We recently escaped the cold of Portland and went down to Palm Springs to visit with old friends, enjoy Joshua Tree National Park, and relish in the delight of Desert Modernism.
First stop was the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. It’s a 13,000 sq foot steel and glass building that was designed by E. Stewart Williams in 1961 as the Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan. It was saved from development in 2011 and now is part of the museum. It’s right on the main drag in town.
Palm Springs is a mecca of preserved neighborhoods of modern homes. Though we knew a lot of the neighborhoods we picked up a map of Modern Palm Springs to ensure we didn’t miss any on our adventure. We love to walk the streets and see the details of the various houses. Whether it be the lighting, the color choices or landscaping. We made a little drive by tour so you can get a taste. The sleek modern one story houses with their large over hangs, walls of glass that create and indoor and outdoor spaces are designed by an array of talented architects and developers. You hear people all about the desert talking about the Wexler houses, the Alexander’s, the Krisel’s, and dropping names like Albert Frey and William Cody. It’s as if you had picked up a map of the movies stars, but in this case they are the stars of design.
We learned on this trip that A. Quincy Jones, who did the plans for our house, worked for Paul R. Williams. They partnered on several Palm Springs projects together. There were two beautiful Paul Williams homes in my neighborhood in Westwood Hills growing up.
One of the highlights of our trip was finding a track of new desert Eichlers. We were able to go into one under construction. It happened to be the model most like our house too. It was interesting to see how the current codes dictated some of the design choices, but for the most part they were pretty true to the originals. The fireplace that was visible from both the inside and outside was a new design feature, but we felt it a great choice.
Since our house is in limbo while we wait on the new aluminum windows and sliding doors from Milgard and our siding from Eichler Siding it was nice to get re-inspired in the desert.