We’re so excited to be bringing you our first house tour post! For our first tour we’re going to be taking a look at a mid-century modern home in California. Veronica and Jon were originally looking for a small vacation home in the Joshua Tree area for when they needed to escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. It’s a bit surprising then, that they ended up with a sprawling property and a space that sleeps up to nine, but it was a love-at-first-sight situation when they saw the house, and they knew they had to have it. Veronica is trained as an architect and had worked as a lighting designer for ten years, before joining the family’s social enterprise children’s luxury fashion line, Isabel Garretón Inc, five years ago. Since she still had the design bug inside her, they felt confident she could handle all of the design herself.
History of the Home
The house was built in 1954 for a pair of retirees. The owners had been traveling across the United States in an RV in search of joy in their golden years (they eventually wrote a self-published book recounting their post WWII travels). They found their joy in Joshua Tree, California. They named it “Rockbound” and nestled the house and in-ground pool into the boulders – they even left little corners of the enormous boulders penetrating the house’s interior walls. The home went through one other set of owners before Jon and Veronica purchased it in December 2017. Luckily both of the previous owners had been meticulous in maintaining the home and expansive grounds, so the renovation was focused more on design than any major structural changes.
Despite the bohemian desert vibes of their surroundings, the house itself had strong mid-century modern roots, so they decided to stay true to the home’s history and just give it some modern updates. The bulk of the budget went into installing air conditioning. Making the renovations even more impressive is the fact that Veronica was actually out of the country for work for a month after closing on the house. Having no architectural plans, she had to do all of the design by recalling each space from memory, and make all of her purchases online.
What They Did – Main House
For the main house, Veronica designed it to provide every modern amenity while highlighting the original details with mid-century vintage finds and modern pieces that complement the aesthetic. In the dining room she created a custom chandelier, and chose cream, gray, and beige Eiffel chairs to accentuate the original stone walls.
She also sourced matching stone for the kitchen backsplash, and eliminated the teal walls and red tile to marry the kitchen visually to the dining and living room.
Drawing from her experience as a lighting designer for a historic preservation team that’d worked on a few Richard Neutra homes, Veronica kept the walls that faced the garden darker in order to pull focus to the outdoor view. She skillfully mixed original mid-century modern (that either came with the home or from vintage shops) and contemporary pieces to create a seamless flow between iconic mid-century modern architecture and modern life.
The guest room has a subtle lunar cycle theme, and a black/white/gray color pallet that replaces the floor to ceiling maroon paint which was making the room feel darker and smaller than it really is. The Conical Wall Lamp serves as a foundational piece for the whole room, alluding to the celestial theme and acting as both a light fixture and sculpture.
What they Did – Guest House
For the Casita guest house, which has a living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and patio, Veronica decided to go with a more playful and casual feel. She wanted to make sure that those staying in it had a fun and exciting experience, and not feel like an afterthought to the main house. Wanting to keep the “clubhouse” feeling the Casita had they decided not to paint the wood paneling, but instead to juxtapose all of the brown with bursts of color on the walls and floor. As in the main house Veronica mixed vintage originals with modern finds for a perfect vibrant, contemporary space.
After the renovations were complete, they renamed the property Rockbound Oasis Retreat and decided to share their beautiful new home with others by listing it on AirBnb for use when they’re not there. So if you find yourself in the Joshua Tree area and need a place to stay, you can rent the entire property, and see this stunning (and kid friendly!) space in person. If you can’t afford a trip out to California right now, you can always live vicariously by following them on Instagram.
Thanks to Veronica and Jon for sharing their gorgeous home with us! We love your take on a Don Draper desert house (as Jon himself put it). And if you haven’t already packed your bags, check out the slideshow below for more envy-inducing photos.