Explore A Dreamy Desert Hilltop Oasis In The Coachella Valley

Details

entryway path with two reflecting...

A visually appealing approach was crucial to the reimagining of this Rancho Mirage dwelling. Deep eaves provide protection from the sun while two rectilinear water features add reflectivity and drama. Landscape architect Jeff Attinger placed various cacti, yucca, agaves and other drought-tolerant plants in an attractive array.

contemporary living room with wall...

To shape the living area’s muted palette, designer Tim Pfeiffer placed a coffee table and sofas from EJ Victor’s Antonia Collection beside ED Ellen DeGeneres lounge chairs, which are wearing a Mark Alexander linen. All were sourced from Housewright. An RH chandelier finishes the room.

contemporary neutral dining room with...

Custom white oak paneling and brass inlay details bring warmth and richness to the dining room, while a teak-root console from Housewright adds a tactile, earthy touch. Artwork is by Pam Eshelman.

dining room with light colored...

In the same space, a Robert James Collection dining table is surrounded by white upholstered chairs and illuminated by a linear RH chandelier. Anchoring the room is a Driscoll Robbins rug.

kitchen with white oak cabinetry...

White oak cabinetry lines the kitchen, where Madre Perla countertops from Formation play off a textured backsplash from Zellige Tiles. McGuire’s Passage counter stools from Baker Furniture nod to Visual Comfort & Co. pendants. The range is Wolf and the paneled refrigerators are Sub-Zero.

primary bathroom with marble vanity...

Calacatta marble surfaces and flooring contrast with custom oak cabinetry and millwork in the primary bathroom. The sink basins are Kohler. RH sconces light the vanity.

outdoor bathing area with freestanding...

A private outdoor bathing area off the primary bathroom features Native Trails’ Avalon 72 concrete soaking tub with Brizo’s Litze faucet mounted in the stucco wall. Star jasmine, creeping fig vine and a pinwheel flower shrub bring a lush feeling to this inner sanctuary.

backyard pool patio area with...

Sculptural aloes and cascades of dichondra line the walkway down to the back patio, where a detached art studio’s roof forms a seating pavilion. The pool and oversize spa, remodeled by Common Ground Swimming Pools, feature black pebbles with limestone coping.

A chance meetup at a cocktail party is what kicked off the total transformation of this 1960s dwelling. The woman, who would quickly become Tim Pfeiffer’s client, had been following his work—and she didn’t mince her words. “I’ve been wanting to track you down; I need your help,” the interior designer recalls of her opening line. She and her husband had purchased a spectacular Rancho Mirage hillside site. The older home perched upon it, however, begged for a refresh to maximize its Coachella Valley views.

What the southwest-facing residence boasted most was privacy: Surrounded on two sides by a mountain and canyon, it had no visible neighboring homes. The couple had already engaged residential designer Javier Segura Villagran, who had begun ideating on how to best transform the abode’s layout with more connectivity to its stunning surroundings. With Pfeiffer on board, they further considered the particularities of the property to dictate all architectural and interior design responses. “The existing floor plan didn’t work well for a contemporary lifestyle,” remarks Segura Villagran, “but we felt that the shell and orientation did—if we flipped the programming around.”

The eat-in kitchen was relocated (it now opens to a patio and outdoor kitchen), the common areas redone, and an attached casita with a kitchenette and two commodious bedroom suites was added. Pfeiffer notes that his client also requested “four perfect chairs in four different places” to support her husband’s voracious reading habit. Composing seamless indoor-outdoor living spaces was a must too, as was hewing to the best sight lines. “We created a nice dichotomy of down-valley and mountain views, with the shadow play and drama of the mountain coming into the property,” Segura Villagran notes.

For the entrance, reimagined in collaboration with landscape architect Jeff Attinger and installed by Dunn’s Desert Landscape & Designer Pools, the team “wanted to create a sheltered and layered experience,” Pfeiffer explains. “The water features add brightness and reflectivity, and really amp up the romantic feeling of an oasis in the desert.” The attractive array of plant choices surrounding the two rectangular reflecting ponds create what Attinger describes as “a statuesque enhanced desert vignette,” with an organ pipe cactus, yucca, agaves and golden barrel cactuses referencing the environs.

Aesthetically, the wife asked Pfeiffer to draw inspiration from that same immediate context, but without going too literal. “She said, ‘Let’s pay attention to the seasons and the continual changing light on the mountains and the hills, and let’s play with that color palette,’ ” he explains, quipping, “She won me over before we’d even started.” Because the client herself is a painter and had previously worked in interior design, she had “a real sense of color and was into some gutsy materials,” Pfeiffer further shares. He took his cues from the range of plant life and golden rock formations he observed, mixing them with rich cocoa, dusty gray and dark bronze—hues that nod to the mountainside’s dappled shadows.

Wood surfaces bring in warmth and help manage the scale of the generously sized rooms. Box beams and the cast-concrete and bronze fireplace in the living room align with the exterior approach and entryway, accentuating the geometric principles incorporated throughout. “There’s this nice balance of a contemporary focus done in a more traditional way,” the designer muses. “This home’s classic components are overscaled and expansive to connect to the grandeur of the setting.” And as Segura Villagran notes of the residence’s range of design references, “Tim’s vernacular is modern Pacific Northwest, mine is modern Palm Springs. This home is a nice marriage of both.”

Looking back, that serendipitous encounter at the party wasn’t just breezy banter. It was the start of a collaborative relationship that reinforces Pfeiffer’s design ethos. “There’s a narrative and a story to tell for everyone,” he reflects. “Some people want to be delivered a story; this client loved to help build the story, which made it all the more fun to work together.