OverviewThe Wheelhouse is an artistic high-desert retreat formerly owned by TV personality Huell Howser.
Please note: The firepit and Jacuzzi are currently not operational. Contact a villa specialist for more information.
A rare example of mid-century modern architecture deep in the California desert, the 2,221 square-foot ranch sits on 12 acres of untouched desert near both entrances of Joshua Tree National Park, offering a feeling of total seclusion less than an hour from Palm Springs with 360-degree mountain and desert views.
Built in 1952, the home features an indoor/outdoor layout that provides an ideal setting for weddings, private events and creative retreats, with multiple seating areas for catering, receptions or small-groups. When Howser, an icon of California history and culture, bought the home in the 1990s, he sought to create a communal, creative environment that has endured through every element.
An avid collector of found materials and repurposed objects, Howser turned quarry stones into yard sculptures and industrial elements into lighting fixtures. Five large millstones, each more than 100 years old, surround the full-length backyard pool, giving the home its name. In the early 2000s, Howser added a sunroom extension, created by panels of etched glass, and a separate living room and dining area in the same industrial style, making the home further suited to large gatherings.
Now owned by an artist, The Wheelhouse has preserved the industrial qualities that Howser introduced, while incorporating personally created pieces that mirror his style. The light-filled living room, features three owner-created pieces, including a triptych on plywood, a unique wood-based tripod lamp, and a sunset-hued tree light.
The gourmet kitchen features a four-seat breakfast nook, stainless steel appliances, the original 50’s stove and plenty of counter space, with a door leading directly outside for easy al fresco dinners. A mid-century dining area features a marble top table with six Eames shell chairs and sliding glass doors that open onto the zero-scaped patio.
Outside are the elements that truly set the home apart. Howser’s industrial accents remain decades after installation, creating the feeling of a modern sculpture garden. An architect designed paneled steel fence surrounds the perimeter, each piece thoughtfully laid in the ground at the same angle as the mountains beyond. The back patio opens to a full-length swimming pool with baja tanning shelf and outdoor spa surrounded by chaise lounge chairs. Please note the pool is not heated; however, the spa is heated. A vintage two-seat swing, nestled just off the living area, offers the perfect place to take in the views. Also outside is a 12-seat al fresco dining area, which converts into a ping-pong table. A gas BBQ grill and indoor/outdoor stereo system complete the ultimate desert entertaining experience.
Honoring the communal spirit encouraged by Howser, The Wheelhouse has become a place for celebrations, gatherings, and creative retreats. Artists have used the home to write, draw, meditate or practice yoga. Photographers have used the space for creative shoots. And couples have made the retreat their own, taking their vows against the rocky cliffs and desert brush that surround the home. Between indoor and outdoor spaces, The Wheelhouse can comfortably host up to 120 guests for a cocktail reception and 75 for a seated dinner.
- Two spacious bedrooms create an indoor/outdoor feeling with big picture windows, sliding glass doors and minimalist decor.
- Master Suite: King bed, chaise-style daybed, which comfortably sleeps one additional person and an en-suite bath features a unique sink made of an old street lamp glass.
- Second Bedroom: Queen bed with picture windows and a shared bath with the original 50’s green tile and fixtures.
- A den, featuring a large-screen TV and writing desk, provides additional accommodations with a queen sleeper sofa, allowing the home to comfortably sleep 7 guests.
- 2 family bathrooms
- Air conditioning
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Outdoor grill
- Outdoor stereo system
- Ping pong table
- Terrace with outdoor furniture
- Washer / dryer
- Hot tub
- Pets are permitted for an additional fee.
Additional Villa Notes
- All bookings at this property are non-refundable. Please ask your villa specialist about Travel Insurance.
- Bedding details should be taken as a guide. Owners can make changes from time to time so please inquire for the latest bedding details and options.
- For any reservation with dates falling within the Sundance Film Festival, a refundable security deposit (amount to be determined at the time of booking) will be charged to a valid credit card upon check-in.