble backsplash.” With a breakfast table and handy cocktail cabinets, guests can comfortably join them in the kitchen while they cook. (Ken enjoys doing the mains while Beverly prepares the sides and always handles the desserts.) “We do a lot of entertaining in both our homes,” says Ken, but he’s particularly proud of his outdoor options here, among them a pizza oven, an Argentine grill and a smoker. On nights they aren’t hosting, the couple settles into their cozy den.
And, while it is a vacation home rather than a main house, Harte is pleased that it reflects each of his clients. “We created an environment for two people who fell in love and married later in life,” the interior designer says. “Both have pride in what they have, so we were judicious in putting it together so that both would feel comfortable there. We ended up with a successful background against which they can live their life together.” And that mood is what delights Beverly. “Sheldon was able to create an elegant, casual look,” she shares. “Our family loves it. It’s a happy house.”