Before and After

“Casa Madrina”


Front Yard

Surviving on rainfall only, the native palms and opuntia making up the flat front yard lined an unremarkable straight, narrow walkway. We recycled some palm trunks as pillars and stained broken-up concrete to build a low wall. Now desert plantings are growing in fast, and the new walkway is softly off center for a graceful approach to the house.

Casa Madrina: Front Yard - before
Casa Madrina: Front Yard - after

Entry Courtyard

Previously, the entry courtyard had no window views to the mountains, and the sun from the west beat down mercilessly on the wall. A new bank of french windows and simple overhead beams open up to pleasing views and a more usable courtyard.

Casa Madrina: Courtyard - before
Casa Madrina: Courtyard - after


After two years of inoccupancy, everything had died on the property. But the surrounding views remained terrific! Now color blocking of the aqua pool and a rich color palette play with the new native washingtonia palm and agaves.

Casa Madrina: Landscaping - before
Casa Madrina: Landscaping - after

Pool Area

Previously, the large yard with pool boasted neither shade nor any interesting features—it was the very epitome of bleak! Among other things, a date palm was planted as a natural umbrella near a tiled water feature. In addition, the olive trees define a generous seating area upholstered in green (this has become a “lawn”).

Casa Madrina: Pool Area - before
Casa Madrina: Pool Area - after

Back Yard

Compare the barrenness of the “before” with the “after” view of the property, now resurrected by the newly installed Talevera-tiled water feature, seating area, and fire pit. What a difference!

Casa Madrina: Back Yard - before
Casa Madrina: Back Yard - after

Seating Area

Here is a more detailed “before-and-after” view of the corner of the back yard where the seating area and fire pit were installed. Can you imagine a more pleasant place to gather with friends at dusk and enjoy a bottle of wine?

Casa Madrina: Seating Area - before
Casa Madrina: Seating Area - after

This house had been sitting abandoned for two years when it was ‘adopted’ by the current owners, who envisioned it as a private resort to enjoy with friends. Memories of carefree summers and bohemian travels informed the design choices.
— Laura Morton


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