This unique Show House, a 4,350-square-foot structure designed by architect John Walling in 1978 as an ode to mid-century design located within the El Dorado Estates, differs from most in that a cohesive “Luau Luxe” theme inspired by the homeowner and surf-legend Jeph White is consistently presented throughout the installation. A lei-worthy color palette of fresh greens, refreshing yellows and tender coral-pinks is matched with aloha-patterned textiles, hula details, woven straw touches, and the owner’s world-class collection of historic long boards. 

Designer Chris Barrett develops design projects across the USA and around the world, and now calls Palm Desert home. For Desert Oasis Show House, she takes the lead on two of the property’s key areas: the Primary Bedroom Suite and the exterior furnishings.  Working in collaboration with John Feldman of Ecocentrix Landscape Architecture, Barrett added her unique perspective to the development of the exterior lounges and entertaining spaces to optimize views of the full-round pool and surrounding barranca. The outdoor kitchen, firepit, BBQ and dining and seating areas welcome relaxed gatherings, while the Tiki-tastic outdoor shower hewn from natural lava rock and pebbles adds to the breezy island ambience.

The Primary Suite of bedroom and bath subtly raise the stakes by countering casual, beachy features with a few elegantly polished elements. “By balancing contrasting textures, we’re able to communicate the owner’s adventurous and fun-loving spirit, along with a sense of deep luxury,” says Barrett. A sophisticated white-and-green area rug designed by Chris Barrett for Mansour Modern beneath the bed softens the limestone effect of creamy porcelain tile pavers, the flooring that extends through the entire interior. Barrett’s new line of indoor/outdoor rugs for Mansour Modern will debut later in 2022.

To serve as a headboard suitable for The Big Kahuna (Mr. White), Barrett ordered a custom-made bed made from a slab of live-edge parota wood. The untamed, organic energy of the slab is matched by grass-covered walls and Barrett’s showstopper: a slender, 16-foot wa’a (dugout canoe) from the owner’s extensive collection displayed on the wall behind the bed.

As counterpoint to the room’s naturalistic pieces, Barrett designed a spectacular fireplace set with glossy, floor-to-ceiling turquoise cut-glass tiles bearing a stylized palm design. A Cindy Sherman photograph hangs over the fireplace and a Herb Alpert sculpture graces a corner, both courtesy of Heather James Fine Art Gallery. A vintage bureau is tucked behind a secondary wall covered in a refined palm-print wallpaper, lending a note of stately calm to the room.

The main bath features a freestanding Native Trails oval soaker tub in pristine white, complemented by dimensional wall-tiles in the Dunes pattern in Crystal White by Island Stone, a sculpted form that suggests the windswept, sugar-white sands of a secret surf-spot. “This is a highly livable slice of paradise,” says Barrett. “Nothing fussy or fancy. Because if it’s not low-maintenance, it’s no longer paradise.”

Lead designer for the 2022 Show House is Michael Berman of Michael Berman Limited, presented by Design Collaborative. Over the course of the event, the Show House expects to welcome more than 5,000 projected visitors, including design professionals and real estate brokers as well as homeowners. Desert Oasis will host three philanthropic events for FIND Food Bank, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Special Olympics of Southern California, to reach the target fundraising goal of $100,000.

Design Collaborative brings together top-of-field designers and architects to transform iconic properties into unparalleled modern luxury living spaces. The properties provide vital exposure for interior designers, architects, builders and manufacturers, and contributors share their inspiration via live and virtual events including tours, podcasts, panel discussions, art exhibits, fashion shows and philanthropic events.

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