Tucked away in a prestigious private golf community in Palm Desert, California is a Mediterranean-style home that provides a front-row seat to breathtaking scenery. The homeowners — Philip Condit, who was chairman and chief executive of aerospace company Boeing from 1996 to 2003, and his wife, Geda, an aeronautical engineer and philanthropist — created an idyllic second home for their family in The Reserve but now are eager to downsize. Their custom-designed estate is on the market for $9.75 million.
The couple bought the land in 2002. Built around an expansive courtyard, their 13,574-square-foot home sits on an acre and includes five bedrooms, five full bathrooms and four partial bathrooms.
Nature takes the spotlight in The Reserve, where houses are spaced well apart. On a leisurely drive through the circular driveway with a porte-cochere, one can appreciate the enviable views of the sprawling landscape framed by the San Jacinto mountains.
“The entrance driveway is fascinating because you turn off of the main city street, and then you’re suddenly in a desert landscape,” says Philip. “It’s meant to feel like a place where your blood pressure comes down because you’re in a natural landscape. That’s the ambience.”
Outside the courtyard, desert plants abound, but within the confines of the courtyard, Geda says “you can plant pretty much what you want.” The couple’s landscape includes lush citrus trees and other plants.
In the expansive courtyard, a charming fountain depicts a boy and girl pouring water. Wander in the backyard, and you’ll find a dancing fountain and a mesmerizing infinity-edged swimming pool. The edge of the pool is raised about 18 inches above the landscaped area.
“The only part that is not an infinity edge is where the hot tub is, which has a waterfall that flows down into the pool,” explains Philip. “On a quiet morning, the reflection in that pool is absolutely amazing. There’s no edge, so as you look out the window, the world is sort of reflected in the pool.”
The outdoor heaters and a fire pit are perfect for extending outdoor entertaining long after the sun goes down.
Large urns flanking the stately front entryway lend curb appeal. The home’s floor plan blurs the lines between indoors and out, thanks to pocket doors that slide into the walls. From every vantage point, one is guaranteed a splendid view.
“Everything is open, and for the events that we have done here, that worked extraordinarily well,” says Philip. The couple has held numerous events at this home, primarily fundraisers supporting not-for-profit organizations.
The homeowners created an abode that’s a harmonious blend of Western and Middle Eastern influences, due in no small part to imported finishes from Geda’s homeland, Jordan. Along with limestone flooring that the Condits bought in Jordan, Dead Sea travertine is on display in the ceiling of the eat-in kitchen. Jordanian mosaics and stones create dramatic focal points throughout. For example, an impressive mosaic inspired by a winery in Italy is without a doubt the primary focal point of the kitchen.
The gourmet kitchen also features granite countertops, top-of-the-line appliances as well as a spacious butler’s pantry and a separate pass-through bar. A Jacuzzi is in a small garden area off the master bedroom.
The lower level, which is accessible by elevator, includes a 1,500-bottle wine cellar and a game room that transports guests to yesteryear. The area is set up like a town square with an ice-cream parlor, English-style pub, apothecary, store, train station and movie theater with a stage.
The couple acquired 26 movie seats that lend an air of authenticity to the home cinema. “I think our peak was something like over 30 people in that room,” says Philip. “We had kids down on the floor in front, and a stage for kids to do what they wanted to do.”
A vintage street lamp post salvaged from the home of the late movie star Ginger Rogers melds perfectly with the town square theme.
The couple’s curated collection of furnishings includes a chandelier designed by world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly.
Rather than dividing their time between two homes, the Condits look forward to spending more time with family and friends at their primary residence in Frisco, Texas, where they put down roots in 2004.
“This home in The Reserve has a lot of our personality in it,” admits Philip. “It’s a place we love dearly, but there comes a time when you don’t need a great big house and it’s time to downsize.”