Wolfgang Pichler Design

The Modern Wolfden
Project Year: 2019
Location: Pioneertown/ Mojave Desert
Scope of work: Major remodel/ Interior Design/ Exterior Design/ Landscape Design
House size: 1,200 sq.ft./ 2 bedrooms/ 2.5 baths

The Modern Wolfden was our first case study model home in California. We purchased the 2.5 acre- property in 2017 and the structure standing on it was not much more than an old, neglected building full of trash and broken furniture. The past homeowners had buried most of the original architecture in an unprofessional and cheap way and changed the floorplan multiple times, so we had to bring it to studs, due to the horrific condition of all the materials and the work done. Yet, we also had the chance to create something new that would live up to our style and standard. Influenced by famous Mid-Century architects like Neutra and Schindler, who were also Austrians and definitely characterized Californian architecture, our vision was to build a compact structure which would afford uninterrupted views of the scenery outside in order to understand the desert itself and to co- exist with its rhythm and inhabitants.

The two-bedroom and two-and-a-half-bathroom structure is characterized by floor-to-ceiling sliding windows and furnishings that are a mix of Wolfgang’s own designs, individual pieces collected all over the world and art that reflects the spirit of Western movies and classic movies in general. We used to own our own outdoor furniture company in Europe and are used to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Rather than imposing ourselves on natural environments or neighborhoods, we aim to blend in and become part of the picture. Although the house is very modern, which is still somewhat unusual for the rustic area, our house is not a foreign element as we stuck to the original house form and only used authentic materials. We tried to spill the interior into the outdoors in order to enhance the emphasis of a holistic living. Accordingly, the house that only covers 1,200 sq.ft., seems to be so much bigger than it actually is. The concrete tiles of the living area continue on the front patio as well as the back patio, before they merge into a huge concrete terrace, which gives it a monolithic look. It is really hard to distinguish the outdoors from the indoor living space. Hence, the house gets its personality, and an abundance of sunlight from its connection to its natural environment and the full-height openings that flood the house with light all day long.

We who both grew up in country houses in rural Austria, filled with different kinds of European, traditional art and hand-crafted furniture, which reflects in our choice of furnishings and decoration. It was important to us that the house is modern and pure but not soulless, that everybody can really feel at home, even if they are just guests for a couple of days. Although the place is kind of remote, it does provide all the benefits of modern living and technology. Additionally, we included artsy surfaces like a golden wall in the powder-room or an indoor/outdoor window seat, embellished with colors mixed from the soil of the property. For outdoor bliss there is a hot-tub, a cowboy tub, an outdoor shower, a firepit and of course a barbecue. Hiking paths and step mountains are just around the corner. Our property offers different spaces to gather, retreat, lie, sleep, sit, chat, play or gaze at the stars. Some European design classic also made it over the ocean and are spread over the site. We complemented the abundance of desert flora surrounding the house with different cacti fields as we are huge fans. Every one of the more than 100 cacti was planted by hand and supplied with an irrigation system. By merging the attractive informality of Californian living with exclusive international design, we accomplished to create a balanced, thriving space that exists in communion with its environment. The project is all about natural light, authentic materials, as well as minimalist and purposeful furnishings, with key pieces that reflect our personalities and workstyle. Today The Modern Wolfden is an effortless cool showcase of European architecture, a part-time home and also an Airbnb rental.

It has been an awesome creative journey and we loved every part of it.