The Desert Sun’s Rosalie Murphy writes that the title for the desert's most expensive house is currently claimed by an 18,000-square-foot, six-bedroom custom house, listed for $32.5 million, in La Quinta's ritzy Madison Club.

The home was designed by Kristi Hanson and completed in 2011, after more than 2 years of construction. Guests enter the estate through a stone archway. The first room in the house is a soaring living room, with noticeable curves — there are few flat walls or right angles in the house. Its decor is dark for the desert, featuring polished wood floors and paneled walls, heavy wooden furniture and accent walls of stone. But floor-to-ceiling windows line the back wall, and clerestory windows pop up periodically, spilling light into living space.

Bedrooms, six in all and each with its own ensuite bathroom, are tucked into sides and corners of the house. Out back, you'll find dozens of seats, some of them near a bar and pizza oven. A water feature starts at the top of the backyard and spills down to a full-length pool, 14 feet at its deepest, and a spa surrounded by boulders.

This mansion sits on the golf course at La Quinta's Madison Club. This view, from the back, shows a private golf tee.  

Other top-of-the-line amenities include a smart-home system, which residents can use to control temperatures, window shades, televisions and speakers from iPads scattered throughout the house, and an empty lot across the street that the owners brought to preserve their view of the mountains.

The home in a nutshell:

  • 6 bedrooms
  • 6 full bathrooms and 3 half baths
  • 17.528 square feet plus a 3,500-square-foot guest house
  • 85,938-square-foot lot plus a 32,163-square-foot lot across the street 
  • Outdoors: A barbecue, stove, bar and pizza oven; outdoor televisions; private driving range
  • Pool includes a 95-foot swimming lane

Second on the highest-in-the-desert list is Bob Hope's house on Southridge Drive, with a listing price holding steady at $24.9 million. That house was initially offered for $50 million three years ago.

Third is a house in Bighorn, asking $21.19 million, and fourth is Suzanne Somers' Palm Springs estate, listed at $14.5 million.

The desert's biggest sale in recent years was Larry Ellison's 2011 purchase of the Porcupine Creek estate, at $42.9 million. The Blixseth family initially asked $75 million for that 249-acre estate, which includes a private golf course, and it took about a year to sell.

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