Sunday, March 2, 2014

#psmw mod goes modern: celebrity homes in vista las palmas historical walking tour

Well, of course I went to Palm Springs Modernism Week. And, of course I have drool worthy photographs to share.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

Let's kick it off with a walking tour of Palm Springs' historic star studded Vista Las Palmas neighborhood. My mom and I started off at 9AM on a beautiful Palm Springs morning on Monday, February 17, 2014.


I took notes on my iPhone as we headed off on the tour so that I could properly notate my pictures. **Ahem** Steve Jobs spell correct strikes again. My notes are, at best, cryptic. But I will try and hopefully Mom will chime in once this posts.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


The whole Vista Las Palmas area is stunning. Last year we did a bus tour (more appropriately a hedge tour) and whipped through this neighborhood. Much better on foot. I took many pictures of the inspiring mid-century homes and yards. When I can remember the famous person that once lived there, I'll clue ya in.

I think this was pointed out as a Krisel but I am not sure of the famous person. Maybe, possibly Debbie Reynolds. Or the one above. This is the right spot in the notes and her house looked kind of like this.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

From the neighborhood website:
In Vista Las Palmas, the firm of Palmer and Krisel, as well as architect Charles Dubois, designed approximately 330 homes. William Krisel contributed his iconic “butterfly” roof houses, a folded plate roof design, and several others. Charles Dubois created the distinctive “Swiss Miss” A-frame, among others. The mix of designs creates one of the most varied, yet cohesive neighborhoods in Palm Springs, and it is always a stop on any architectural tour of the area.
I love the entry on this home. The rock from the San Jacinto mountains is all over the housing development.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


There were so many celebrities living in a few square miles that they must have been literally tripping all over each other. Our guide shared that Palm Springs became a celebrity rich nook of the country due to several reasons in no particular order:
  • Proximity to the studios ... apparently movie stars under studio contract needed to stay within two hours distance (interesting),
  • The ridiculously good winter weather,
  • Tolerance of drugs, booze, gays,
  • And, finally, a discreet citizenry who left celebrities alone.
An original Charles Dubois Swiss Miss.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Swiss Miss

At this point I need to confess that I have forgotten the name of our Palm Springs Historical Society tour guide. He did a fantastic job and we loved his inside information. He always cited his sources, and confessed to any theories of his own making. He mentioned that there are only 15 Swiss Misses, and the owners have their own club (which made me giggle a little). Originally, the Swiss Miss style was considered a bit pedestrian, but has now become classic, partially due to its rarity. I think they are adorable.

This is Marilyn Monroe's former home.

Marilyn Monroe House Palm Springs Rancho Las Palmas
Marilyn Monroe House Palm Springs Rancho Las Palmas

Loved the brutalist mailbox.

Brutalist Mailbox Rancho Las Palmas Palm Springs
Brutalist Mailbox Rancho Las Palmas Palm Springs

The orange gate, the block walls and grey paint are so now vs. mid-century. Back in the day they may have used light paint and pastels. However, this look is stunning and I covet it.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

The ironwork on the gate and carport are perfect. And it is Sydney Sheldon's house!

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


The turquoise door and concrete pavers take my breath away. As does the natural rock wall and the slanted roof. A Krisel for sure.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


This is Nat King Cole's house. His daughter lived here as well. So unassuming.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Excellent desert landscaping.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Swiss Miss alert!

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Nobody famous but I loved the house back in its grove of Palm Springs trees. We planted one of the green ones in the foreground. I so want it to grow but the snails love it.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Elvis Presley famously honeymooned in the "House of the Future," by Palmer and Krisel. From the link, I absolutely need to get inside this house. Someday.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Elvis Presley Honeymoon Hideaway


Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Elvis Presley Honeymoon Hideaway

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Elvis Presley Honeymoon Hideaway

These are waterfall steps and apparently when you flip a switch, water rushes down.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Elvis Presley Honeymoon Hideaway

Plan from our tour guide, more at About.com.


Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Elvis Presley Honeymoon Hideaway

Neighbor and also a beautiful home.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

This all white house is ahh-mazing. At some point, I may rip down our stucco wall and put up some mid-century modern concrete block. Retro Renovation has great sources.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

This house was pointed out as a Krisel.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

And then the owner pulled out in his Studebaker Avanti.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Swiss Miss!

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Another entryway that I admired.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

Swiss Miss cutey-pie.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Concrete block and awesome wrought iron work. Yellow front door is very Palm Springs.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


I doubt this gate is 50's but it is sooo cool and appropriate to the neighborhood.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Because of our landscaping project, I was especially on the lookout for good desert landscaping. This is quite nice.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Many of the historic neighborhoods have special signs designating them. Easy to spot!

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


I took a few pictures of this home. This is Dean Martin's original home. Our tour guide ended many of his speeches about stars' homes in relation to Frank Sinatra who was a big presence in Palm Springs. Dean and Frank had a falling out when Dean was devastated over the death of his son and put on a poor performance in one of Frank's shows. The saying is, "And he never spoke to him again." I guess Frank had a rather petty and vindictive side. My mom said this was pretty well known, even back in the day.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

More wonderful concrete block.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


This is the entry to Peter Lawford's home and said to be the the site of a Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe rendezvous. Lawford married Pat Kennedy and Lawford introduced Marilyn to the Kennedy brothers. The home is assumed to be a Krisel. Frank was pissed off that Kennedy stayed with Lawford and he "never spoke to him again."

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

I loved this home and the gates.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Here is a weird one. This is the house Patty Hearst stayed in to recover after her prison time and the site of a scene from Behind the Candelabra.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


And, this broken down pool was pointed out but I forget why! Terrible shape and a big estate. Mom thinks it was one of the studio heads homes. Like one of the Warner brothers or something. Sounds about right.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014


Every tour bus stops here. Interesting fact: these are the same Kaufmann's of FallingWater and Frank Lloyd Wright fame. Apparently Wright was angry that he didn't get the commission for this home. Which became, easily, the most important and famous piece of architecture in Palm Springs. Very interesting history of the house here.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Kaufmann House, Neutra


Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Kaufmann House, Neutra

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Kaufmann House, Neutra

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Kaufmann House, Neutra

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Kaufmann House, Neutra


This is the Frank Sinatra Twin Palms estate (versus the home Sinatra built for Kennedy to stay in, long story and led to not speaking to Peter Lawford).

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Sinatra Twin Palms


See the famous "Twin Palms?" Apparently I cut them just off at the top. Boo.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Sinatra Twin Palms

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Sinatra Twin Palms


Covert operation. I popped my camera over the wall. Don't judge as I know it is tilty.

Walking Tour, Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014, Sinatra Twin Palms

Great walking tour and I highly recommend. Thank you Palm Spring Historical Society! I have a few more posts up my sleeve. The Signature Home tour was absolutely outstanding!

Related #PSMW Posts

17 comments:

  1. So many gorgeous homes in one place! That's truly a little piece of heaven on earth. I'm going to go over this post with a fine toothed comb so I'm sure I don't miss anything. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Isn't it amazing? My mom and I were contemplating this as well. The homes sprung up out of nowhere and then post 70's Palm Springs fell out of favor. It became really run down with other desert communities being more desirable. In essence, Palm Springs became a time capsule and was rediscovered in the late 90's... or somewhere thereabouts.

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  2. Beautiful Post. Love the pics. Thanks for sharing! I didn't get to go this year....so I shall survive on your posts.

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    Replies
    1. I have at least two or three really nice homes to show you. You'll love them. One of my favorites is a new home, done in the style of mid-century modern with real modern features. So cool.

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  3. My computer is taking an age to load all your pics Rebecca. I've only seen the first ten and I'm in ecstacy! I will come back and look at the others later. Just wanted to let you know...
    I love that Brutalist mail box. I want to do this tour one day, before I drop off the perch. I am adding it to my bucket list.

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    1. I noticed they were slow on my side too. I wonder what I did now? :)

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  4. Please do keep the posts coming. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    Replies

    1. Absolutely! I love to share mid-century beauty.

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  5. Hi there!
    I'm an architecture student and am currently studying mid-century houses in Palm Spring (in particular the work of Krisel), and found your post really interesting- loved the pics!
    I was just wondering where you got the plans for the 'House of the Future' / if you had a digital copy at all?
    Thanks so much!

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    Replies
    1. That plans were in the notebook of our tour guide, a docent from the Palm Springs Historical Society. I bet they could help you! Unfortunately I don't have a copy but I did take a picture of it for the post.

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  6. Score with this post! I missed this tour, and I'll miss the sold-out Phx MCM tour, too...thanks for sharing this one.

    Frank - my late parents never liked him for 1-2 things, even though they were in that generation and both Italian immigrants, but I knew nothing about his vengeful side. I still think his music is timeless, so I'll leave it at that. My favorite part of your post may be the covert, "tilty" pic of his old house's back garden area - yes! I did some of that in need of posting at a "cameras not allowed" home tour in Marfa...

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    1. Score is right. What a great tour. I so thoroughly enjoyed it. And the landscaping was beyond inspirational. I knew you would like it.

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  7. If you haven't already done so, drive over to Vista Las Palmas at night. Many of the houses there have spectacular night lighting of the front elevations and landscaping.

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