While Joel Turkel has built prefab homes all over North America and beyond, he hasn’t had the chance to live in one of his own designs. That will soon change.

With post-and-beam construction, a thin roof profile, and an open floor plan that facilitates an interplay between the interior and exterior, the Dwell Prefab Palm Springs by Turkel Design bears all the signatures of the architecture firm. The show home is its first in California, which allowed Turkel and his team to put extra emphasis on indoor/outdoor living.

The Axiom Desert House by Turkel Design is a 2,000-square-foot prefab currently under construction in Palm Springs, California. It’s also the latest collaboration in 12 years of partnership between Dwell and Turkel Design, and when completed, will become home to the Turkel family. Designing their future family home was a way for Joel and Meelena Turkel, founders of Turkel Design, to dive deeply into the design, building, and delivery process. Even though they’ve been creating homes for over a decade, there was still more to learn.

The L-shaped house wraps around a courtyard with a pool and patio, connecting the indoors to the outdoors.

The L-shaped house wraps around a courtyard with a pool and patio, connecting the indoors to the outdoors.

Photo: Turkel Design

“We’ve been compelled by the idea of the living lab, a place where we would be able to try different techniques, different materials, different methods, but also have the latitude to design a place that combines all of the best techniques and features that we’ve learned over years and years in the business,” says Joel Turkel.

Panels for the prefab house were manufactured out of laminated strand lumber (LSL), an engineered wood product made from scrap wood. Designed for weather resistance, it's stronger than traditional framing materials and less likely to warp or split.

Panels for the prefab house were manufactured out of laminated strand lumber (LSL), an engineered wood product made from scrap wood. Designed for weather resistance, it’s stronger than traditional framing materials and less likely to warp or split. 



Photo: Turkel Design

With sustainability and energy efficiency in mind, Turkel designed the home out of engineered wood; its construction doesn’t use any old growth timber: “It’s all fast-growing trees or material that otherwise would have been waste wood.” Photovoltaic systems will completely power the home, and sleek ceiling fans by The Modern Fan Co. will keep the home cool in the desert heat, reducing the need for air conditioning.

Modern Fan Company IC/Air 3 Ceiling Fan

IC/Air3 blades are constructed of injection-molded plastic and are available in a 56″ blade span. The IC/Air3 uses DC motor control solutions for operation of a fan or a fan & light from a handheld remote, a wall pad or a combination of both. Provides six speeds, reverse direction and choice of on/off or dimming light function. Photo Courtesy of The Modern Fan Company

The location of Palm Springs itself, with its view of the San Jacinto mountain range, shaped the house. “We wanted a very strong connection to the outdoors. We viewed the outdoor living to be as important—if not more important—than the indoor living,” says Turkel.

Workers unload systems-built panels and carefully assemble the shell. The crew fastens panels to the concrete slab with seismic hold downs.

Workers unload systems-built panels and carefully assemble the shell. The crew fastens panels to the concrete slab with seismic hold downs. 

Photo: Turkel Design

See the full story on Dwell.com: An Indoor/Outdoor Prefab Blooms in the Palm Springs Desert

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