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Get to Know the Host Behind 'Desert Saga'

Find out what our host, Hillary had to say about her striking desert home and its mesmerising surroundings.


Desert Saga, Plum Guide home in Twentynine Palms

Here, we're catching up with the host of our one-of-a-kind home 'Desert Saga' in Twentynine Palms, California.

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To start things off, tell us a bit about yourself and the striking 'Desert Saga'.

I'm Hillary, a Los Angeles-based consultant specialising in advising hyper-growth startups on customer experience and I am also the Co-Founder of Folly Properties. 'Desert Saga' (also called The Folly Cabin) focuses on sustainability and architectural simplicity packaged in an environmentally harmonious and premium aesthetic. In a world filled with infinite accommodation options, Folly represents an entirely unique experience. Every detail, from the ecologically-friendly building materials to the organic, vegan-friendly soaps to the voice-activated touchscreen control system, is designed to blend the best of modern living with an active appreciation for the world around us and our place in it.

What would you say is your home's superpower or stand-out feature?

The outdoor stargazing bedroom allows guests to get back into nature without compromising on convenience, comfort, or a good night's rest.

Outdoor stargazing bedroom in Desert Saga

Outdoor stargazing bedroom in Desert Saga

How would you describe your interior style?

Minimalist without neglecting the essentials required for a premium, upscale experience.

Tell us about your biggest inspiration behind designing the home?

The architect, Malek Alqadi, was inspired by the unique landscape of Joshua Tree and utilising architecture as an agent of cohesion between the existing and the proposed.

The architectural structure of Desert Saga

The architectural structure of Desert Saga

What, would you say, really makes a house a home?

I believe a home is, more than anything, a place where one experiences an intersection of tranquility, joy, growth, stability, and community. With Desert Saga we strove to ensure that every guest would feel at home away from their home whether they were traveling alone or with friends and family.

Which is your favourite room in the house?

Everyone has their own preferences, but for me, hands down it is the shower. It was designed with people like ourselves in mind, with busy lives that combine their bathroom routine with the mental activities needed to either prepare themselves for the day or settle in for the night. With floor-to-ceiling windows and a sitting rock at the base, it is as much a detoxifying, meditative space as it is a wonderful place to shower.

Shower details in Desert Saga

Shower details in Desert Saga

And what about your favourite piece of furniture?

Beyond the fact that they're incredibly comfortable, the hammocks are my favourite for sentimental reasons - a recent guest got engaged while relaxing on them!

One of Desert Saga's outdoor hammocks

One of Desert Saga's outdoor hammocks

What time of day is best to enjoy in the home?

Right around sunset where we can all gather around the dining table to eat and watch the colours of the evening settle into the desert. After dinner we'll often gather around the fire pit to roast s'mores for dessert.

What is the ultimate way to relax in the home?

Wrapped in the duvet cover on the loft bed with jazz playing throughout the house, a good book in my right hand, and a cup of wine or hot cocoa (depending on my mood) in my left.

Tell us about the best thing you can walk to from your home...

A minute or two stroll behind the cabin brings you to the base of a lovely mountain hike with unending views and an overall aesthetic that even our best photos don't fully capture.

Desert Saga's mesmerising surroundings

Desert Saga's mesmerising surroundings

Do you have a favourite local produce store or independent shop in the neighbourhood?

Joshua Tree Health Foods has a wonderful selection daily of fresh organic and local produce, and the farmers market on Saturdays has everything from homemade vegan cheese that you have to taste to believe, to just baked bread and pies that are some of my friends all time favourites.

And what about your favourite restaurant or wine bar nearby?

Pappy & Harriet's is a magnet for locals who love live music and a good BBQ.

2020 was the year of the staycation. Where did you go?

Before 2020 I had to face the same demands on my time that most people had. The pandemic changed that profoundly - my typically hectic travel schedule evaporated and I was left with much more time to explore the community around Desert Saga. This has helped me understand the environment more intimately, make more local friends, and connect with local vendors. All of this learning is synthesised across the Folly portfolio, impacting everything from the products we select to the services we offer and the activities we promote.

You can explore more of our one-of-a-kind 'Desert Saga' home here.

Vote for 'Desert Saga' as Plum Guide's Home of the Year.

Planning a stargazing trip to the area? Read our guide to the best places to stargaze in California next.

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