Monday, May 24, 2010

itHouse Spectacular

{Bistro Escondido at the itHouse}

Saturday evening P. and I drove up into the boulder-strewn Narnia of Rimrock, a desert outpost so wild and pristine it makes Joshua Tree look like a suburb of L.A. The ever-inventive Bistro Escondido was at it again, but instead of cioppino stew around a bonfire it was roast duck at the famed itHouse, the completely off-the-grid glass and steel opus of architect couple Linda Taalman and Alan Koch. The itHouse has been the darling of Dwell magazine and rightfully so; it's a perfect marriage between built space and the natural environment, and its minimalist aesthetic and innovative use of indoor-outdoor space make it a pretty spectacular place to enjoy a dinner party with thirty strangers. Hands-down one of the most magical evenings P. and I have ever had in the desert.

Read more about the itHouse on its website, or in this Dwell spread.
Sign up for future nomadic, sporadic Bistro Escondido dinners by emailing Chantale Doyle


  1. I always have a dream house of the moment. The last one was set somewhere in the jungles of Malaysia but suddenly after I saw this post, that's vanished and this is IT!
    And this is going to be it, it, IT for a very looong time :)

  2. this looks like an amazing evening!

  3. Oh how amazing! I love that you labeled this under Cat's Pajamas! And so glad to hear you're feeling better! xoxo

  4. Oh my goodness, beautiful photos! Looks like a dream. Thanks for your comment, I'm excited to check out Broken Bells! xo

  5. i wonder how they got access to the house for the event and if it was so expensive? so cool!

  6. Julia, the architects were there and they hosted all of us strangers- that was the beauty of the evening! This was the absolute antithesis an exclusive dinner party. The woman who runs Bistro Escondido must have approached them or connected somehow, and the laid-back dinner -which was open to the public and $35- was held at Taalaman and Koch's amazing house and cooked in their solar-powered kitchen, and they could not have been warmer, more good-humored, or generous hosts. That's what I love about the desert- there is a kinship and communal approach to food, art and living that bowls me over again and again.

  7. Your photography is incredible!
    What kind of camera do you use?
    Have you taken classes, or just learned on your own?
    This is so breathtaking!

  8. life is good!

    at first i thought the little nibbles were some kind of snails but then i realized they must be something wrapped in prosciutto! great setting!

  9. lucky you. the images are great.

    julia, the house is a vacation rental, too. you can rent it. (we did!)

  10. Thanks for the kind comments, everyone! And Mlle P- they're FIGS!

    Becca, I am by no means a photographer, but thanks! I *wish* I'd taken photo classes, but I've learned a lot by asking my photog friends questions, reading online and by playing around with my camera almost every day. Studying the photos on blogs that I love has been a big source of inspiration and helped me a LOT.

    I use a Canon Rebel T1i, which is a fantastic, super-versatile body with intuitive automatic settings and a vast array of manual options that really allow for more distinctive photos. I rely a lot on the aperture setting and adjust my white balance depending on if I want true colors or a more golden, desert light. Those night shots were all taken on a tripod.

    Instead of the kit lens I bought a Canon EFS 17-85mm lens, which is a great all-around lens for my needs (shooting my paintings for my website, taking portraits, macro shots of food and flora, landscape shots of the desert). I'd definitely recommend going with an above-kit-grade lens if you're looking at buying a camera. The Rebel is a workhorse of a camera; I absolutely love it and it's remarkably sturdy. Highly recommend!

  11. your photos are fabulous lily--so perfectly soft and loving at the same time--i think it's your trademark maybe? and ok yeah, can we time my visit so I can go to one of bistro enscondido's rogue dinners? with you preferably?

  12. Thanks for the pics Lily! It was great having you there!!

  13. your photos are always so beautiful and natural; i love the light in these

  14. Amazing house, i love it. Your blog is great!
    Take care, cheers.


Your turn: