stein design palm desert

Floating Through Time

A designer revisits an over-water lounge in La Quinta.

Lisa Marie Hart Current PSL, Home & Design, Real Estate

stein design palm desert

This decade-old floating focal point has stood up well aesthetically and structurally.

Struck by the exotic beauty of this over-water cabana at Tradition Golf Club, I called Gordon Stein of Stein Design for permission to share it here. I was surprised to learn the remodel that included this floating focal point is well over a decade old.

“We’re doing things today that are much more modern,” he says, “but this was a lot of fun.” The cabana has stood up well aesthetically and structurally, he adds, thanks to its materials.


The carved antique columns are hard-wearing Burmese teak, purchased from “an Indiana Jones-like” source who dated them to the 1880s. Stein procured teak planks to create a roof structure for the reclaimed pillars plus a teak panel for a ceiling-inset in the dining room. Several other eclectic facets throughout the home tie into the subtle, spa-like quality Stein layered against the European architecture.

Edged into the base of the mountain, the lot offers an ancient setting. The curtained cabana sits on a stone base at the back of a lagoon-style pool, flanked by two fire bowls. As a centerpiece for the home, it can be seen from most angles in the open plan.

Morning and evening, the buoyant retreat has supported many pursuits. It is shown with a day bed, but the current owners enjoy it as an open-air yoga platform. Just behind the cabana, they cool off post-practice under the spray of an outdoor shower.

“Having used timeless elements, it does hold its look,” Stein says. “I lived in the house for a couple years when we leased it from the clients. I have to say, it was a really a fabulous place to be.”