Chairs and lounges by Bodil Kjær for Carl Hansen & Søn from Cult Design

Rising out of the rocky desert, this jaw-dropping Palm Springs house is rewriting the rules

To flout the mid-century modern archetype that is synonymous with Palm Springs is a bold statement for any home in the desert, which is why a project like Desert Palisades could only have been undertaken by someone with a clear vision and a clever eye. It is hardly surprising then, that it was Brett Woods (of Los Angeles-based architectural studio Woods + Dangaran), who conceived the four-bedroom house as a weekend getaway spot for his family that would offer a true escape from the city. As such, Desert Palisades has been carefully designed to work in harmony with its surrounding landscape and to offer a fresh perspective on the Palm Springs we know. 

Surrounded by rocky boulders, the Desert Palisades home stands proudly on a hillside that offers views over the city below. With a facade that combines generous glass windows with large brass panels (designed to patina with time) the structure is as striking as it is perfectly suited to its unique landscape, where the exterior invites light reflections that make it shimmer and almost disappear at times and the long, linear shape punctuated with natural materials hints at the area’s mid-century pedigree.

Branching Bubble pendant by Lindsey Adelman Studio.

Capitol Complex chair by Pierre Jeanneret for Cassina from Matisse.
Piedra Black and White Onyx sconce by L’Aviva Home.

That said, Woods was clear on wanting to create something that felt like the antithesis of Palm Springs’ iconic design language, an objective that informed the home’s material palette and finishes. Here, many of the interior design cues have been taken from the landscape, including the use of travertine flooring, muted tones like sage green, dusty pink and sandy brown, and materials like walnut, teak, leather and natural stone. On details like lighting and furniture, pieces such as L’aviva Home’s Piedra Collection sconces and a modern re-edition of Cassina’s Capitol Complex Armchair deliver a kind of contemporary sophistication that really anchors the home in the now. 

And while it might defy the area’s common architectural tropes, this home truly embraces its Palm Springs locale via a paved terrace and swimming pool that offer outdoor living at its finest. Here, the use of concrete acts as a connector between the interior and exterior spaces, from the exposed CMU blocks on internal walls to the use of concrete around the pool, the considered use of this material actually saw the home receive the Concrete Masonry Design Awards’ Grand Award earlier this year, a testament to the architect’s unique, innovative vision. 

Both a warm family home and a bastion of cool, contemporary design, Desert Palisades embraces a new kind of Palm Springs lifestyle without disregarding its context completely, and is the ultimate place to escape.

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