California is a destination for dreamers (particularly for vitamin D–starved Canadians) but the aesthetics are changing. The casual sensibilities of the 21st century are leaving their mark. Case in point: Debbie and Marco Paolella’s Palm Desert home, which is an escape from both Canadian winters and typical desert-modern design. “Normally, Palm Springs is a mid-century modern lovefest. That’s what was so refreshing about this house,” says Alda Pereira, the Vancouver designer who transformed the hacienda-style home. Natural textures, soft corners and a range of pale hues speak to both the shifting desert light and the dramatic mountains in the foreground. A short two-and-a-half hour flight away from Debbie and Marco’s home in British Columbia, the Palm Springs area is an easy escape during the long, grey West Coast winter. Click through to tour the relaxed retreat.
This rustic vignette in the front entrance sets the tone for the house. Many of the carvings and rough-hewn tables throughout the home were found at Galerie Half in Los Angeles, one of Alda’s favorite shops.
A quartet of low-maintenance concrete tables in the living room can be easily rearranged. “There’s nothing precious about anything in the house,” says Alda. Clap and Dance, the large painting by artist America, immediately appealed to the gregarious couple. “That’s what we do!” laughs Debbie. The low-slung sectional in sand-brown linen-cotton fabric and a chunky sisal rug confirm the home’s casual attitude.
With the San Jacinto Mountains just outside the windows, the home’s subtle textures and pale earth tones blend with the rugged surroundings.
In pursuit of their vision of a light, bright desert getaway, Debbie and Marco opened a wall in the kitchen in order to add sliding glass doors that overlook the back terrace. “It was quite an undertaking for a house that was new,” says Debbie of the renovation. “But we made it exactly what we wanted, and we wanted it bright.”
Upholstered chairs invite friends to linger at the table during the couple’s frequent dinner parties. The slim wrought-iron chandelier adds a hit of contrasting black and doesn’t block the view to the mountains.
The powder room’s floating vanity and large mirror have an airiness that’s refreshing in the home’s warm desert setting. Unshaded minimalist sconces offer a modern take on traditional wall-mounted candle lighting.
Fittingly, the bed and side tables in the principal bedroom are from Ralph Lauren Home’s Desert Modern collection. A whirling ceiling fan suits the room’s languid mood.
A guest bedroom adjacent to the principal bedroom easily doubles as a home office. Topping the rustic wooden desk with a gold-toned task lamp adds a touch of polish.
Bohemian-inspired decor in a guest bedroom includes Moroccan floor pillows and an exotic patterned rug.
“If you’re in Hawaii you want a beachy house; if you’re in the desert, you want to feel like you’re in the desert,” says Debbie of the couple’s decision to landscape their property using native vegetation such as cacti and Palo Verde shade trees.
One of the property’s lovingly landscaped gardens of trees and cacti.
Thanks to sweeping mountain vistas and a sky full of stars at night, the outdoor dining area by the pool is a hub of activity.
The infinity pool is perfect for a cool dip on hot afternoons. Simply designed outdoor furniture, including a pair of clean-lined chaises longues, keeps all the focus on the wide-open views.
Author: Jeremy Freed
House & Home February 2018
Alda Perreira, Alda Perreira Design