The Desert Milk Adobe project by interior architect Sarah Solis is a relaxing retreat for artists. With a strong focus on tranquillity and serenity, which suits the desert’s silence, the residence seems to emerge from the earth. The result is a place where understated luxury and rustic materials meet.
The house was built in the 1940s by investors as a film set, including saloons, stables, and a prison. Even today, the area still receives many visitors wanting to explore the landscape. The residence, located in the Joshua Tree National Park, was designed in the style of a typical 1930s adobe home and had been abandoned since the 1970s, until it was recently bought by a director. During the renovation, the house was expanded to twice its original size. The big challenge was to turn it into an exclusive desert retreat. Sarah Solis, whose studio is based in Malibu, prefers creative, intimate interiors that reflect the lifestyle of her clients. The minimalistic style is a tribute to the banco furniture that can be found in many adobe homes. Banco refers to a Spanish colonial style from New Mexico that fully comes into its own in this house. Materials played an important role in that. The old walls were maintained and the plasterboard with timber frame construction in the extension was lined with mud from the site. For sufficient natural light, Solis placed skylights in the metal roof and the hemlock-clad beam ceiling. Some rooms received built-in furniture made of plaster.
Solis prefers creative, intimate interiors that reflect the lifestyle of her clients
In the original part, we find hand-applied plaster and white oak floors, while the new parts are finished with polished concrete. These materials recur in the kitchen, where white oak cabinets and a poured concrete countertop are combined with a terracotta brick backsplash. The rustic nineteenth-century dining table was found at a flea market in Nebraska and perfectly matches the old church pew and the Jeanneret chairs. The bathroom sink, finally, was sourced from an eighteenth-century vineyard in the South of France. This retreat has many other advantages, such as a sauna for twelve people, a sun terrace, an outdoor shower and bath, a pizza oven, a pool, a ceramics studio, and a welding workshop. With her authentic, rustic style, this is the ideal place to let creative ideas flow in abundance.
Photography by Shade Degges