To say 2019 has been an exciting year so far for Joel and Meelena Turkel would be an understatement. After having spent the last two years working on their own family residence, the couple—founders of Turkel Design—have not only completed the home, but it was also recently a Featured Home at Palm Springs Modernism Week. While paying homage to the area’s legacy of midcentury architecture, it is the property’s modern flair, energy efficiency, and prefabricated structure that makes it so unique.
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"When considering the limitations of different prefab solutions, this project wouldn’t have been possible without panelized prefab," explains Joel. "When you panelize and produce componentry, you can virtually create any section and plan as you have a tremendous amount of flexibility," he notes, describing how this option allows for the ideal balance between precision, versatility, and predictability. "With this approach, the only limit is what the clients’ intentions are."
To take advantage of the area’s balmy climate, the couple have designed the 2,110-square-foot house to embrace the indoor/outdoor lifestyle that Palm Springs is so well known for, while enjoying the sprawling San Jacinto mountain range in the distance. One of the ways they’ve fostered this seamless connection is via a "living platform," which features expansive lift-and-slide doors by Marvin.
"The living platform, for me, is my favorite spot in the house and I think it’s probably going to be our family’s favorite spot, too, because it feels so special," states Meelena. "We’ve wanted to include a living platform in one of our projects for well over a decade, but it’s just been a bit of a hard sell for clients. Now, when you see it and you see how the doors just slide into the pockets and it opens up the entire frame of that daybed, I don’t think it’s going to be a hard sell anymore," she jokingly laughs. "I love that our girls have already taken to it, and it makes sense. You’re closer to the sun and fresh air; you’re more central on the site. It just feels right."
Another space the family looks forward to gathering together in is the kitchen. Strategically designed to have minimum visual clutter, the husband-and-wife team tapped Dacor for tasteful, high-tech appliances that would blend effortlessly into the room’s clean, contemporary aesthetic. "We chose Dacor because the design of the appliances is incredibly sophisticated—both in terms of their functionality and appearance. They are not only beautiful, but powerful and precise, with an intuitive interface," explains Meelena. "Also, most of the cabinetry in our kitchen is push-to-open, so it was wonderful to see that the Dacor refrigerator and freezer have that same feature. It made the integration of the appliances into the design seamless."
Sustainability was another factor that maintained high priority within the Axiom Desert House. Built from engineered wood, the home doesn’t use any dimensional lumber and the photovoltaic system will completely power it throughout the year.
Additionally, sleek bedroom ceiling fans by The Modern Fan Co. will assist in cooling the residence from the desert heat, allowing the family to keep the doors and windows open while reducing the need for air conditioning. "The fans in the house are all about trying to eliminate the energy usage, and just like with the appliances, we really wanted them to be whisper-quiet so Modern Fan was a natural fit for us," notes Joel.
Reflecting on all the hard work that has gone into making the Axiom Desert House a reality over the last two years, Meelena concludes: "Joel and I have worked together for a long time, and have worked on a lot of incredible houses for clients—it’s just so special that this one is going to be home."
Read more about the kitchen here!