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C At Home

A Separate Peace

Kristopher Dukes shares a glimpse into her private retreat: a revolutionary Desert Hot Springs prefab where every room is a room with a view.

I primarily live at the beach near L.A., and the reason I love having a home in the desert is not because the two places are such opposites, but because of their sameness: Looking at the ocean’s horizon invites a sense of expansiveness, of traveling without moving; the desert’s vastness has the same effect on me.

The Marmol Radziner Desert House is the 2005 prototype of the SoCal architects’ line of prefab homes; yet, the residence feels custom-tailored to its site. Lifted two feet off the ground, it frames a view of the San Jacinto Mountains as you walk up from the carport, and after entering through the front door, the house—with its walls of windows—disappears into the landscape.

It’s not in spite of, but because of my career as an interior designer that I wanted to leave the original decor intact. Most of the furniture was custom-designed by the architects. Much of it is crafted of distressed wood that weathers well under the hot sun and wind; and neutral twill cushions and sage-green and golden rugs echo the muted earth tones of the surrounding environment.

I could spend a quarter of my time seeking out treasures to accessorize this second home—after all, I was obsessive about choosing an organic woven wastebasket for the master bedroom. But I’m too busy standing still here, watching the windmills wink at me.

Photographed by Joe Fletcher.

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