Synergetic Design in Joshua Tree
By Hailey Bethke | Photography courtesy of Le Chacuel
Situated in the heart of California’s Yucca Valley, just minutes from Joshua Tree National Park, lies Le Chacuel. This desert refuge celebrates timeless luxury by honoring the past—the property was formerly home to a deteriorating ranch-style house from the 1980s—as well as its transformation into a chic vacation getaway by designer Mila Morris.
The home features three bedrooms, a spacious living and kitchen area, and an outdoor entertainment space with a sleek infinity pool and seating that overlooks the expansive desert scenery. The property is remote and gated for ultimate privacy, yet it’s fully stocked with luxury amenities to delight the modern traveler. Morris and Maaryn also offer add-on services like private chef dinners, airport transfers, fridge stocking, excursion planning, and massages to customize your stay.
“I believe that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” Morris remarks. “However, I also believe in incorporating elements of surprise and delight that can elevate a space beyond its basic function. Building this house was a particularly exciting project for me, as it allowed me to bring all my skills and experience to create a space that reflects my vision and values and those of my team.”
What sets Le Chacuel apart from other luxurious, short-term rental properties is that Morris and Maaryn designed and built nearly every element of the home themselves. “I have always been drawn to the idea of creating unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that are tailored specifically to the spaces they occupy. I find that designing and building something from scratch allows for a greater degree of creativity and personalization than simply purchasing premade pieces,” Morris says. “We also wanted to work with natural materials and incorporate sustainable design principles into the project. By sourcing materials locally and designing pieces built to last, we were able to create a space that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally responsible.”
The custom-build route, however, certainly has its challenges. One of the biggest hurdles was finding skilled workers familiar with unique building techniques and natural materials—and not afraid to stray outside of the traditional building process. Although finding local workers was an evident struggle, Morris and Maaryn were committed to their vision and decided to train workers on the job.
I have always been drawn to the idea of creating unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that are tailored specifically to the spaces they occupy.
“When you’re working on a project or facing a challenge, it can be easy to get tunnel vision and feel like you have to do everything yourself,” she explains. “However, I think it’s important to remember that collaboration and communication can be incredibly powerful tools. By seeking advice and input from others, you gain new insights and ideas that can help you overcome challenges more effectively. And by working with others to find solutions, you may also build stronger relationships and create a sense of shared ownership and accountability for the project or situation at hand. In our case, such challenges helped us grow and learn as a team while creating a truly one-of-a-kind space.”
The people you surround yourself with are important beyond measure. At Le Chacuel, a synergetic team united under the same vision was crucial to the success of the build. “From conception to completion, the process involved a lot of collaboration and iteration as we worked to refine each design element to ensure that it was both practical and visually appealing,” Morris says. “Overall, I feel this was the right choice, as it allowed us to create a space that truly reflects our vision and values. It was a lot of work, but it was also a labor of love. I am proud of what we were able to achieve.”
Le Chacuel was inspired by nature, which is evident by how the spaces invite the outdoors inward. Morris says her favorite element of the home is the outdoor shower. “The water pressure is just right, and the temperature is always perfect, making it easy to let go of stress and tension,” she muses. “Plus, the views of the surrounding landscape from the shower are absolutely breathtaking, which adds to the overall sense of tranquility and peace.” Moreover, the stand-alone “Canyon House” is a one-bedroom casita that effortlessly complements the desert vista thanks to its minimalist design. The guest home was featured on the cover of the Italian edition of Architectural Digest and is perfect for those looking for more privacy and restoration in a group setting.
From conception to completion, the process involved a lot of collaboration and iteration as we worked to refine each design element to ensure that it was both practical and visually appealing.
From organic aesthetics to the natural beauty that emanates from the surrounding landscape, Le Chacuel is a whimsical desert haven for creatives. Every corner of the home offers a fresh perspective and Instagram-worthy shot. Even daily tasks like washing the dishes and sipping morning coffee are made magical under desert sunsets and sunrises. Plus, Joshua Tree is widely recognized for its vibrant artist community, outdoor immersion experiences, and star-speckled skies—a delight for the senses.
“When I designed Le Chacuel, one of my main goals was to create a space that felt like a sanctuary—a place where people could come to escape the stresses of daily life and experience a sense of peace and relaxation,” Morris emphasizes. “We hope that guests will appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of the space and be inspired by the natural surroundings. We encourage guests to take advantage of all the amenities and activities the property offers: hiking and exploring the surrounding landscape, relaxing in the outdoor hot tub, or taking in the views from the deck. Ultimately, we want people to feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and inspired. And, we hope that the experience will stay with them long after they leave.”
To book your stay, head to LeChacuel.com for more details. We’ll see you in Joshua Tree!