It all started with a vacation in Yucca Valley in 2017. Connie and Wolfgang had planned to explore the region around Joshua Tree National Park before going to San Diego and Los Angeles to spend the rest of the summer. They still lived in Austria then.
Just for fun, they got in touch with a realtor to see some properties and get a better idea about what was available. The next day they met with Paul, the realtor, who already showed them around various parts of Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree and Pioneertown. The more they immersed into the desert vibe, the landscape and the real estate opportunities, the more they fell in love with the discreet beauty of the barren landscape. They mostly looked at land parcels filled with massive boulders, Joshua trees and spectacular views, but in the end Paul suggested to look at a property with an old house, kind of a mid-century ranch, but rather neglected and maltreated in terms of architecture by the former owners. He mentioned that he did not think that this was what they were looking for, but why not give it a try?
When they pulled up to the 2.5 acre piece of land with a “sad” structure lacking character and style, the couple was underwhelmed and not sure what to make of the building. When entering, the overall impression deteriorated. It was basically a wreck filled with old, ugly furniture and trash and a particularly unpleasant smell. You could see that the house had been abandoned for a while and everything that had happened before was not based on high-quality living. The past homeowners had buried most of the original architecture in a very unprofessional and cheap way and changed the floorpan multiple times. The worst was the smell though. However, after some time, there was something in Wolfgang’s eyes that Connie knew very well, because she had seen it a couple of times before. He started to visualize the place and saw what they could create with the given potential like they had done it so many times before.
After a few visits within the next days and intensive brainstorming, the couple decided to take the challenge and buy the property. They already knew then that they would need to bring it to studs because of the very bad condition of all the materials and the work done, which, on the other hand, also meant that they had the chance to create something new that would live up to their style and standard. Just before they left their vacation rental, they signed the contracts and shook hands on the deal. The only challenge left was to move to the States.
Months later, when they had settled in in LA, the desert adventure could begin. First, they determined to pare back the space to its original simplicity and highlight the mid-century charm that used to define it. They had people dismantle plank by plank until everything that had actually downgraded the house was gone. A perfect starting point for the new vision: molding the space into a timeless desert abode filled with soul to celebrate the indoor/ outdoor lifestyle. The overall idea was to create useful indoor and outdoor spaces in which they could relax, entertain, work and flourish. All that should be complemented with state-of-the-art furniture, technology and eco-friendly facilities for themselves, friends and like-minded people who love the desert.
Now, after a remodeling period of about six months, the final result, The Modern Wolf Den, is not only an effortless cool showcase of the couple’s work but also a part-time home and an Airbnb rental. By merging the attractive informality of Californian living with exclusive international design, Connie and Wolfgang have created a balanced, thriving space that exists in communion with its environment. It is all about natural light, natural materials, as well as minimalist and purposeful furnishings, with key pieces that showcase the couple’s personality.
“We love to blur the lines. Rather than imposing ourselves on natural environments or neighborhoods, we always try to blend in and become part of the picture. The desert has been here for millions of years without us. We are just visitors. We need to respect it and add structures that do no harm. By making people aware that the nature around them is actually extended living space, we can make them care more for nature in general,” says the couple. Feel free to visit and get inspired by The Modern Wolf Den and the couple’s unique lifestyle. It’s the perfect place to re-energize.