Prism in Joshua Tree.
PHOTO BY GABE VEGA
Swimming in a Container Pool
Toggle between the pool and spa while soaking up 360-degree views at Prism. Managed by Stays You Like, it is the latest High Desert project by KUD Development. The home, designed in cooperation with URBARC in Palm Desert and constructed with concrete and foam panels, sits nestled in the environs on 5 acres crossed by private trails. Nature guided the decision to add a container pool with a see-me-swim window. “The ground is blue granite, which was very difficult to dig down into for the house foundation,” says Troy Kudlac, founder of KUD Properties, who owns the new two-bedroom home with his wife, Amy. “The above-ground container allowed us to place the pool between the boulders and build some poolside entertaining space while preserving more of the natural landscape.”
Hot Tubbing in the Snow
Wrap yourself in a towel and hotfoot it to the cedar spa and adjacent sauna with the crunch of snow under your feet. That chilly sprint, followed by a steamy soak in the Scandi-style sweat lodge, is all part of the winter rejuvenation and fun at High Rock House. The three-bedroom house rises from a setting of snow-capped trees and serenity and opens to the outdoor pleasures of Idyllwild, with all the toasty comforts you could want inside, too, including a freestanding midcentury fireplace, billiards table, and bar.
Hot tub at High Rock House.
PHOTO BY EMRHYS COOPER
Dining deck at High Rock House.
PHOTO BY CRAIG BERNARDI
Dining in the Treetops
Memorable meals unfold on the dining deck of the High Rock House, perched at 6,000 feet with expansive views of Mount San Jacinto State Park. The home was built in 1973 and rehabbed in 2020 by owners Emrhys Cooper and Donal Brophy, co-founders of Idyllwild Pictures, a Palm Springs–based independent entertainment company. The British- and Irish-born (respectively) producers/actors infused the interior with “eclectic glamour,” but the exterior speaks for itself. Move to the deck’s fireside conversation area after dinner
for more mountain views and hot toddies.
Sol to Soul.
PHOTO BY MAC HAYWARD PHOTOGRAPHY
Stargazing Under a Dark Sky
“People love the house, but it’s really about the land,” says Leslie Longworth, owner of Sol to Soul. “You can have a very mystical experience here, if you’re open to that.” The two-bedroom home has appeared twice in Dwell, popped up in an Airbnb ad, and was called out by Condé Nast Traveler in 2021 as the “coolest Airbnb” in California. It’s hard to resist the draw of dark nights in the desert, where the sky glints and twinkles. The view is spectacular above these 10 wild, open acres. “There’s something transformative when I open the sliding door during Milky Way season and it’s right there over my house. I haven’t found that kind of silence or that relationship with the cosmos anywhere else.”
The Dream House in Palm Desert.
PHOTO BY AUSTYN MORENO
Pool at the Dream House.
PHOTO BY AUSTYN MORENO
Kicking Back on Two Indoor-Outdoor Levels
Bilevel living is rare in the desert. One look at the floating staircase inside The Dream House, managed by Travlr Vacation Homes, and guests know they have booked more than a modern novelty. Leisure pursuits span the length of this four-bedroom home in the Cahuilla Hills neighborhood, from an open-air gym with a Peloton bike to the infinity-edge saltwater swimming pool fanning out above Stone Eagle Golf Resort. Dual balconies set behind glass welcome guests to lose themselves in these double-decker panoramas.
Swinging Over the Valley
Time passes differently at a vacation rental like The Dream House where your phone stays on its charger and your mind takes the opportunity to enjoy wandering instead of processing. Guests don’t think twice about spending a full afternoon camped out in one of the swing chairs on the second level, chatting, reading, napping, or sipping something refreshing. Letting go of gravity and the ground under your feet gives the mind carte blanche to wander.