This Tranquil Home Was Built to Fit Right Into Its Desert Setting

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Who: Stephen Paul and Clarisse Stocker

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Where: Yucca Valley, CA

Style: Desert Minimalist

After years spent camping and backpacking in the Joshua Tree area, photographer Stephen Paul and designer Clarisse Stocker thought it was time to put down some roots and purchase land to build a home there. And in just over a year of construction, the 'Lazy Sunday House' in Yucca Valley was complete.

While building a house from the ground up can often mean you get exactly what you want, they did have to rework some of the initial design to stay within budget. "The office was initially going to be enclosed with glass and black bars," Stephen shares. "The bedrooms were going to have a breezeway to make them more private and cooler in the heat."

The bathroom features double shower heads and marble surfaces.

But, in the end, they didn't have to give up too much of their vision. Clarisse says, "Details in the kitchen and bathrooms like the full backsplash, dual shower heads, and stone were a must."

A piece by Candice Luter adds to the decor which embraces the natural tones and textures of a desert setting.
An end table with dried desert flora sits next to a chair in the living room.
A piece by Candice Luter hangs above wood from Arbor Upcycle that was converted into a floating desk.

The finished result is an open, minimal style with natural surfaces and neutral tones, including two of Stephen's favorite pieces from Arbor Upcycle: a floating desk and another that hangs above a bed as a headboard. "What I love is you can read the story of the where the wood came from with a QR code."

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Another piece from Arbor Recycle hangs above a bed in the guest room.

The open design feels much larger than its 1400 square foot for Stephen, "I describe it as 'little big.' The vaulted ceilings and large windows that lead out into the landscape create that effect."

The open concept living space features a spacious kitchen island, vaulted wood ceilings and large windows that showcase the desert view.

For decor and more, the two looked to brands that are driven by sustainability like Avocado Green Mattress, Public Goods, and Hook and Loom. It was also important for them to work with local artists including Dodie Sy, Candice Luter, Lu France Interiors, and ZZIEE Ceramics.

A vase by ZZIEE Ceramics holds dried flowers on the roomy kitchen island.

The house was designed around an open kitchen including an island that's 'straight out of a dream' for Stephen and Clarisse. "It has every bit of functionality along with aesthetics that we wanted," he says.

Dixie the bunny gets cozy.

For the couple (and bunny Dixie), the 'Lazy Sunday House' wouldn't feel quite like home without a comfy bed and some nice wine glasses. Because in these parts, the best happy hour is in "our backyard."

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Two lounge chairs sit facing the desert view on the patio of 'The Lazy Sunday House'

Locals Know Best:

Clarisse stocks up on their favorite beans from Joshua Tree Coffee.

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As an Emmy Award winning creative director, writer and producer I have worked on content for brands like Disney, BravoTV, TBS, Universal, E! and MTV. But I mostly love rearranging furniture and repotting plants at home.