An immaculately appointed house near Joshua Tree offers a place to sleep and shop
Written by ANH-MINH LE
Photography by CARLOS NAUDE
With their latest project, a pueblo-like abode in Pioneertown, Whitney Brown and Carlos Naude of 2-year-old multidisciplinary creative studio Working Holiday have brought a global sensibility to the desert. Fusing Scandinavian, Mexican and Mediterranean influences, the husband-and-wife team’s two-bedroom Airbnb rental and design showroom Casa Mami takes immersive shopping to a new level. And while some retailers—such as The Apartment by The Line in Los Angeles and Casa Perfect in Beverly Hills—feature spaces intended to make guests feel like they’re at home, Casa Mami invites them to actually make themselves at home.
The couple has long wanted to merge hospitality with great design that is shoppable. “Every time I go to a hotel, I think, ‘Oh, these sheets are amazing but impossible to find,’ or ‘I like this light fixture—I wonder where they got it,’” explains Naude. After relocating to L.A. from New York in 2017, he and Brown (who has traveled the world as a model and co-founded the lingerie brand Valentine NYC), moved forward with their idea, honing in on a solar-powered 876-square-foot house set on 5 acres near Joshua Tree National Park.
The pair partnered with a who’s who of independent furniture makers to source fixtures and furnishings that align with their own modern aesthetic. In the living room, a gray Marcel Wanders-designed Moooi sofa and a cylinder-back plywood Waka Waka armchair are joined by a terrazzo-topped Fish and Pink coffee table with a mustard-hued base. High-impact accents, including a monochromatic yellow hallway inspired by Mexican architect Luis Barragán’s bold use of color, punctuate an otherwise subdued palette.
About 80 percent of the items at Casa Mami, right down to the matte black Emtek doorknobs, can be purchased through its website. “It serves as a proof of concept to eventually develop a hotel,” Naude says of their grander ambitions. “There’s nothing like experiencing and testing out the products for yourself. What’s better than living with it and in it?” From $250/night.
This story originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of C magazine.