This Weekend Retreat Is Actually Five Candy-Colored Tiny Houses

An exercise in letting go—that’s how the designer Leah Ring describes her Yucca Valley, California, home, a secondary residence she shares with her husband, the artist Adam de Boer. De Boer, in fact, proposed on the property, though one year and a renovation later, a rogue sandstorm blew through on the day of the nuptials, a fitting welcome to desert life if ever there was one.

designer in a green patterned dress standing next to husband seated in a dark denim like blue armchair against a purple wall and wood floors

Leah Ring with her husband, Adam de Boer; a work by de Boer hangs behind them. The chair is an archival Another Human design.

Laure Joliet

Ring—whose six-year-old Los Angeles–based studio, Another Human, works across residential and commercial interiors and product design—finds ample inspiration off the beaten (and sometimes brambly) path. Having studied under ELLE DECOR A-List designer Frances Merrill of Reath Design, she was well equipped to spot the potential in the compound, an atypical if otherwise unremarkable arrangement of four buildings just outside Joshua Tree National Park.

“I didn’t want something that had flipped,” she says. And flipped it was not: One of the buildings even lacked a foundation. Ring painted each a pop-y hue and set about manifesting “the most extreme version” of her taste throughout, designing a dynamic weekend retreat where she could replenish her creative juices while still being a stone’s throw from the city. The result of the year long renovation happily leaves timidity in the dust.

blue and lime green kitchen with speckled blue countertop and long colorful runner

The Alno hardware coordinates with the backsplash, and the cabinet paint is Electric Slide by Benjamin Moore. The vase is by Bari Ziperstein; the Moroccan rug was sourced from Etsy.

Laure Joliet

It helps that vibrant color is one of Another Human’s hallmarks. While the exterior of the primary residence is painted lavender—a nod to the sunset area—Ring’s favorite hue is an acidic shade of green. Fittingly, a lime green and aqua tile combination was one of her first design decisions for the property. It defines the kitchen, where the color scheme is echoed in the countertops by Cambria and is repeated in other tones in the primary bathroom.

“I almost wanted it to have Lynchian motel vibes.”

Another of the structures on the compound is Ring’s home office. The facade is painted green, and the interiors are clad in a wallpaper that Ring had custom-made, working with Magic Murals on her selected source imagery and design. “It’s great for creative work,” she said of the space. “But it’s so fun, it can be hard to concentrate.”

may 2023 cover elle decor

This story originally appeared in the May 2023 issue of ELLE DECOR. SUBSCRIBE

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Deputy Editor

Sean Santiago is ELLE Decor‘s Deputy Editor, covering news, trends and talents in interior design, hospitality, travel and luxury. He wrote the So Courant! column for the magazine and elledecor.com.