Axiom Desert House
Featuring the Turkel Design signature post-and-beam construction and an open great room breezing out to a private courtyard, the 2,110-square-foot Axiom Desert House draws from the lifestyle and culture of Palm Springs—seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor living. Once completed in January 2019, it will be a family home for founders Joel and Meelena Turkel, as well as a Living/Learning Lab for Turkel Design and our partners.
Axiom Desert House has been designed to exist as a hybrid of learning, living, and collaboration, a story we have been telling from start to finish on our social media channels throughout 2018—breaking down the process Turkel Design has refined as a practice over the past decade. Join the TD Community to see the project come together, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for continuous updates.
Process Breakdown – Step by Step
Once we chose our site for Axiom Desert House, we began the necessary regulatory research, which we translated into representative visuals—something we do for our clients on every project.The first step is to create a 3D digital site model—helping our clients visualize their project and consider any site-specific factors.
Using a digital 3D model, we created an exterior siding and cladding visualization study—looking at the house with three possible siding/cladding options. Because of the hot, dry Palm Springs summers, the best choice for the exterior facade is a combination of stucco, concrete block, and thermally modified wood.
Our weather-tight shells are precision-fabricated in a stabilized factory setting—unaffected by varying weather conditions. While the package was built in the factory, a local contractor laid the foundation on-site—a more efficient use of time and resources.
When the foundation was ready, the weather-tight shell was stacked onto a truck and delivered to the site as flat-packed panels. An experienced crew began unloading and preparing assembly—much faster and with more precision than conventional construction allows.
The panels—fastened to the concrete slab with seismic hold downs—are made with laminated strand lumber (LSL) instead of dimensional lumber, an engineered-wood product that transforms scrap wood into solid wooden members. Designed for weather resistance, it is a lot stronger and more dimensionally stable than traditional framing materials—making it less likely to warp or split.
We worked with British Columbia Timber Frame to source our Douglas fir glulam beams—using Select Structural, the highest grade of local Douglas fir timber known for its beauty, structural integrity, and fewer and smaller knots. Our beams are custom-tapered and surfaced with solid, edge-glued, finger-jointed, vertical grain, old-growth fir—achieving an exquisite furniture-grade beam. See our crew carefully placing the beams onto the prefab shell.
Windows play an integral role in Turkel Design homes, and the Marvin Clad Ultimate Series from our Axiom Desert House partner Marvin Windows and Doors—shown here being installed on-site in Palm Springs earlier this year—creates a seamless connection between living spaces and outdoor areas, framing mountain views while letting fresh air and natural light flow throughout the home.
With the windows from our partner Marvin Windows and Doors installed, Axiom Desert House was ready for the Ultimate Lift and Slide Doors, opening the great room, master and guest bedrooms to the courtyard. These stunning doors play a central role in creating a strong indoor/outdoor connection, effortlessly lifting and sliding into hidden pockets in the walls for dramatic effect—allowing natural light to fill the space. To learn more about our collaborative partnership with Marvin Windows and Doors, click here.
Come on inside Axiom Desert House for a sneak peek at our kitchen, including our custom built-in cabinetry currently being manufactured in our factory. Shown here in walnut—one of the many finishes we offer to our clients—it will feature dovetail-box drawers and a seamless construction. Stay tuned to see what other products we selected to complete the kitchen, including countertops from Corian, appliances from Dacor, faucets from CEA, and counter stools from Fyrn.
We are working with a number of esteemed partners who play an integral role in bringing this house to life. They are each members of our Preferred Vendor Network, which allows us to offer their products to our clients when specifying everything from appliances and hardware to furniture and lighting fixtures.