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Borrego Springs: McKenzie Residence

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This spring, I had the chance to visit the tiny town of Borrego Springs in the middle of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego County, California. I was so taken with the place and its stunning mid-century design that I wanted to bring what I learned, and some of the people who taught it to me, to Dwell on Design. On Sunday, as part of an hour of programming about design in the desert, architectural historian Bill Lawrence and architect Trace Wilson took the stage to describe the place that means so much to them. In the course of their presentation, they showed a number of photos by an artist with a strong connection to Borrego Springs, Judy Parker. I want to share a handful of photos Parker took of one of the most inspiring houses I saw in Borrego, the McKenzie residence.

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  When I visited the McKenzie residence for a party it was approaching dusk. The entryway, which is separated from the main house by a stripe of a swimming pool, blocks the glassed-in house from the street. But here you get a glimpse in with the mountain looming in the background.
    When I visited the McKenzie residence for a party it was approaching dusk. The entryway, which is separated from the main house by a stripe of a swimming pool, blocks the glassed-in house from the street. But here you get a glimpse in with the mountain looming in the background.
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  Here's what you see from the road: a long white wall that pretty much blocks the house off from the streetscape.  Courtesy of: Gertrude&Mabel    Photographaphy
    Here's what you see from the road: a long white wall that pretty much blocks the house off from the streetscape.

    Courtesy of: Gertrude&Mabel Photographaphy

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  This photo is taken standing perpendicular to the pool. The whole house is maybe the grooviest party pad I've seen, and it was built in the late 70s to be just that. A pool, considering the use of the place and the climate, is a must.
    This photo is taken standing perpendicular to the pool. The whole house is maybe the grooviest party pad I've seen, and it was built in the late 70s to be just that. A pool, considering the use of the place and the climate, is a must.
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  Here you can see the carport just on the other side of the exterior wall.
    Here you can see the carport just on the other side of the exterior wall.
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  Even though you're hunkered down in the courtyard, views of the Anza-Borrego mountains are still plentiful.
    Even though you're hunkered down in the courtyard, views of the Anza-Borrego mountains are still plentiful.
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  Once you step in through the large sliding door you're in the living room and kitchen. The current owners of the home (they're just the second) are massive mid-century design fans. The lady of the house, Stacey, has managed to collect and source much of her pottery and furniture in the San Diego area.
    Once you step in through the large sliding door you're in the living room and kitchen. The current owners of the home (they're just the second) are massive mid-century design fans. The lady of the house, Stacey, has managed to collect and source much of her pottery and furniture in the San Diego area.
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  Two corridors run down either side of the house. Bathrooms are at either end, bedrooms before them, and the central living space in the middle. The house is just a long rectangle with circulation running down both sides. The beds are up on knee-high platforms. Here you can see a Wire chair from Warren Platner's Lounge Collection for Knoll down at the end of one hall.
    Two corridors run down either side of the house. Bathrooms are at either end, bedrooms before them, and the central living space in the middle. The house is just a long rectangle with circulation running down both sides. The beds are up on knee-high platforms. Here you can see a Wire chair from Warren Platner's Lounge Collection for Knoll down at the end of one hall.
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  Vases, pottery, and art objects line the built-in cabinets that run down either side of the house.
    Vases, pottery, and art objects line the built-in cabinets that run down either side of the house.
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  Off of one bathroom there's a small desk and library. On the other side of the house the space is taken up by a washer and dryer.
    Off of one bathroom there's a small desk and library. On the other side of the house the space is taken up by a washer and dryer.
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  Here's a Platner chair again at the end of the hall. To the left you can see the two steps up to the sleeping platform. Though there are screens that can divide the rooms, the house works best when it feels like a stage. The couple who own the home adore throwing parties and the space has a charming sense of mischief when it feels that a trip down the hall could mean happening upon a tryst.
    Here's a Platner chair again at the end of the hall. To the left you can see the two steps up to the sleeping platform. Though there are screens that can divide the rooms, the house works best when it feels like a stage. The couple who own the home adore throwing parties and the space has a charming sense of mischief when it feels that a trip down the hall could mean happening upon a tryst.
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  Here's the dining table that sits front and center. The mid-century vibe is very strong in this house despite its late 70s design. The dark wood certainly helps that. The whole place feels like a groovy fantasia in teak.
    Here's the dining table that sits front and center. The mid-century vibe is very strong in this house despite its late 70s design. The dark wood certainly helps that. The whole place feels like a groovy fantasia in teak.
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  Here's Doug, the man of the house, fixing something in the kitchen. As you can tell, the sightlines down either hall give the house a more expansive feel than its footprint might suggest.
    Here's Doug, the man of the house, fixing something in the kitchen. As you can tell, the sightlines down either hall give the house a more expansive feel than its footprint might suggest.
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  Doug and Stacey were excellent hosts when I visited. I undoubtedly noshed on some cheese—or more likely a greyhound made with Borrego-grown grapefruits—from a platter on that counter. The tiles are by Heath Ceramics.
    Doug and Stacey were excellent hosts when I visited. I undoubtedly noshed on some cheese—or more likely a greyhound made with Borrego-grown grapefruits—from a platter on that counter. The tiles are by Heath Ceramics.
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  Here's a full-on view of the kitchen and dining space. I love the clock on the wall at left.
    Here's a full-on view of the kitchen and dining space. I love the clock on the wall at left.
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  A comely trio of Dansk candle holders.
    A comely trio of Dansk candle holders.
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  Finally, here's a shot of the house from the other side. It looks out on a golf course, and the mountains and desert beyond.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    Finally, here's a shot of the house from the other side. It looks out on a golf course, and the mountains and desert beyond.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

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