For Rae Michalik and her partner, their recently renovated desert home became the perfect shelter-in-place hideaway.

Jasmin Perez  – April 20, 2020 | Updated April 22, 2020

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Rae Michalik didn’t intend to spend much time in her recently renovated Yucca Valley home (which they call Flamingo Social Club). “The funny thing is, we didn’t plan to spend more than a week at a time here, we figured we would host friends occasionally and rent it the rest of the time.” But, with the spread of COVID-19, Rae and her partner Jon Pack have been living there full-time since mid-March.

Q: What first drew you to the home?

A: It had the bones to be something great, but we literally changed everything about it. We joke that the only thing we kept from the original home was a mug with a unicorn on it. The main draw was the 5-acre property and adjacent to 60 acres of untouched land, making it feel truly remote.  

Q: Now that you’ve spent more time in your space, what’s been your favorite part of your home?

A: We extended the eaves of the house and built a deck off of the two bedrooms overlooking the land. It’s been the most magical place to have our morning coffee and golden hour cocktails.

Kamil Zelezik

Q: For those looking to do remodeling on their own spaces, do you have any design tips or early mistakes you made that helped you learn along the way?

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A: I made a mood board at the very beginning to get a feel for the style we wanted, from colors to general direction. From there we slowly pieced it together by buying things we liked along the way.

The renovation portion of the process took so much longer than we expected, so choosing the furniture and decor elements kept us motivated. We realized if a piece is within the aesthetic you chose, and you love it, it’s likely going to work in the end. Our sofa was the very first thing we purchased after we closed, but we waited until the rest of the room came together before we had the cushions reupholstered.

Something else we learned is to be open to changing your plan. We didn’t plan on having bold wallpaper and murals, but as we began to design the space we realized the white walls needed a statement. For us, that ended up being in every room.

When it comes to mistakes we learned from, I think the biggest we made were painting our kitchen cabinets. We decided to save by buying unfinished cabinets, but we didn’t do our research on the right type of paint and ended up having to sand them all down again and redo the paint entirely. When all was said and done it cost just as much as buying custom. 

Kamil Zelezik

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from? Any online or offline tips for those of us feeling uninspired lately?

A:  I come from a fashion background so I’ve always had an eye for curation and aesthetics. I pull my inspiration from everything, from travel to boutique hotels to Airbnbs. Our exterior color was inspired by a local hotel, 29 Palms Inn. Some of my favorites places on Instagram include @hoteljoaquin, @korakia, @thecaptainwhidbey, and @thejoshuatreehouse.

Kamil Zelezik

Q: Any advice for people on how to shelter-in-place, in style?

A: Staying cozy by our fireplace has been our go-to. Our home is very tiny (only 716 sq feet) so it’s pretty easy to stay cuddly in the space.

We try to make the days more pleasant with good music while we work, and to wind down we either catch up on shows, work on puzzles, and have virtual dinners with our “quaranteam”. We’re very fortunate we have a beautiful home surrounded by nature and a small group of friends to keep us sane. 

Kamil Zelezik

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Kamil Zelezik