It was love at first sight for Caroline Lee when she found herself at the gate of her Palm Springs home—in her words, “a truly wild and magical experience.” It’s not surprising, given the A-frame house formerly belonged to none other than interior designer (and Lee’s longtime friend) Sarah Sherman Samuel. Today, it’s not just a weekend getaway for Lee and her family, it’s a respite for anyone in search of a little R&R.
As the founder of LA’s renowned Light Lab creative studio, Lee’s goal for the space was to transform it into a retreat away from the hustle of the city, one that would foster and cultivate creativity. Together with her brother and her Light Lab co-founder Anne Sage, she set out to create an inspiring haven fueled by three custom design moments. Given the hotel-like nature of the space, it was crucial that these details would be able to stand up to the extensive wear and tear that comes with a constant rotation of guests. Cue Crypton‘s ultra-durable and stain-resistant fabrics.
The home’s original design was indicative of Samuel’s signature style: Cali-cool with hints of retro glam. It was an ideal base for Lee to build upon with some splashes of saturated color and unexpected materials like mirror and copper.
“The moment I walked in, I felt the need for a desert-inspired palette,” Lee recalls. “Yellow was the number one motif on my moodboard—it’s so warm and inviting, it feels like it’s pulled straight from nature.”
The living room’s soaring ceilings already lent the space plenty of drama so Lee opted for a pair of curvy Kim Salmela sofas, covered in Crypton‘s performance fabric, which could stand up to the architecture. “We went for something low to the ground, with an ’80s vibe, that had a streamlined build without multiple cushion lines,” she notes.
Knowing that the room would be a high-traffic area, durability was also top of mind. “With puppies and babies and all kinds of wet towels coming in from long days at the pool, having fabric that is odor- and stain-resistant—and super easy to clean—was a non-negotiable,” says Lee. Cue Kravet’s Crypton Beacon fabric—in a cheery shade of lemon-yellow, no less, which together with the sinuous form of the couches resulted in the most inviting seating around.
A cozy custom banquette
The rad details don’t stop there. In the secondary living space, meant to serve as a lounge and media room, the showstopper is a toss-up between the walls and the two bespoke benches.
Lee and her partner Anne Sage envisioned the room not only as a hangout spot but a healing sanctuary for guided meditations and reiki. The duo chose to underscore the mid-century aesthetic of the home by sticking with a soft blush palette that borders on monochrome. They outfitted the seating area with custom made cushions from Calico Corners, which were covered in an enduring and subtly patterned Kravet Crypton fabric that would play off of the similarly made-to-order suede bolster pillows that mimic the tubular effect of the walls.
Walls covered in… pipes?
Speaking of the walls, they were inspired by cafés in Australia, where Lee spotted wooden dowels as a wall covering. She was determined to recreate the effect at home. The problem? It cost a fortune.
Luckily, “a friend of mine, who is a building genius, suggested I use PVC,” she says. “He talked me through how he would do it, so I pulled my brother in for reinforcement and we got to work!” Seventy-five pieces of four-inch PVC pipes (and a whole lot of effort) later, the lounge was complete. It was an ordeal, but one that was well worth it, Lee says.
Lee wished for a house that inspired, all the while remaining refuge from the everyday, and it’s safe to say she accomplished just that.
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