Tuesday, February 19, 2013

#psmw not saving the best for last: frey house ii

My mom and I have been having an OUTSTANDING time at Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013. The docents are wonderful and the coordinators of the event have done a fantastic job. One of the highlights of our trip was this astonishing 26 foot tall statue of Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe Palm Springs
Mom and this crazy Marilyn statue.

Just kidding!!! Although Marilyn is truly captivating and definitely mid-century, we were significantly more impressed with Frey House II.

We knew this home was going to be pretty fabulous but we were truly blown away with this mid-century minimalist bit of perfection. Little did I know, Jennings'  minimalist house from Sunday was practically an homage to Frey House II.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Albert Frey was a famous Palm Springs architect, specializing in commercial work including the iconic Tramway Gas Station in Palm Springs as well as the Palm Springs City Hall and numerous other buildings.

Mr. Frey built his first home, Frey House I on the desert floor, and used it as a study for his second house. For the second home, Frey went up the San Jacinto mountains above Palm Springs and constructed an incredibly optimized and beautiful abode.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


The home is a model of efficiency and was originally 800 square feet consisting of a sleeping platform, sitting area, bathroom and a modest kitchen. Later he added (apparently for a lady friend), a 400-square foot guest room. The home is beautifully situated on the mountain with the rose concrete block color blending into the surrounding rock and boulders almost perfectly.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Frey lived in Frey House II until his death in 1998, leaving the house and its contents to the Palm Springs Art Museum. He gave specific instructions that the house was to be used only for architectural study as inspiration in the future. He did not desire that the home be available to the general public, but specified it could be made available by arrangement. Lucky us.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Frey was an avid swimmer and made sure a beautiful pool was also included in the design. A pool is honestly a necessity in Palm Springs with summer temperatures climbing well over a hundred most days.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Benches were built into the concrete for gazing out over the view. And enjoying a cocktail or too, one must assume.


Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Everything is tightly designed and ship shape. The home's furniture is designed in place and boulders are used strategically in a corner of the sleeping area. You can see a dimmer switch in the side of the boulder. Frey wired it for light and electricity.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Most of the furniture is built-in and fits the space perfectly.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


How would you like to wake up to that view?

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Talk about bringing the outside in. the house's every wall is a sheet of glass. The lines between outside and inside are very blurry in this cozy mountain top hideaway.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013



Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


The kitchen is ship shape!

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Here is the sitting area. Elegant, simple, comfortable.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Built in phonograph. Frey must have liked his tunes.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


The globe is original and illuminated. All the fabric colors are Frey's, preserved in restoration. I only saw beige, blue and yellow. Turquoise Formica counter-tops are to die for and a wonderful contrast to the light wood cabinets.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


LOVE that Frey selected a pink bathroom for himself! He painted the corrugated ceilings blue symbolically to match the blue skies of Palm Springs.



The house serves as a private residence for persons in the field of architecture. I doubt Mr. Frey used a Waterpik.



A spot used for architectural plan storage.


Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Frey used this as a work area. I didn't ask if the rope chairs were original. Maybe?

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


And, the guest quarters. Peek-a-boo.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


And one final stop to see the view and a few more details before descending back down the hilltop.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013
See Mom in the distance?

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Metal front door but of course. Frey liked the contrast of metal with concrete. Corrugated metal roof is a tough substance able to withstand the punishments of the desert.

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013


Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Frey House II, Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013

Magnificent. Simply magnificent. I have toured a lot of homes in my day, but nothing quite like this.

More Palm Springs Modernism Week 2013 to come. The enthusiasm of the hosts combined with the beautiful architecture and landscape of Palm Springs, made this a perfect trip for modernist buffs. Or anyone who is a freak for houses. Like me.


Related #PSMW Posts

8 comments:

  1. Love the pic with your mom. I think we're going to head down Sunday. I am soooo jealous!!!! How did you find out about that tour? I'm defo going to jump on it next year so I can get the most out of the events. Awesome house. Love the lines, simplicity and color. It's perfect.

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    1. Brooke, do come next year! I'll meet you. I am going to keep posting for a few days. Honestly, it was pretty unbelievable. We bought the tickets in October and they were already starting to sell out. I stumbled on it last year because I was in PS in March and saw some of the leftover signage.

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  2. I love the simplicity and elegance of the Frey house. Knowing he lived for so long in that small space makes me even happier about moving into my apartment, which isn't a lot smaller than his original design.

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    Replies
    1. Dana --- YES! I thought of you and your new efficient small space. I can't wait to see it. The suspense is building.

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  3. Your photography captures the site (magnificent) and house (perfect).

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    Replies
    1. Thanks very much. I was really trying. After researching online I have learned that many photographers climb out to a boulder in front of the pool and photograph it. DANG! I missed the money shot. :)

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  4. Talk about built-in excellence...all of it!

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