Palm Springs Designer Michelle Boudreau Takes Cues from the Desert for a Pool House Turned Guest Casita

A warm welcome.

  • Category
  • Written by
    Jennie Nunn
  • Photographed by
    CK Showhouse Photography

Palm Springs—once a preferred hideaway for Hollywood’s elite set, from Elvis Presley to Marilyn Monroe—is home to some of the finest examples of mid-century architecture and design. At the recent Modernism Week, local designer Michelle Boudreau displayed an Indian Canyons pool house she transformed into a cheery private casita and guest suite.

“It was dated and untouched,” explains Michelle. “Designer Christopher Kennedy graciously asked me to design the room. The clients wanted an inviting place for guests to enjoy the indoor-outdoor lifestyle in privacy. They envisioned colors that reflected the essence of Palm Springs.”

Playing off colors found in the natural desert surroundings, Michelle appointed the space with greens, blues, pinks and even black. “I was inspired by the lush landscaping of the property,” she recounts, “the variations of the green palms and plants, and the dusty pinks of the surrounding succulents and warm tones of the desert mountain sunsets that can be viewed from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Black brings in a contrasting edge. I wanted the color palette to be refreshing and inspiring as well as calming and comfortable.”

Michelle added a unique twist on an ordinary medium. “One of the details I pulled through the design was inspired by the original pegboard material,” she says. “I updated this element by creating large perforations in the woodwork to nod to the prior detail for a modern update.”

She designated space for a kitchenette using a perforated wood decorative screen panel. A banquette upholstered in soft velvet added hints of glamour and sophistication.

To maximize space and function, Michelle removed the door access from the main house to expand the bathroom and added a floor-to-ceiling glass slider as a private entrance for guests. She repeated patterns to make the space cohesive. “I pulled the round element of the perforated panels into the dimensional shape of the tile in the bathroom,” she explains.

Michelle says of the renovation, “I love that I have been able to keep the integrity of the original mid-century architectural details and shapes and use them in a new, updated way.”


Michelle’s Design Hacks

Check Your Surroundings

“Ensure that the colors work with the environment.”

Examine the Light

“Study the light from dusk to dawn. Sunlight varies in warm and cool tones and different locations, making colors appear differently.”

Consider the Palette

“If you are using multiple colors, ensure that they work nicely together. I stay away from jarring and bright colors in a home since that is a sanctuary of happiness and calm. There are no rules with color. It is a nice way to express your personality and an easy way to reinvigorate a space.”


Michelle’s Top Shopping Go-Tos


“I love to create custom-designed lighting or find interesting vintage lighting. 1stDibs is great for sourcing pieces from all over the world.”


“I source a lot of my fabrics from Schumacher. They have an extensive luxury collection of original prints and elegant, high quality.”


“I always find one-of-a-kind objects on my inspirational travels all over the globe.”


“I work with Dunn-Edwards paint. They are leaders in curating the best colors and understand design palettes with high-performance quality.”


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