December 5, 2022

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A Cubed, Colorful Retreat in the California Desert

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A mile from the entrance to California’s Joshua Tree National Park, a neo-primitive structure composed of three cubes stands out from the barren desert landscape like a Modernist mirage. Constructed in the early ’90s as a private family retreat, Monument House was designed by the Southern California-based architect Josh Schweitzer, best known for renovating historic homes like the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Samuel-Novarro House in Los Angeles. Now, through the hospitality brand Homestead Modern, the five-acre estate is open for private bookings for the first time.

Inspired by a nearby group of monumental monzogranite boulders, and evocative of the work of Schweitzer’s former employer Frank Gehry, the home’s asymmetrical spaces are lit by trapezoidal windows and skylights placed to capture the shifting sun over the course of the day. The terra-cotta-toned cube contains an outdoor dining area and courtyard. The lichen green cube houses a living room with vaulted ceilings, a tangerine-hued chimney and vintage furnishings. And inside the sky blue cube is a kitchen, a bathroom, an eating area and a bedroom for two, with views of the surrounding rock formations and the Little San Bernardino Mountains in the distance. Rooms from $299 per night, two-night minimum; Trimble

For years, the coffee calendar was fixed: iced in the warmer months, hot once the mercury dropped. But these days, whether as a result of climate change or, more likely, the enduring cold brew craze, baristas are running their cocktail-grade ice machines straight through the winter. Regardless of the weather, says Ian Walla, the general manager of the Lower Manhattan location of the Nordic microroaster La Cabra, “for the most part, coffee drinkers are all in on iced or all in on hot — it’s a lot more common for somebody to stick with a temperature.”

Kyle Glanville, a co-founder of Go Get Em Tiger, which has outposts across Los Angeles, attributes the rapid rise of cool drinks to the communal nature of coffee. “It’s such a social beverage that folks are influenced by what others around them are doing,” he says. And if you visit Abraço, an East Village cafe that feels like a good neighborhood bar, those around you will most likely be drinking cold brew. “It’s not seasonal anymore,” says the co-owner Liz Quijada. “The people who get cold brew all spring and summer get cold brew in winter.” For those who want to try something different — and maybe even a little frostier — Quijada recommends the frappé, an off-menu take on a Greek seaside classic. Espresso, simple syrup and ice are blended in a Vitamix, resulting in a texture so rich and creamy that it’s hard to believe the drink is dairy-free. The frappé might be native to the summer cafes of Paros and Crete, but it now has a second home: a wintry New York City. — Oliver Strand

On Oct. 7, 1927, when Mercedes Gleitze became the first British woman to swim across the English Channel, her Rolex made headlines alongside her. After 15 hours in the icy Atlantic, Gleitze emerged on the shore with her gold Oyster wristwatch in perfect working order. It was proof to the world that the Swiss watchmaker had succeeded in creating what most believe to be the first truly waterproof chronometer. Since then, the elegant Oyster has evolved. In 1945, the Datejust model added a numerical calendar to its face. Twelve years later, the Day-Date version debuted with a window displaying the day of the week in one of 25 languages. Legend has it that John F. Kennedy was gifted that model by Marilyn Monroe the night of her infamous birthday serenade. This year, the president’s watch, as it’s often called, is newly available with a platinum bezel, as well as in the original 18-karat gold varieties. The change might seem purely cosmetic, but it required another technological advance. Because platinum is extremely dense, with a very high melting point, it took craftspeople years of trial and error to figure out how to engrave the precious metal with the Oyster’s signature fluting. Time well spent, indeed. Price on request, Montgomery

2022-11-07 12:00:08

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