Inspired by the arid beauty of Yucca Valley, Calif., is Oeste, the latest project by Claire Thomas. We first partnered with Thomas with our 2019 Color of the Year campaign and have continued to be inspired by her design creativity. Her latest project, Oeste, provided a blank canvas for Thomas and property owner-partner Yayo Ahumada to showcase their love of the desert and Thomas's vision for the residence. Recently, we spoke to her about this project:
Please describe the Oeste property and how you came to find it and realize its potential? What was it about this property that spoke to you?
Oeste is a desert escape that my dear friend Yayo Ahumada and I teamed up on that’s tucked away on five acres of land in the Yucca Valley — surrounded by amazing wildflowers and boulders. It started out as a very dark, wood-paneled, ’80s ranch with truncated spaces that made the place feel really small but we saw so much potential in it becoming a photoshoot-worthy Airbnb. The location really worked with our vision for the
Please describe the design aesthetic you set out to create.
I have this philosophy that when creating a home, especially one that isn’t your primary residence, it should really transport you. So, when thinking of Oeste, Yayo and I were inspired by our trips to Mexico and Morocco — two places we love for their rich culture and eye-catching colors.
With Yayo’s Mexican heritage and the locale, we leaned into that with the aesthetic. We wanted to create a unique experience in each room, and color played a huge part in that. We have rooms like the pink room and red room that were both designed entirely around the Dunn-Edwards paint colors we chose and that’s what gives each space their own personality. We also used a lot of materials that are important in Mexican design and architecture like terrazzo, which reflects the vision and story behind the home.
Were there any hurdles you encountered along the way?
I can be ambitiously optimistic and have a try-anything attitude, so when I was dreaming up the patio, I pulled inspiration from a rooftop in Marrakesh that had this incredible triangular lounging structure that I thought was so cool. I really wanted to incorporate that here and have non-slip tiles sweep across the patio and onto
the structure, which has one side for sunbathing in the hot desert sun and one for gathering around a
floor-level dining table for a meal and some drinks. When I was talking to the contractors about it, they were totally perplexed but I was able to convince them it would work — even if I did get the math wrong the first go-round.
You used Dunn-Edwards paint and color on this project. Please describe the color palette and what drew you to these colors.
The rooms at Oeste are unique and a lot of that has to do with the colors we chose for each one. It was important that the colors were impactful in telling the story behind the home. We wanted them to relate back to the Mexican and Moroccan inspiration and started with the exterior of the house, which is this beautiful Marrakesh pink called Rose de Mai (DET432).
To differentiate the front room from the rest of the house, which is white, we sought out a soft and very subtle green and ended up going with Limestone (DE6233). The guest room was done in a deeper shade of green called Antique Coin (DE6270), which coordinates perfectly with the agave plants right outside its window. The design in the pink and red rooms were dictated by the paint colors we chose, which were Berry Riche (DE5094) and Arabian Red (DEA155). Our choice for the main suite was Deserted Path (DE5367), inspired by the dried grasses and flowers found on the property during the summertime.
What is the intended use of the property and how has it been received?
Oeste is really a multipurpose, private desert oasis. It’s perfect for a secluded retreat with friends and family, for hosting events, or even as a photoshoot location. It’s thoughtfully designed to transport you, and we could
all use a little escapism right now. I’ve been so thrilled.
What’s next for you? Any future design projects we can look forward to?
I have a number of projects in the works that I’m excited about!
All images courtesy of Claire Thomas