Invisible House, Joshua Tree, CA (Vrbo): Only ten minutes from the town of Joshua Tree is a 5,500-square-foot home that both embraces the desert and is inspired by big city living. On a clear day, on a stormy day—on any day really—it can be hard to distinguish between this one-of-a-kind vacation home and its surroundings. Inspired by the look of the glass used in skyscrapers, this might just be the closest we’re going to get to an invisibility-cloaked home until that magical tech is actually invented.
The beauty of streamlining the shape of your home—for instance, choosing to make it the housing equivalent of a stretch Hummer limo—is that you have space to add one long, 100-foot swimming pool, making this a holiday home fit for an Olympian… or just a crew who likes to party without being exposed to the direct desert sun.
Perhaps one of the reasons the Invisible House makes such a dramatic impression is that it is the brainchild of Chris Hanley, a film producer responsible for such movies as The Virgin Suicides, American Psycho, and Spring Breakers, and architect Tomas Osinski, whose past collaborators have included Frank Gehry.
Because of its Hollywood pedigree it is touted as both a great vacation for your friends and family and as the perfect spot to host a gathering or film that one special desert scene. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s been featured in all the top travel and design mags—Departures, Dezeen… TMZ!
The main house has three massive bedroom suites with very artsy beds. This master room is showing off its solid-glass, Italian-designed structure, while the other two have sleeping thrones made entirely of marble. We know what you’re thinking: looks cute, but how could it possibly be comfortable? Never fear, we have the magic words to calm your nerves—Tempur-Pedic mattresses and Frette linens.
The glass theme is gorgeous, but is the glass-on-glass in the bathroom taking things a little too far? Rest assured, the exterior of this home is a bit like the gleaming black Escalades favored by celebs with bodyguards the world over: you can see out, but the normies outside of both the two and four-legged varieties can’t see in.
This kitchen is a chef’s dream and is matched by a 13-foot dining table so your feast can be properly appreciated by your many culinary admirers. If acting like you’re capable of living in the wild is more your style, there is a grill outside that, for the more civilized among us, doubles as a fire pit for those chilly desert evenings.
Normally, we have high hopes for only sweet dreams when you’re staying in a fabulous vacation home. But we have no idea how anyone gets any sleep when you’re surrounded by this stunning landscape all night long. On the plus side, there’s no need for a nightlight when you have the stars to guide your way to dreamtown.
The pool is lovely, but here is where you’ll want to indulge in a post-hike soak. The home sits on 90 acres of land, all available for you to explore. There are hiking trails to wander, a 4,000-foot mountain to climb, and walking access to Joshua Tree National Park all on your (temporary) property and accessible from your own (temporary) front door. (We feel, at this point, that it’s important to remind you that you can’t stay in this dream home forever.)
Are you in a club or in your vacation rental? Guess the answer depends on who you invite over and what tunes you start spinning through the Bose speakers.
Normally, we view a fancy pool as a luxury rental’s best feature, particularly in a home like this one. But with its remote location in the Joshua Tree Desert, the Invisible House’s most fabulous attribute is definitely the stargazing. This may be your only chance to sleep on a pure marble bed, but it’s also your only chance to sleep under a sky that looks like this. Choices, choices…
Many of the mirrors you see throughout this home are floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that really emphasize your oneness with the desert. It doesn’t hurt that the home is almost entirely green, achieving a “near zero” carbon footprint thanks to the latest in eco-tech. In other news, may we please observe a moment of silence for that utterly gorgeous marble bed.
The main home sleeps six. But if you have two additional friends that you just must invite along on your Joshua Tree jaunt, rest assured that there is an additional home on the property that maintains the modern, eco-friendly vibe and sleeps an extra couple just a short skip away from the main house.
When we read this listing, our first thought was, mama always told us bragging was not a good look. But after soaking up this visual proof, we would like to whole heartedly second the listing’s statements that “quite simply, Invisible House is the most spectacular house in Joshua Tree” and “the word unique is insufficient.” Sure, it may be a bit much, but also #truth.
The Invisible House is very much of it’s surroundings, reflecting the desert back on itself, but it’s also wholly apart, inspired by the materials and design of the big city. It’s hard to find a one-of-a-kind place that’s also in an utterly unique location, but here, you’ve done it. Hopefully this will be the perfect place to make your grand return to vacationing, even if it is to a domestic location accompanied by your reunited COVID pod.
Book Your Stay: Invisible House, Joshua Tree, CA: $4,300/night via Vrbo