As an interior photographer, especially in Los Angeles, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing others’ beautiful homes. Learning their stories - the decisions behind the design - and sharing their beauty with others. For the first time, I now have the chance to imbue my own design aesthetic and choices to a home of my own. After many months of searching long and hard and countless trips back and forth to the desert, I’m excited to share that my husband, Laine and I, have purchased a retreat near Joshua Tree National Park. With it we’ll be creating a retreat for us and others to enjoy.
Design Inspiration For A Joshua Tree Retreat
Laine’s originally from Cape Town, and in fact last year I visited South Africa for the first time. Both the desert and South Africa hold a significant place in our hearts. When it came to designing our desert cabin, and cultivating its distinct personality, we decided on an aesthetic that melds the two places together. You might say, ours is a modern aesthetic that juxtaposes the Joshua Tree desert landscape with that of South Africa's desert lands, like the Great Karoo. We’ve taken inspiration from from the Swartberg House designed by OpenStuduio, from the country’s distinct Cape Dutch Architecture and places like Babylonstoren, as well as colors and textiles native to South Africa.
Choosing A Color Palette
Our goal is to modernize a quaint 1952 country desert cabin. When we bought the home, country accents, and a brown and beige color palette had the house feeling anything but modern. Our base color palette to do that is black and white. It’s clean, modern, and creates bold contrast, and the color combination is something I found throughout spaces along our travels.
Step away from design and at its most root level South Africa is about black and white - and their coalescing. It’s a scheme that just made sense.
I couldn’t go without a bit of the right color pop though. For that I looked to South Africa’s natural landscapes. I remember thinking to myself the sunsets here are unlike any others I’ve seen. The vivid, fiery sunset oranges I witnessed in Madikwe are sunset oranges made sense as an accent color. So too did the deep turquoise blues of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Lastly, a sandy warm butterscotch color which elicits the sand tones across both desert landscapes unites Joshua Tree and South Africa.
Naming The Joshua Tree House
So now you know where the design inspiration comes from for our Joshua Tree hideaway. Stay tuned- can’t wait to share more of Lekker House JT. And what does Lekker mean exactly, you might ask? Good question. Lekker is the South African term for something truly delicious or luscious. You’ve tasted, smelled, seen, or experienced something so good, there’s only one word for it: Lekker. Lekker House JT is about living the sweet life and with 2.5 acres to roam, countless Joshua Tress, and views of San Gorgornio mountain and the Milky Way, the sweet life it is when you step inside Lekker House JT.
Photography by Marni Eptstein-Mervis unless otherwise noted.