A Palm Springs Net-Zero Prefab Flaunts an Elegant, Airy Kitchen

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By Kathryn McLamb
Presented by Dacor
Voluminous, versatile, and incredibly chic—the kitchen in the Axiom Desert House has been thoughtfully designed to serve as a multidimensional stage for personal expression and social gatherings.

Having spent over the last decade crafting contemporary prefabricated homes for various clients around the world, the last two years have been especially meaningful for Joel and Meelena Turkel as they’ve been hard at work designing their very own prefab family residence, which was recently featured at Palm Springs Modernism Week. 

For over a decade, Joel and Meelena Turkel of Turkel Design have been "continually evolving the notion of what a home should be—maximizing flexibility and energy efficiency using engineered materials in thoughtfully designed, sustainably conceived living environments." Here is a look inside their latest project, the Axiom Desert House, which will soon be their own family abode.

For over a decade, Joel and Meelena Turkel of Turkel Design have been "continually evolving the notion of what a home should be—maximizing flexibility and energy efficiency using engineered materials in thoughtfully designed, sustainably conceived living environments." Here is a look inside their latest project, the Axiom Desert House, which will soon be their own family abode.

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Given that this would be the first time the couple—founders of the acclaimed firm Turkel Design—would actually reside in one of their completed projects, the dynamic duo used what will soon be their net-zero home as a "living lab" throughout the entire design, building, and delivery process to illustrate the countless benefits of prefab construction. 

"Typically, when you hear the word ‘prefab,’ people often think: cheap, fast, easy," explains Meelena. "While that can be true, it’s not true for all of prefab. We use prefab for a number of reasons but the main three are to control cost, quality, and timing." 

Throughout the entire design, building, and delivery process, the 2,110-square-foot home served as a "living lab" for both Joel and Meelena, as well as for their team, clients, and hundreds of other guests who visited the home during Palm Springs Modernism Week. "We came here to learn from the Valley, while also to share ideas and have a dialogue with people that are interested," explains Joel. "This house has provided us with that unique opportunity."

Throughout the entire design, building, and delivery process, the 2,110-square-foot home served as a "living lab" for both Joel and Meelena, as well as for their team, clients, and hundreds of other guests who visited the home during Palm Springs Modernism Week. "We came here to learn from the Valley, while also to share ideas and have a dialogue with people that are interested," explains Joel. "This house has provided us with that unique opportunity."

As with the majority of their projects, panelized prefab was used for the design of this property, which the couple have named the Axiom Desert House. "When you panelize and produce componentry, you can virtually create any section and plan as you have a tremendous amount of flexibility," states Joel. "So for us, this option allowed the perfect balance between precision, predictability, and flexibility." 

To complement the sleek, clean aesthetic of the kitchen, Joel and Meelena heavily relied on Dacor for appliances. "One of the great things about working with Dacor is how they transform really high-quality kitchen equipment into casework—and as an architect, that’s really exciting," Joel adds.

To complement the sleek, clean aesthetic of the kitchen, Joel and Meelena heavily relied on Dacor for appliances. "One of the great things about working with Dacor is how they transform really high-quality kitchen equipment into casework—and as an architect, that’s really exciting," Joel adds.

With two young children in tow, Joel and Meelena wanted much of the 2,110-square-foot abode to be dedicated to the living spaces—specifically the kitchen—while also incorporating a seamless indoor/outdoor connection. "One of our main goals was to create a fun, interactive space that could take on different dimensions, serve multiple functions, and really bring our family together," explains Meelena.

"The Dacor appliances aren’t just beautiful, they’re technologically advanced, too," describes Meelena. "One of my favorite features in the refrigerator is the camera. I really love the idea of being at the grocery store and not having to call Joel to ask what’s in stock. Now, I can just go to my smartphone, pull it up, and a little camera will show me what we have."

"The Dacor appliances aren’t just beautiful, they’re technologically advanced, too," describes Meelena. "One of my favorite features in the refrigerator is the camera. I really love the idea of being at the grocery store and not having to call Joel to ask what’s in stock. Now, I can just go to my smartphone, pull it up, and a little camera will show me what we have."

"Because the kitchen has always been the hub of our home, it was really important for us to find an appliance partner where we would be able to take the appliances and intentionally design them into the space," notes Joel. For them, appliances by Dacor provided just that. "The precision of the Dacor appliances and the way they are purposefully designed to facilitate that kind of architectural thinking was a lot of fun to work with, and I think the results really came out beautifully."

"We made a commitment that we wouldn’t have any fossil fuels in the house, so we knew we wanted an electric range and this was the way to go," Joel explains. "The beauty of the Dacor induction stovetop is that it’s practically instantaneous. It rivals gas in terms of how quickly you get the heat, and the fact that you can wipe the cooktop down immediately is extraordinary."

"We made a commitment that we wouldn’t have any fossil fuels in the house, so we knew we wanted an electric range and this was the way to go," Joel explains. "The beauty of the Dacor induction stovetop is that it’s practically instantaneous. It rivals gas in terms of how quickly you get the heat, and the fact that you can wipe the cooktop down immediately is extraordinary."

"Another feature that drew me to the Dacor product line is the noise level; they are extremely quiet," explains Joel. "And then, of course, the cocktail ice feature—home-run. When I found out I would get regular ice cubes and cocktail ice cubes, I was instantly sold," he jokingly adds. 

On top of seamlessly blending into the design of the room, "one of the great things about the microwave/oven is that it has over 150 preset cooking settings, so you can do all these things like "healthy fry" and dehydrate your food, which I’m excited to start testing out," Meelena adds.

On top of seamlessly blending into the design of the room, "one of the great things about the microwave/oven is that it has over 150 preset cooking settings, so you can do all these things like "healthy fry" and dehydrate your food, which I’m excited to start testing out," Meelena adds.

Now that the Axiom Desert House has been officially completed and revealed, the Turkel Family are gearing up for their big move, and are eager to finally start embracing the Palm Springs lifestyle. "From the learning experience to the joy watching this house come to life," notes Meelena, "I’m really looking forward to having this wonderful big space, with the kitchen being the heart of the home. It’s our own modern oasis."