The Bungalows at Joshua Tree Retreat Center, Joshua Tree.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY YOSHIHIRO MAKINO
@ Joshua Tree Retreat Center, Joshua Tree
Visiting the Joshua Tree Retreat Center on Twentynine Palms Highway means embarking on an architectural and a spiritual pilgrimage. And now The Bungalows, situated within the historic campus, gives design-focused travelers a particularly compelling new reason to visit.
“The bungalows are a completely different experience. These are very light and open, and very Palm Springs in style.”
“As long-term residents of the Joshua Tree area, we believed there was room for a special destination here that would truly do justice to its natural surroundings and inspire thoughtful care of the area’s history and unique allure,” says David McAdam, founder of Homestead Modern, the High Desert–based premium home rental operation and development group behind the effort.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the entire complex,” says design consultant for the project Brad Dunning about the center, which serves as the headquarters for the Institute of Mentalphysics. Founder Edward John Dingle, known as Ding Le Mei, tapped Lloyd Wright in the early 1940s to design what would evolve into the largest collection of the architect’s work. At The Bungalows, Dunning’s historic restoration expertise helped guide the revitalization of the 14 guest rooms and suites housed within three post-and-beam-style buildings originally designed by Pasadena architect Harold B. Zook in 1960. (Both Wright and Zook were sons of esteemed figures in the profession, too.)
@ l’horizon hotel, palm springs
Designer and hotelier Steve Hermann continues to expand his footprint in the wake of his reimagining of the Colony Palms Hotel and Bungalows. Loyal fans of L’Horizon Resort and Spa can retreat to the beloved property yet opt to sample an alternative experience offered at the adjoining Hermann Bungalows. These newly built, low-slung guest accommodations are a desert design fever dream come to life, with each room and suite sleekly appointed in all the ways one has come to expect of Hermann’s properties — and then some.
“I created my dream property — where would I want to stay, unmatched anywhere in the world.”
The Morse House
Even in Palm Springs, a vintage home boasting a sunken living room and a swim-up bar among its serious midcentury bona fides can stand out as an unrivalled opportunity. Such is the case in Vista Las Palmas at the Morse House designed in 1961 by Hal Levitt, the creative force behind many homes in Beverly Hills’s Trousdale Estates neighborhood.
“The way the outside integrates with the architecture is truly special.”
“I started casually looking in Palm Springs, and I fell in love with the Morse House immediately,” says Chris DeWitt, who with his partner, Oscar Yague, owns the home and makes it available as a choice rental for MCM devotees. “The way the outside integrates with the architecture is truly special.” It’s also essentially impossible to imagine a home better suited for entertaining.
Adding to the couple’s appreciation is the fact that they’re design industry pros, so work and life merge perfectly here. “We wanted to create an environment that wasn’t a kitschy homage to the era the home was built in but enhanced its underlying characteristics,” DeWitt explains. Notable vintage features include breeze block screens, terrazzo surfaces, and a Malm fireplace. Collected vintage pieces are layered with new products from their retail and direct-to-the-trade companies that include Made Goods and Pigeon & Poodle. “So, the feeling is relaxed, refined, playful, and most importantly, beautiful.”