Original Article Published by Mid Century Home
SEPTEMBER 16, 2021
Nestled in the thick of California hillsides, this iconic Palm Springs’ Smoke Tree Retreat offers peace and quiet from the nearby developed city center. Designed by Swiss-born architect Albert Frey, the home was originally built in 1964.
The Smoke Tree Retreat was more recently touched up by Tantalus Studio, a studio with projects throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but which has been branching out to other areas including California’s Palm Springs.
Pioneering midcentury modern architect Albert Frey established a name for himself with his style of modernism architecture which came to be known as ‘desert modernism’.
The style characterised by elements fitted to the desert climate is unmistakable in this classic home design. Expansive walls of glass open from the living and dining areas to “a boomerang shaped pool, which is surrounded by a grove of orange trees and sculpturesque desert plants.”
While the home carries materials and formal details from the midcentury era, Tantalus Studio amped up the interiors with “decorative lighting and furnishing selections”, catering a modern feel throughout the interiors. With additional warmth and clean lines, Tantalus Studio breathed new life into the classic design.
Nevertheless, the designers made sure to leave an air of another era into the home, preserving the Smoke Tree Retreat’s rustic vintage character.
“New lighting and flooring throughout helped create a unified tablet for an eclectic mix of new and vintage furnishings and artwork from Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and beyond. The desert landscape coupled with the vibrant design and cultural scene of Palm Springs inspired the blend of colors, prints and textures in the interior palette.”
The clever choice of color palette not only creates harmony between the outer landscape and interiors, but also works as insulation, allowing the interiors to hold up well against the harsh heat.
Surrounded by the dramatic San Jacinto mountains, the home serves as the perfect retreat for “various members of an extended family that come to enjoy the deserts’ warmth, sun, and culture.”
The open plan living room is surrounded by a dining area as well as added sitting areas inside and outside. Thanks to multiple areas dedicated to dining and lounging, the ranch is suited even for larger groups of visitors at the same time.
The outdoor pool is surrounded by sunbeds for lounging as well as soaking in the sun and stunning views surrounding the ranch. A fireplace behind the poolside accommodates cosy evenings with the family and friends when night falls.