freeman development palm springs

Lineage of the Land

How developer Ed Freeman has created a forward-thinking architectural community at Desert Palisades.

Jessica Ritz Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

freeman development palm springs

Desert Palisades "...overlooks the city, and the city looks up to us," says developer Ed Freeman.

Of all human endeavors, architecture has a powerful ability to harness the past while articulating visions of the present and future. It’s this dynamic that developer Ed Freeman nurtures with intention at Desert Palisades.

“I wanted to continue with this history of fine architecture and architects in Palm Springs and create the aesthetic of the old midcentury masters — but bring them into our era,” says the Oregon-based real estate developer.

Desert Palisades comprises more than 112 acres in the delicate and dramatic topography of Chino Canyon, so “we’re overlooking the city and the city looks up at us,” Freeman says. “The most important thing is the site planning and how the homes sit on the lot.” Freeman lowered the density to contain half the number of approved home sites to 110, all with design guidelines devised by architect Sean Lockyer of Studio AR&D.
Developer Ed Freeman.

This effort also means incorporating “sustainable materials, green practices, and modern technology,” Freeman adds.

In addition to working with Lockyer to draft the plan and guidelines, tapping influential Santa Monica architect Ray Kappe in 2017 to create a signature property was a crucial early move. Kappe’s oeuvre did not actually include any projects in the Coachella Valley, but his keen understanding of sensitive sites and context articulated through his body of work hinted at the incredible potential. The house Kappe designed with his son, Finn, was completed in March 2021. (The elder Kappe passed away in November 2019.) Lockyer is also responsible for several compelling structures at Desert Palisades, including the striking Corten steel entrance guardhouse.

Recent buyers have turned to innovative practitioners, such as L.A.-based Woods and Dangaran and Jill Lewis, who maintains studios in Palm Springs and San Francisco, in order to continue this boundary-pushing trajectory. This new crop of architects and designers “understand what we’re trying to achieve with setting the homes into the terrain and leaving the natural landscape as much as possible,” Freeman says. “They’re free to do what they want within our limitations.”

Constraints often yield to exciting outcomes.

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