Construction Diary: A Serene Desert Hideaway Is Part Rental, Part Designer Showcase



Billed as a design retreat, Casa Mami in Pioneertown, California, hosts visitors at the edge of Joshua Tree National Park—then invites them to buy what they love.

Carlos Naude and Whitney Brown, the creative duo behind Los Angeles–based creative studio Working Holiday, have always dreamed of having a weekend retreat where they can host guests and showcase the products they love. Now, that dream is a reality with Casa Mami in Pioneertown, California, outside of Joshua Tree National Park. Naude and Brown transformed the pueblo-style home into a design-forward, eco-friendly, overnight experience on five acres of sprawling desert where everything—from linens and kitchenware, to furniture and art—is available for purchase.

In the Casa Mami living room, the soft contours of the Cloud Sofa by Marcel Wanders complements the graphic lines of the Confetti terrazzo coffee table by Fish and Pink. A Vifa speaker keeps the tunes coming.

In the Casa Mami living room, the soft contours of the Cloud Sofa by Marcel Wanders complements the graphic lines of the Confetti terrazzo coffee table by Fish and Pink. A Vifa speaker keeps the tunes coming.

Photo: Carlos Naude

Below, Naude gives us his firsthand account of the renovation journey.

1. Dreaming of a Weekend Escape

We’re both people who appreciate design, architecture, and travel. We lived in New York for five years in an apartment on the Lower East Side and always fantasized about having a second home somewhere close to nature. Back in those days, we were considering the Catskills—we looked at a few houses, but never really made it happen.

Over five months, Naude and Brown renovated their desert bungalow into a design retreat and second home for themselves, baby Rico, and their dog, Mona.

Over five months, Naude and Brown renovated their desert bungalow into a design retreat and second home for themselves, baby Rico, and their dog, Mona.

Candida Wohlgemuth

Separately, we’ve always been frustrated when we find an amazing piece of furniture, decor, or dinnerware at a hotel or store, but aren’t able to know the origin, maker, or where we can buy it for our own house. So, an idea has been brewing in the back of our heads for quite some time.

In 2017, we found out we were going to have our first baby, so we decided to move to L.A. for better quality of life for our little boy—more space, proximity to nature, etc. During a weekend trip to Joshua Tree, we absolutely fell in love with the surroundings, and it was then that we realized where we were finally going be bringing our little dream to life. 

Brown surveys the site at sunset.

Brown surveys the site at sunset.

Photo: Carlos Naude

See the full story on Dwell.com: Construction Diary: A Serene Desert Hideaway Is Part Rental, Part Designer Showcase

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