Bobby Berk’s Desert Hacienda Celebrates Outdoor Living With a High-Tech Deck

The design expert and Emmy-nominated TV host explains why he chose TimberTech over traditional wood for his midcentury oasis near Palm Springs.
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Design expert and Emmy-nominated TV host Bobby Berk is not one to pass up a great opportunity. When one presented itself last summer in the form of a Spanish-style villa for sale just down the street from where he was staying in Palm Desert, California, the Queer Eye star jumped into action.

After a year-long renovation to update and elevate the midcentury residence, Berk presented Casa Tierra as the showcase home during Palm Springs’ Modernism Week 2022—and has begun welcoming his first guests as an Airbnb host

Unlike other composite decking materials, TimberTech products look like real wood without a fake, plastic sheen—and unlike real wood, they resist fading, splintering, and staining.

A refined blend of rustic and modern, European, and Mediterranean, Casa Tierra spills over a dramatic desert landscape and captures cliffside views. Berk added two Timbertech composite decks to encourage outdoor living and entertaining. "The thing I love most about TimberTech is how real it looks," says the designer. "With a lot of composite materials, you can tell they’re not real from a mile away. TimberTech’s product, though, looks like real wood—and to me that’s super important because I want the space to feel as natural as possible."

"Being out in the desert in a super harsh climate, it was important to me to use a product that I didn’t have to worry about literally disintegrating in the sun," says Berk. "And the fact that TimberTech has a lifetime warranty guarantees that I’m not going to have to worry about this product in one year, two years, or even 50 years."

Heat-resistant and slip-resistant, TimberTech creates a safe environment for bare feet or paws. 

While authentic wood may strike some as the more "natural" choice, Berk knew it wouldn’t be best in terms of practicality. "My design process always starts with function—spaces need to function, and materials need to function," he says. "Your deck should be a place of relaxation and fun, not a place of work. With wood, especially in a desert environment, you’ve got to sand it, stain it, and seal it every couple of years. With TimberTech, you install it, and you’re done forever."

"I love the deck’s weathered teak color because it blends into this desert environment," says Berk. "It’s also a very similar aesthetic to what I’m doing in the house, where everything is organic and natural with terra-cotta and light wood. So, it’s a beautiful extension of the indoor/outdoor environments we’re trying to create at Casa Tierra."

TimberTech’s industry-leading designs feature nuanced hues, realistic grain patterns, and innovative finishes that are virtually indistinguishable from real wood. For Casa Tierra, Berk chose a Weathered Teak from the Vintage Collection along with Impression Rail Express Aluminum railing that echoes both the local terrain and the home’s earthy material palette. "One of the things that companies in the past have not really thought of is that connection between indoor and outdoor space," says Berk, "but the colors and textures that Timbertech has created make those spaces much more harmonious."

"One of the things I love most about TimberTech is that they literally take trash and turn it into a beautiful, sustainable product that’s not going to end up back in the landfill in five years," says Berk. 

Drawing inspiration from the desert environs, it was crucial to Berk to choose minimally impactful materials for the renovation. "Sadly, the building industry is one of the most unsustainable on the planet," he says. "To use a product that’s made of recycled materials was important to me because I want to be part of the solution, and not the problem." In 2021, TimberTech diverted 500 million pounds of waste and scrap from landfills thanks to its use of recycled materials, and reused 99 percent of the scrap the company generated.

Eco-friendly, maintenance-free, and aesthetically stunning, TimberTech offers peace of mind and ease of upkeep. "Here at Casa Tierra, we are surrounded by so much beautiful nature from the mountains, the valley, the desert animals—so it really made me think about the products that I was using to renovate the place," adds Berk. "And that’s where TimberTech came in."

See even more of Casa Tierra at bobbyberk.com.

Learn more about composite decking and order samples at timbertech.com

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