Desert Dream: John Elgin Woolf’s Mid-Century Desert Retreat

A legendary architect enjoys a romantic renaissance thanks to the Palos Verdes Art Center.

The Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) knows a thing or two about legendary home design. Not only are they currently featuring an exhibition on famed Hollywood Regency designer and architect John Elgin Woolf, but they happen to be giving away one of his amazing homes as part of their annual Dream House Raffle. This year they set their sights on Palm Desert and reveal a vacation home so tempting, it just might be a mid-century mirage.

With impeccable grounds, lush fairways and stunning views of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains, the Marrakesh Country Club is one of the most desirable gated communities in the desert. Nestled in the compound is this sumptuously appointed home designed by Woolf, dubbed “The Architect to the Stars” for his 1960s luxury style that perfectly blended classic French and Greek Revival design with modernist touches.

The two-bedroom, two-bath desert retreat has been meticulously updated by Hadrien Coumans, creative director of Bureau de Decoration. Bright, airy and artfully tasteful, the space is full of masterful touches.

The living room features James Mont chairs and lamps, a Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist sofa, a German modern mosaic table, a checkerboard treatment on the floor and a colorful mural by PVAC’s own Joe Baker. True to its Moroccan roots, the kitchen is lined with patterned tiles in a playful mosaic. Michael Epps photography and Billy Haines décor pepper the house, with a section of dramatic wallpapers in both bathrooms. Living spaces open to courtyards, patios and perfectly manicured gardens.

Imagine yourself entertaining in this exquisite home? PVAC will continue to sell $150 raffle tickets through May 15, and only 25,000 will be sold. The drawing will be held at the center on May 29 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds from the raffle help fund the center’s exhibitions and educational programs. For tickets and information, visit

If you’d like to view more of John Elgin Woolf’s design work, the exhibition at PVAC will run until May 29. 5504 West Crestridge Road, Rancho Palos Verdes

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