Discovering Design

Go inside great desert residences — for kids’ sake

Savor sleek modern design, thrill in a tropical paradise, delight in artistic whimsy, and escape into Italian Old World elegance. The elements of gracious desert living unfold Feb. 10 during the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert Home Tour. The annual event raises money for the nonprofit venue, which provides young people with exhibits and programs that encourage self-expression and intellectual curiosity.

If You Go

Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert Home Tour
February 10, 2013
9 a.m. - 5 p.m
For tickets, visit

The Canyons at Bighorn Golf Club


This mission-style, 8,800-square-foot house by builder Steve Ruffalo and architect Dave Prest features open wood trusses and stone walls and floors. It has a main house with three bedrooms, three and one-half baths, theater, office, wine and powder rooms, and a two-bedroom, two-bath casita. Jeffrey Jurasky designed interior spaces using custom furnishings, textured woods, and warm coloration. A pool with beach entry, fire pits, cooking area, and motor court round out the property.

The Barone Residence
Elena Ray


Karen and Tony Barone’s contemporary home presents a whimsical environment where work and play colorfully collide. The husband-and-wife artist couple surround themselves with their larger-than-life “post-pop” sculptures, from giant toy puppies to supersized forks with delectable oversized treats. The residence’s minimalist style, careful palette, and tall windows allow for the flow of natural light and an ideal space to display their art.

The Mounean Dixon Banker & Robert B. Banker Residence


This tranquil, private 2.5-acre Rancho Mirage estate features three freestanding houses that total seven bedrooms, a lit tennis court, subterranean wine cellar, infinity pool, putting green, waterfall, koi ponds, and lush gardens. Once owned by philanthropist Robert Banker, this residence reflects the aesthetics of architect Narendra Patel.

The Gonsalves Residence


Enjoy the essence of Italy in the Gonsalves’ Old World-style estate. This Mediterranean retreat nestled against a mountain in Indian Wells was custom-made to entertain. Stone steps in the courtyard, an angelic fountain, travertine tile floors, Italian furnishings, an open chef’s kitchen with a hand-painted fresco cook top, and a brick oven on the patio make the house perfect for lavish parties and casual get-togethers. Other amenities include a casita, pool, tennis court, and bocce ball court.

The Weitz Residence


The former home of sculptor John Kennedy, this midcentury showpiece offers Palm Springs’ celebrated indoor/outdoor lifestyle. Owners Laurie and Larry Weitz restored, renovated, and rejuvenated the Alexander-designed house in Vista Las Palmas, banking on its “great bones” and views of the San Jacinto Mountains. The remodel features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, white marble floors, a chef’s kitchen with custom marble-faced cabinets, a media room, a walk-in closet with hydraulic racks, and an elevated outdoor pavilion with two fire features.

The Slovak Residence


Intimacy within an expansive desert setting inspired this Rancho Mirage house with almost 3,000 square feet of outdoor living space. The property at 2 Canyon Creek embraces its elevated site, where indoor and outdoor spaces flow seamlessly into each other. The homeowners, architect Dave Prest, and builder Jim Foxx watched the sun and shadows move across the vacant site, anticipating the placement of glass and stone and massive boulders to maximize views and create privacy.


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