Interior Designer Melissa Young's SoCal Desert Hacienda
Melissa Young, founder of interior design firm, My Studio ID, invites us inside her luxe desert getaway—complete with teepee, endless textiles, and a VW dune buggy.
Young’s love of design and architecture began at an early age. As a child, she watched her aunt map out beautiful Parisian hotels. It was after visiting her aunt's showroom, teeming with bold textiles and vintage furniture, that Young knew she’d follow the same path.
Today, Young runs a 15-person team at My Studio ID, which has completed over 200 hospitality projects—including 25 restaurants in Burger Lounge's growing empire. The bulk of her firm’s work has focused on restaurants, including six unique (and ultra Instagram-able) locations for Halo Top Creamery. This spring brings the studio's first hotel opening—a midcentury modern, three-story hostel in San Diego called Stay Classy.
As her work takes her to many locations, Young, naturally, has more than one home. During the workweek, she lives on a 50-foot Beneteau sailboat called Gypsymoon in San Diego. She spends a few weeks of the year in Northern California in a redwood cabin on a river, and on the weekends, she lives in her desert hacienda. "It is the epitome of California living—mountains, desert, and sea," she says.
The property sits on 30 acres and backs up to Anza-Borrego—which at 700,000 acres is the largest state park in California. "From mud- and wind-sculpted caves to desert oases, sandstone to shell canyons dating back from when they were covered in warm tropical waters five million years ago, it brings a us a sense of adventure and allows us to further connect to the beautiful land we dwell on."
Where do you spend most of your time in your home?
We spend a lot of time outdoors. Summers by the pool, winters by the outdoor fireplace. Outdoor BBQs all year round. Again, the views are so tranquil it’s the best place to sit and relax or entertain guests. The sunsets over the mountains are unbeatable here as well as the incredible night sky. Borrego is one of the four officially designated International Dark Sky locations in the California desert, so the stargazing is pretty special.
You have a melding of old and new in your home. As a designer, what are some tips on how to do that?
Be fearless when it comes to mixing styles. The juxtaposition of vintage, contemporary, old and new, masculine and feminine, raw and refined creates a soulful balance in a space that I find comforting.
What's one detail that made this truly feel like home?
My husband. Being that we have three places we call home, no matter where we are, as long as we are together, I feel like I am home. Plus, he is an amazing cook, so the house always smells delicious and homey!
What is your single favorite piece of decor that you own and why?
A steer head with intricate ink designs applied with a tattoo needle that I bought in San Jose del Cabo. And the moroccan rugs in the arcade. They are amazing!
What was on your checklist when designing your home?
When we moved in to the desert hacienda, we came from an urban condo downtown which had two bedrooms. We had tons of friends and family who wanted to come over straight away and have pool parties, so the first thing we did was make comfortable spaces for them to stay and get some pool furniture (that of course we did not have prior). The very first thing on the checklist were the necessities. We had to buy four beds plus all the pillows, cozy bedding and bath linens, a dining room table, and the outdoor furniture. Quality bedding and linens are a must.
What items for the home would you say are the most important to invest in?
The textile lover in me would say authentic rugs. They are versatile and can be used in so many different ways. The quality and beauty of hand-woven rugs made with such intricacy by different cultures is a sure way to add depth and story to a home. The practical part of me would say a quality mattress and amazing linens for each room!
What are your favorite places to shop for home decor?
I like to find original items while traveling since they have a story to tell... The Citizenry; Crate and Barrel is great for kitchen items; Restoration Hardware; Galerie Half; antiques from Lucca Antiques.