Madison Desert Club La Quinta

Located in exclusive La Quinta, California, Madison Desert Club is a holiday home that captures the spirit of its dramatic desert surroundings. Inspired by the concept of a boutique hotel, this project was designed to bolster the owner’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle and make entertaining effortless for parties of two or two hundred alike.

Composed of a central, double-height gathering space with four flanking casitas separated by outdoor walkways, the entire ensemble is connected by the home’s signature roof canopy, which casts a shadow pattern that references the site’s native Cholla cactus. To preserve the surrounding mountain panorama, the main volume features oversized glass doors that disappear to open the kitchen, dining area, bar, screening room, and great room to the pool and views beyond. One level below, an open-air gym, wellness spa, and media room with custom bunkbeds provides guests with additional space to relax and socialize. When privacy is preferred, guests may retreat to one of the individual casitas where they find an en-suite, mini bar, and intimate terrace complete with fire pit for taking in the views.

There is no better place to escape from the stresses of daily life – this home is an oasis in the desert.

“The design of the home is less about privacy, although that was desired – and more about creating a sense of mystery…Encouraging exploration as new spaces and moments are revealed throughout.”

Michael Kovac, Founder and Design Partner

Ever-Changing Shadows

The home’s signature roof canopy shelters the entire structure from harsh desert elements and, as the sun moves throughout the day, creates a delicate, ever-changing pattern of shadows reminiscent of the native Cholla cactus. On hot desert days, it provides much needed shade for the open-air walkways that connect the main volume to the surrounding casitas. At the entry, an oculus artfully frames the desert sky, which is reflected in the still water element below.

A creative solution to budget constraints, the canopy is composed of an off-the-shelf foamed aluminum that was originally developed as an acoustic material. This solution came when the project team looked up at the ceiling in our own studio’s meeting space and noticed its open, varied structure similar to the skeleton of the Cholla cactus.

A Transforming Theater

While this home features many moments of surprise and delight, perhaps the most impressive is the suspended theater above the bar, which boasts a 10-by-17-foot motorized wall that doubles as a projector screen. When the wall is closed, the theater is a perfectly enclosed intimate screening room. When the wall is open, the theater transforms into a suspended balcony that can act as an open stage ideal for live musical performances during parties. 

Open-Air Gym and Wellness Spa

The open-air gym embraces a sun-filled private garden to be enjoyed year-round. Steps inside, a massage room, infrared sauna, steam room, and wellness spa stocked with luxury toiletries is available for guests to use when they feel in need of rejuvenation.

“Inside the house, warm tones, midcentury furniture, and tactile fabrics predominate, from the bronze mesh curtains to a sprawling velvet Patricia Urquiola Tufty Time sofa to the vintage Pierre Paulin chairs reupholstered in wool.”

Alexandra Lange, Elle Decor
Madison Desert Club Bar Seating Area

The home’s reductive palette of textured plaster, warm woods, and Cremo Delicato stone alludes to the desert landscape while the interiors, also designed by our studio, give a generous nod to the glamour of “Old Palm Springs.”

“It was always designed to be both a vacation home and one for entertaining but during the pandemic, it was my primary residence for a lot of that time. It just has this warmth and calmness to it. The sunsets and the balmy nights, sitting out there by the pool—it is just really peaceful.”

Todd Feldman, Client, Elle Decor 
  • Interior Design

    Kovac Design Studio

  • Photography

    Roger Davies

  • Styling

    Anita Sarsidi

  • Videography

    The Local Project


  • 2023 SCDF | Single-Family Residential (Winner)

  • 2023 Loop Design Awards Interior | Residential & Houses (Citation Winner )

  • 2023 Arch Daily | Building of the Year (Nominee)

  • 2022 Luxe RED Awards | "Wow Factor" (National Winner)

  • 2022 Architizer A+ Awards | Residential Interiors >3,000 sq ft (Finalist)

Madison Desert Club Bar Seating Area