The first time Gino Dreese and Troy Williams entered our new house, they looked like two doctors examining a patient.  They moved from room to room, silently nodding to each other and scrutinizing the premises intently but they didn’t say anything…initially.  I’m like, “it’s awesome, right?”  They continued nodding and moving around the space accordingly.  “How cool is this view?”  I asked.

“Oh the view is tremendous – no doubt about that,” Troy replied.

“And the lighting is fantastic, don’t you think?”

“Oh the lighting is exquisite– for sure,” Gino replied.

“Ok, but what about the house, please tell me what you think…?” I inquired further.

Gino looked at Troy, Troy looked at Gino and spoke the single word that made my heart stop… “It’s sterile,” replied Gino.

Silence. Crickets.


I had no idea what they had meant by this.  The walls were white – it looked clean!  The matching furniture was nicely placed – kept! Everything was new construction and worked – modern!  What could they possibly mean by that dreaded, insulting, word…. “Sterile?”

sterile |ˈsterəl|

Adjective: lacking in imagination, creativity, or excitement

My wife and I had spent our honeymoon, at ‘The Homesteader’; their previous rental property located at ‘Mojave Rock Ranch’ vacation rentals. We were “uber” impressed with their landscaping and design skills and had hired them because we wanted to recreate the love we experienced at their home in ours.  We also wanted to create a desert escape where couples could be welcomed away from the noise and stress of everyday big city living and be embraced with eclectic solitude.  Knowing what Gino and Troy were capable of, I had agreed to surrender to their wounding “sterile” comment and let these mad designers run a muck and unscrutinized in our barren abode.   “Weave your magic tapestry throughout our ‘arid’ space and turn it into a sanctuary like non other and I in turn will not question your work until you’re done,” I promised.

But, two weeks later, being the control freak that I am, I broke my vows of autonomy and secretly came to check-in on my designer friends.  And to my horror I found not a sterile environment but a traffic turn signal painted throughout our house.  One wall was painted with streaks of red.  The hallway pillars were painted yellow.  And the beautiful white kitchen was painted with slashes of green and blue. They had done the antithesis of what I had asked and brought metropolis into my home!  WTF???

I was horrified.  Was this some sort of hidden camera prankster reality show?  I was ready for my friends and family to come streaming around the corner with cameras at the helm… “Surprise!”  But, alas, it was not. I was not laughing and was actually on the verge of tears. To take creative liberty is one thing, but to offer oppressive bad taste is another.  And how dare you call my place “sterile” and offer this septic monstrosity instead.

Taking a deep. I confronted the dynamic duo.  “Guys, what the…?”

Gino cut me off – “You promised.”

I stared at him, back at the walls, back at Troy.  “But….?”

“Yup, you promised,” Troy, countered.

“Ok….ok, ok, ok.  I promised,” I feebly hobbled away feeling like I had signed a deal with the devils of tastelessness and wondered if my dream of a Desert Oasis was turning into an Omen of Descent. What hell was I thinking…?

Two weeks later I returned, only to discover to my relief and absolute exultation the place that renters and lovers worldwide have now come to be call, ‘Joshua Tree Oasis.’

I can’t recommend Gino and Troy enough. They are gifted landscape and home interior designers; but more than anything, they are artists.  They attack each project with the same passion as is visible throughout each interior and exterior at our home in the desert.

Thank you Gino and Troy for making dreams come true!

Ethan Wilson