A Legend Reborn

Bighorn house interior

Robbie Pike, an Alabama native and BIGHORN Member, enjoyed every aspect of BIGHORN life in his Mesquite Hills home, which he acquired in 2012. After an extensive one-year remodel, the residence became a home-away-from-home and a perfect retreat for relaxation, entertaining and making lifetime memories with visiting family and friends. But, when the opportunity arose to acquire one of BIGHORN’s most prominent and well-known residences, he seized the moment, and with purpose and vision went about customizing an iconic piece of architecture.

The residence, located atop Kovenish Court at the end of a cul-de-sac, is situated on a double lot that overlooks the beautiful par 5 Mountains 15th hole with water and panoramic views. This perfect location provides ready accessibility to the Clubhouse, golf, the Spa, Salon & Fitness Center, and Marketplace. Its relative proximity to the Mountains main entry also provides easy access to the Canyons and Steak House. Although this celebrated home is close to all the BIGHORN action and near the heart of Palm Desert, it provides ultimate privacy with an estate feel. 

The residence formerly belonged to BIGHORN Chairman R.D. Hubbard and his wife, Joan Dale. Built in 1991, its interiors were the work of the late, famed talent, Steve Chase, who created its polished Southwest elegance, perfect for showcasing the Hubbards’ extensive and acclaimed Western art collection. This home set the gold standard of excellence for BIGHORN through the Club’s formative years.

Pike’s decision to invest in this remarkable property was quite brilliant. He knew what he was looking for and there was no question that the Hubbard home provided all of the qualities and intangibles for a successful and dynamic remodel. In addition to its desirable location, the home’s strategic orientation, bone structure and quality construction provided the perfect framework upon which to build the next generation BIGHORN residence. Not only did it live up to Pike’s discriminating expectations, it far surpassed them.

Pike and Hubbard discussed the home’s changing of hands for several years before it transpired. “Mr. Hubbard knew about the extensive remodels of my Birmingham and Mesquite Hills homes,” Pike explained. “We both felt I could put together the right team of professionals with the expertise to transform the residence into a statement of contemporary sophistication, relevant to today’s lifestyle. It would honor the basic structure of the Hubbards’ design, which fit so well on the double lot, but modernize its capabilities and style. It also provided ample opportunity for opening more interior space to the amazing views and provided room to expand.”

After a two-year renovation encompassing all aspects of the property, the finished outcome allows rich, designer interiors to meld with a myriad of accessible indoor-outdoor living spaces, featuring some of BIGHORN’s finest views.

Part of Pike’s goal was to create an environment where every family member, guest or business associate feels welcomed, experiencing that sense of ease and relaxation when on vacation. He wanted a home that easily accommodates the intimacy of a family visit or the demands of a sizable crowd for a weekend event. He deftly accomplished both.

Bighorn house interior

Pike, CEO of Birmingham’s P&S Transportation, maintains his primary home in Florida, traveling often for business. He developed an affinity for the desert when he was younger. His parents owned a home in Palm Desert for a time, and to this day, he relishes each return trip as a chance to share this beautiful valley and his new home with his loved ones and business associates.

From the moment guests arrive, they are wowed by the sculptures, detached guest suites, and two-bedroom “pilot’s quarters,” which overlook a showplace-style Ferrari collection – all before stepping into the main house. Once inside, the floor plan flows up three stories to the penthouse master suite and office. Each level opens out to the terraced pool and grotto, complemented by cabanas and fire features. The home offers a luxurious degree of hospitality to its guests and leaves most first-time visitors simply speechless. The 20,000 square-foot, 10-bedroom residence packs a real “wow” factor. 

Though Pike’s home might appear to be a custom-build, newly constructed from the ground up to his specifications, in reality, it is a revitalization in every sense of the word. To accomplish the remodel, he enlisted two skilled professionals to transform this Kovenish Court residence into a poolside paradise. Richard Pruter of Par Development and interior designer Troy Zimmerman arrived ready to reinvent the home for its new owner. After a meeting to discuss direction, followed by Pike’s review of sketches and concepts, they were encouraged to take cues from his preferences and run with his dream. 

“He trusted Troy and I from start to finish,” says Pruter, who performed all of the significant structural changes while Zimmerman selected the surfaces, lighting, hardware, finishes and furnishings which were bespoke to each environment. “The two of us worked very closely, all the way through.” 

A chic, Euro-infused design, enhanced by state-of-the-art electronics, an elevator, and a top-of-the-line home automation system, make this home Pike’s own. Conversation areas, both grand and intimate in scale, pair with seamless indoor-outdoor transitions, essential for relishing family time at BIGHORN.

“The most amazing structural difference is that we removed the back end the house,” says Pruter, referring to the once rounded exterior that was closed to the outdoors. “That’s what opened possibilities and really elevated the new home. Now you can step outside through the pocketing glass doors on every floor and take advantage of the views.” 

Ever the gracious host, Pike requested multiple entertainment areas around the property. “He’s a generous guy who wants everyone to have a good time,” Pruter affirms. The tasteful entry bar, in particular, starts any gathering off on the right note. 

Clever innovations are woven into the home’s new design, from Zimmerman’s retractable living room television (replaced by a painting at the push of a button), to the starry dining room illumination that ushers heaven’s constellations indoors. “This is the first residential application of this star lighting,” Zimmerman notes of the dining space, where a wall of wine is displayed behind glass. “Only the Dior showrooms beat us to the punch. Ours was the second ever installation.” 

Bighorn house bar

Discreet casters on the tables let them roll together for group configurations; al fresco dining areas offer additional seating and flexibility. In the kitchen, Pike’s concept for mess hall-style seating where his friends could enjoy a buffet is a tailored solution for casual get-togethers. The addition of a butler’s pantry for catered affairs complements new cabinets, tile work, appliances and finishes. 

Lighter color schemes, fresh paint and new wallpaper, doors, fixtures and custom headboards in every bedroom contribute to the home’s fresh design. Only a few vestiges remain from the original build, including rich wood ceilings, a curved window in the new theater and exotic marble in one of three jewel-box powder rooms. “Our aim was to make it more hip, bright and contemporary while opening it up to those views,” Pruter says.

Bighorn house sitting room before

Bighorn house sitting room after

The top floor is reserved for the palatial master suite. In the spa-style bathroom, Zimmerman sandblasted the windows to artfully combine natural light with privacy. He also optimized the space in the bedroom by integrating elements of a great room. The tranquil retreat invites quiet moments and reflection. Crossing the balcony, furnished with sun loungers, a swing chair and a TV lounge, one reaches an executive office that shares the master suite’s sun deck.

On the lower level in the center of the house an expansive space stretching the height of three floors is lit by the soft glow of sunlight filtering in through new skylights. A full-size snooker table and multiple card tables create a large-scale game room. The setting doubles as a venue for concerts and live entertainment, featuring a stage for live music and a wall display of classic guitars from rock legends.

It was here that Zimmerman tapped into Pike’s affinity for the Coachella Music Festival by suggesting a unique and unexpected twist. He elicited one of the Festival’s featured artists to paint a contemporary mural of graffiti impressions over the full length of an entire wall. 

In the adjacent space, a former home theater reemerged as the Ferrari Club, a commercial-quality bar that adjoins the backyard. A fleet of stools face wall-mounted TVs above the bar. Floating above, pieces of crackled glass are backlit with an array of colored lights. 

Guests of all ages appreciate the integration of grottos, swim-up bars, hot tubs, wading pools, waterfalls, and a tanning shelf with chairs that sit in the shallow water into the year-round pool experience. 

Nearing the end of the project, Pike made one final request. “He wanted to add a big outdoor screen, like the ones you see in football stadiums, but didn’t want to compromise the view,” Pruter recalls. “So, we built a 13-foot-deep concrete vault that has air conditioning, sump pipes and electrical power to accommodate a custom built 16’ x 19’ giant, automated screen that comes out of the ground. The installation was so complicated it required site-specific engineering. You don’t ever see this in a custom home. It’s a very special amenity.”

The LEDs in the television are powerful enough that the family can float in the pool in the middle of the day while watching their favorite sports team claim a victory. “It doesn’t get any better than that!” Pruter notes. Except, that is, when Pike and his young son play video games on the big screen from the home’s uppermost balcony. 

Bighorn house patio before

Bighorn house patio after

What was once a predominantly desert landscape now embodies a more tropical atmosphere with lush foliage, soft grass, and new rock walls. Outdoor areas are complete with conversation areas, lawn games, and radiant fire pits across the three levels and, coupled with the lighting design, makes for incredible ambiance at night.

The “pilot’s quarters,” set between the main house and existing detached guest suites across the cul-de-sac, is a two-bedroom casita with a sitting room in the middle. It sits atop an air-conditioned garage designed around two loves: Ferraris and pinball. Originally built for Pike’s pilots, friends and family are also enjoying it. The arcade adds a dash of fun to this serious showroom. Pike and his son look forward to visiting as often as they can, playing all 17 pinball machines.

Given the amenities, floorplan, and number of bedrooms, the new Pike residence functions as a family home and an idyllic escape that can be savored in countless ways. 

“Whether I’m there with clients, family, or friends, I have ample space for all my guests,” Pike explains. “My goal was to create an environment where everyone could gather and enjoy each other’s company, or they could get away from the action and have some down time with all the comforts and amenities of a five-star resort.” 

In its coveted locale on the BIGHORN landscape, the estate is a testament to the fact that one home can equally represent each subsequent owner’s taste, needs and lifestyle. “Richard and Troy really stepped up and helped me understand what it was that I wanted. They even took some of my crazy ideas and were able to develop them,” Pike notes. “And Mr. Hubbard was very good to me from the very beginning. We have since become great friends. I’m very glad I saw the potential in modernizing what the Hubbards created while honoring the house’s structure and location.  I’m very happy with the outcome. I think most people who visit feel the same way.”

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