The project is a two-building-vacation rental in Pioneertown/CA. The main building in a modern ranch house style was remodeled in 2019 and the Casita (guesthouse) with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths was added in 2022. The Casita was done in a contemporary Scandinavian style with an all-shingles facade. The owners are architects and designers who created the project as a showcase house and an investment property (Airbnb rental).

Project Name-The Modern Wolfden Casita
Studio Name-Wolfgang Pichler Design
Project size-  975 ft2
Site size – 108900ft2
Project Budget –  USD 300,000.00
Completion date- 2022
Buidling levels – 1
Location-Pioneertown, California, United States
Photographer- June Choi

The Modern Wolfden Casita by Wolfgang Pichler Design - Sheet5
©June Choi

Background Story of The Modern Wolfden (main building on the property):

The Mojave Desert has become a weekend retreat for busy Californians with Joshua Tree being the brand name for the coveted region. Once you pass the Low Desert, Palm Springs and all its neighboring cities, you get to the High Desert with its charming small towns like Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree and Twenty-Nine Palms. They have become a magnet for bohemian, funky and artsy people who are looking for a getaway from the city, an escape promising spiritual bonds and slower-paced pleasures.

About 5 miles north of 29 Palms Highway you find yourself in another world. Pioneertown is a secluded town defined by the beauty of its barren landscape, gigantic boulders, striking Joshua trees, and charming Wild West architecture. And it’s the home of Pappy & and Harriet’s, one of the most famous restaurants and music venues in the desert. Once you have entered the area, you fall under the spell of the magic landscape and the epic blue sky that hits you like a hammer. When Austrian architect Wolfgang Pichler and his wife Connie first visited the High Desert in 2017, they were mesmerized. Although they were still living in Austria, they fell so much for the area that they decided to buy a property. The building was basically a dump filled with flea-bitten furniture and trash, but they liked the neighborhood, and it was a house in California after all. Within a couple of days, they made a deposit and commenced the process of purchasing land at the other side of the world. A couple of months later the whole family including two daughters moved to LA. The adventure of building a life in the States began.

The Modern Wolfden Casita by Wolfgang Pichler Design - Sheet6
©June Choi

One of Wolfgang and Connie’s first projects was the remodel of the desert house. After about six months, the new house had turned into a stunning showcase of the couple’s work but also a part-time home and an Airbnb rental. Influenced by famous Mid-Century architects like Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, who were also Austrians and definitely characterized Californian architecture, the couple had built a compact structure which allowed uninterrupted views of the scenery outside. The two-bedroom and two-and-a-half-bathroom structure is characterized by floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors. The design-couple used to own their own outdoor furniture company in Europe and focuses on blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Rather than imposing themselves on natural environments or neighborhoods, their buildings aim to blend in and become part of the picture. The focus was to co-exist with the desert, understand its rhythm and watch its inhabitants, like families of quails and hares, coyotes, and flocks of different birds.

Although the house is very modern, which is still somewhat unusual for the rustic area, it is designed as a ranch house and the materials reflect the natural environment. The architects and designers blurred the lines between indoors and outdoors by adding a massive outdoor space that becomes a dynamic extension of the rather small house that only covers 1,200 square feet. When you’re inside, you definitely note what is outside. Hence, the house gets its personality, and an abundance of sunlight, from its connection to its natural environment and the full-height openings that fill the house with sunlight all day long.

The Modern Wolfden Casita by Wolfgang Pichler Design - Sheet8
©June Choi

All the aesthetic choices were directed by the design couple who both grew up in country houses in rural Austria. It was important to them that the house is modern and pure, but not soulless. Coziness and Hygge (Swedish word for spending a comfortable, relaxing time with people) are key factors of Wolfgang and Connie’s homes. People need to feel welcome and at home, even if they are just guests for a couple of hours or days. There is a genuine balance of materials, proportions, colors, and lines, which creates inner calmness and happiness. You cannot explain it, but you feel it. Although the interior and exterior seem effortless, there is masterplan behind every little detail.

The Austrian couple is a huge fan of outdoor living so that they created a high-end outdoor space that takes advantage of a rural setting with features such as a fire pit, different cowboy tubs, a hot tub, an outdoor shower, hammocks, outdoor dining areas, and clever lighting solutions. The property offers different spaces to gather, sit, lie, retreat, sleep, chat, play or gaze at the stars. The abundance of desert flora surrounding the house, was additionally complemented by different cacti fields.

By merging the attractive informality of Californian living with exclusive international design, Connie and Wolfgang created a place in which they could relax, entertain, work and flourish. State-of-the-art furniture, technology and eco-friendly facilities turn their home into a haven for themselves, friends and like-minded people who love the desert. Today The Modern Wolfden is one of the most successful rentals in the High Desert, due to its unique combo of prime contemporary architecture and design.

The Modern Wolfden Casita by Wolfgang Pichler Design - Sheet9
©June Choi

The Casita (opened in June 2022) is a new structure of 976 square-feet with the same approach. Two stylish big bedrooms with slider doors and big window openings, en-suite bathrooms with plastered walls, and an exquisite kitchen/dining/ living room space that offers everything that visitors need. The minimalist yet cozy vibe welcomes you to lean back and relax. You immediately feel at home, although you are far from home.

The landscape architecture continues the authentic concept of the main building. Desert plants meet succulents, cacti, and olive trees. Less is more and native is king. Two additional cowboy tubs were added and positioned underneath a big Joshua Tree, to be part of the unique setting. You can soak while watching one-of-a-kind sunsets and night skies.


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