Benicia Oasis with Kit Williamson and John Halbach
This ’70s pool house is the second renovation project Kit and John have tackled in this part of the desert, where they’re making a name for themselves with their innovative décor and design
Joshua Tree Meets Palm Springs Design
The small towns of the Mojave Desert have long been outdoor oasis destinations for Southern Californians seeking art, music and recreation. While Palm Springs and much of the surrounding Coachella Valley have long been established, the areas closer to Joshua Tree National Park experienced explosive growth during the recent pandemic.
That’s where Kit Williamson and his husband John Halbach have a home. You may recognize Kit from his role as Ed Gifford on “Mad Men.” You may also know him as the writer, director and star of the Emmy-nominated LGBT series “Eastsiders.” Kit has a number of other acting credits under his belt and runs a production company with John.
What was the Vision for the Benicia Oasis?
“The vision for this renovation is ‘Palm Springs meets J Tree,’” Kit said. “We wanted to take cues from the history and the architecture of the home, the midcentury feel, but add subtle, desert boho touches.”
With so much outdoor space on the property, Kit and John were able to create several different gathering spaces. These include the dining area right off the sliding doors to the shaded lounge with fire table. Additionally, many of the seating areas offer sweeping, gorgeous views of the high desert landscape.
“We work outside. Living in the desert is all about the indoor/outdoor experience. So, it’s great to have this outdoor living room feel with the Terra Belvedere Aluminum Sofa and the fire table, said Kit. “We just sit outside and write, staring at the mountains. In LA, I was often writing entire screenplays from my bed because it was the only place to sit.”
We Love Terra Outdoor!
“We discovered Terra through Instagram!” Kit exclaimed. “There was a ton of inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram. We were able to see how people put different items together to finish off their spaces.
The delivery was so smooth with Terra and that was definitely the exception – not the rule – out here. We had so many issues with delivery and with items that were flat-packed but didn’t have all the pieces or were impossible to put together. Terra was exactly the opposite. Everything arrived fully assembled so we were able to enjoy it right away!”
Pros & Cons of Desert Living
Pros: It’s so much quieter than LA. It turns out, going out a couple nights a week is enough when you have all this space to entertain and enjoy. We are loving spending more time at home. And as more of our friends are being priced out of LA and Palm Springs, our community keeps growing. We have new friends moving out here all the time.
Cons: It’s harder to get an Uber or a Lyft here. You have to plan well and make sure someone in your group isn’t drinking.