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 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.
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.”
Kovac Design Studio
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)