A Dome In The Desert

A Quirky Structure Is Transformed Into a Fun & Comfortable Vacation Home

A Dome in the Desert | Interior Design by Kathrin and Brian Smirke of We Are In Our Element | Photography by Brian Smirke | Exterior | Bohemian Exterior | Dome House | Desert Home
Photo by:
Brian Smirke
03/08/2017

It’s been a long winter in Maine; lots of snow and more gray skies than usual. Although I love living in this beautiful corner of the country, about this time each year I start to dream of vacation destinations, particularly those that are a departure from my current surroundings. This zen-like vacation home in Joshua Tree is the perfect antidote for my spring fever. Designed by Brian and Kathrin Smirke of We Are In Our Element, the best news is that it is available for rent on Airbnb.

You might remember Brian and Kathrin from a previous feature, A Cool Cabin in the Desert, which was the second vacation home they developed in Joshua Tree. Both of these homes demonstrate that the Smirkes have many talents. They explain their creative journey this way:

“We have always had a deep seated desire to create – Kathrin, moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting, and Brian, relocating shortly after graduating college to pursue a music writing career. Of course, as with any journey, our path wasn’t pre-determined and diverging from our original intent moved us in different creative directions. Kathrin was founder and creative director of Gypsan, a desert inspired bohemian clothing line for women and Brian is an active full-time real estate developer, designer, and part-time musician.”

Kathrin also has a great visual eye for interior design. Since the 1,000 square foot house was pink, green and pretty rundown when they purchased it, the transformation of the space took all of the Smirkes’ vision, creativity and DIY skills. They blended Craigslist finds with handmade/custom furnishings and a few key pieces from Ikea and Urban Outfitters to forge a unique space full of playful spirit.

For this singular project, “the neutral color palette, open sky, and beautiful sunsets of the desert created the perfect backdrop for a space that was simple, yet embraced numerous design elements including multiple textures and minimal colors. The geometry of this space itself inspired a lot of design choices.”

On 2-1/2 beautiful acres, with two bedrooms and two baths, this dome home is now the perfect escape from reality to a magical place for healing your soul.

Photo by:
Brian Smirke
Photo by:
Brian Smirke
Photo by:
Brian Smirke

A vintage wood stove and mid-century furnishings make the living space cozy and comfortable.

Photo by:
Brian Smirke

To us a Modern Sanctuary is a space that feels organic and is inspired by its natural surroundings.  Kathrin and Brian Smirke

Photo by:
Brian Smirke
Photo by:
Brian Smirke

Whimsical accents like these Tarot and Fortune Telling accessories give the home character and provide fun diversions for its guests.

Photo by:
Brian Smirke

The meditation loft with dreamcatchers and large floor pillows invites you to relax and let your imagination run free.

Photo by:
Brian Smirke

“The natural light makes the space feel expansive and it is particularly enjoyable in the loft area.”

Photo by:
Brian Smirke

Hanging Chair: Urban Outfitters

Photo by:
Brian Smirke

“We love to include found objects mixed with artisanal pieces, as well as making sure everything conforms to some simple design and color choices.”

Daybed: Ikea

Photo by:
Brian Smirke

Kathrin’s creativity is displayed in the update of this traditional desert feature. 

Photo by:
Brian Smirke

There are two king-sized beds in the home, so it’s comfortable for four people, but I think it’s the perfect place for a romantic escape for two.    

A Dome in the Desert | Interior Design by Kathrin and Brian Smirke of We Are In Our Element | Photography by Brian Smirke | Exterior | Bohemian Exterior | Dome House | Desert Home
Photo by:
Brian Smirke

Kathrin and Brian added five skylights in the dome’s ceiling during the renovation. They help the home feel light and airy during the day and provide great stargazing at night.

If you love this home as much as I do, make your travel plans soon because it books up quickly!

Meet the designer Kathrin and Brian Smirke of We Are In Our Element
Bio:

We originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting (Kathrin) and music (Brian), but since that didn’t appear to be a sustainable career choice as we got older, we transitioned into real estate redevelopment. We were involved in home design and remodeling for a number of years in Los Angeles before embarking on our projects in Joshua Tree.

We are currently completing two additional projects in Joshua Tree and have a third project in the San Bernardino mountains. In Joshua Tree, one is a homestead cabin that we are completely redesigning and the other is a new single family home we are building to resell. In the San Bernardino Mountains, we purchased an old cabin that we will eventually rehab as a mountain getaway, only a few hours from Los Angeles.

When we are not working, we tend to want to spend time in nature, away from the city. Although we live in Los Angeles, we are always looking for an excuse to leave the city and visit the desert, mountains, or the ocean.

Copy by
Cynthia Baxter
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