Ascending the stairs from the street, guests feel an anticipation that builds in the center courtyard.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MILLICENT HARVEY
Lori Tiedeman is a desert designer through and through. She was born in the Coachella Valley and got her start over 30 years ago under the wing of the legendary Steve Chase.
When she met her husband, Gene, who helps run his family’s business, C&M Building Materials, they built their dream home. The first of four.
Their latest, perched high on the north edge of Cathedral City Cove, reflects their journey from there to here. Lessons learned, skills honed, and tastes evolved, the pair have grown as a couple and in their respective fields. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the view.
“Each home has been different, from Tuscan to desert contemporary,” Tiedeman says. “When it comes to style, most designers will say the same thing: ‘We like it all!’ I’m the same way. I like all looks, past and current, and find beauty and meaning in all of them. This is exactly why it’s difficult for a designer to design their own home.” But this new build, she says, has her heart. Between its choice materials and the significance of its pinnacle location, it literally would be hard to top.
“My husband grew up on the street right behind us,” she says. “I met his family here and spent a lot of time with them. That’s when I first fell in love with the cove.” The sentimental feelings attached to the locale and the views that sweep from the close-range mountains to the cities scattered below served as their creative starting point.
Designers will also tell you that creativity is born of problem solving, and they didn’t get far into the project before that truth reared its head.
“There was a reason this lot had not been built on all of these years,” Tiedeman says. It encompasses two levels and carried a long list of restrictions. “We truly love the whole process of envisioning and designing, even being on-site every day and acting as the clean-up crew every weekend. We are both in the industry, and we have seen it all, construction-wise and interior-wise, and that helped form our direction.”
Capitalizing on the view, they folded the beauty of the mountainside setting into their architectural selections and interiors by using “real products,” including stone, wood, and brick. “The home incorporates everything we love about the desert: the amazing hand-applied rock walls, the painted brick, the board and batten, and the stone floors (quartzite), which we also used in the walk-in showers,” Tiedeman says.
“We wanted our house to have a comfortable warmth,” she adds. “It needed to be tranquil, inviting, and a place where you can hang out, make memories, or read a book — and that we have achieved. I feel it’s the overall scale, the beauty of finishes, and the combinations of materials that bring a well-designed home to life, whether for clients or our family.”
The home also honors the Coachella Valley by infusing materials, textures, and history of the area. “We love the local landscape, the mountains, the gorgeous skies, the open feel, all of it.,” Tiedeman says. My parents were so proud to live here. They got up every day saying, ‘We live in paradise! Look at those blue skies and those mountains.’ And they instilled that love. In this home, we have a place to cherish and enjoy it.”