Steel Pre-Fab Homes Make Resurgence in Palm Springs

Blue Sky Building’s new pre-fabricated steel home now under construction in Palm Springs

“Today, people think of a large box looking like a trailer when you say ‘pre -fab home,'” said David McAdam of Blue Sky Building Systems. “But pre-fabricated steel homes really started with Don Wexler in 1961 when he built six or seven steel houses in Palm Springs.  The pre-fabricated steel pieces were brought in and assembled on site.” Continue reading “Steel Pre-Fab Homes Make Resurgence in Palm Springs”

Architect Lance O’Donnell Brings Modernism Into 21st Century

A fourth generation Coachella Valley resident, architect Lance O’Donnell understands the California desert from places too deep in his soul to excavate.

From childhood memories of wide open vistas, pristine blue skies against rugged mountains, days flooded with sunshine, and soft turquoise sunsets, Lance has absorbed more than the physical essence of desert living.

He also lived among and absorbed the inspired and innovative architecture created over the last half century by some of the world’s most gifted and notable architects:  Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, E. Stewart Williams, William Cody, and Don Wexler, with whom O’Donnell began an almost decade long collaboration in 2002.    Continue reading “Architect Lance O’Donnell Brings Modernism Into 21st Century”

South Palm Desert Mid-Century Modern Home Expanded, Transformed Into 21st Century Energy Efficient Classic

When Ralph W. Haverkate, a real estate broker specializing in Mid Century Modern homes, came across an abandoned but classic Mid-Century Modern home in south Palm Desert that was facing a short sale, he immediately called his wife Bettina Waldraff to come take a look.

“He wanted me to see the inside of the house with the true mid-century modern beam ceiling and big back yard with pool which our two Entlebucher Swiss Mountain dogs would love,” she said. “We both saw right away the potential of this property.” 

The couple called young up-and-coming architect Lance O’Donnell of O2 Architecture in Palm Springs, a protégé architect working with Donald Wexler.  They previewed several homes with O’Donnell to get his perspective and input. O’Donnell agreed that south Palm Desert house was a great location, within walking distance to El Paseo, and had “great bones and potential.” O’Donnell suggested leaving the existing ceiling and adding on a master suite to increase the house from approximately 1,900  to 2,500 square feet.

Their offer finally accepted, the Haverkates sealed the deal in November, 2009.  O’Donnell began his design that  maintained the house’s original architecture but meticulously reinvented its interior. Rarely is a house able to combine modern and vintage accents into a living work of art.

“Mid-April of last year, our project was underway,” said Bettina. “Moving along, the whole house was gutted down to the studs and just the old concrete floors and wood beam ceilings were left.”The remodel, executed by Barton Construction Palm Springs, kept the original wood post and beam construction and ceiling.  New air conditioning ducts and copper plumbing were installed under the original slab. The new roof and walls were fully insulated and the concrete floors throughout were restored and polished.

The new master suite bedroom/bathroom addition was designed with its roof tilted in the opposite direction of the existing roof line of the house to give it the mid-century modern “Butterfly Roof” look.

The kitchen was designed to be a focal point in the living space.  It features CAESARSTONE kitchen counter tops, white high gloss Wenge wood veneer cabinets and top-of-the-line MIELE dishwasher, oven, steamer, warming drawer, and built in espresso machine, with an energy efficient induction glass cook top and stainless steel hood. A SUBZERO refrigerator and 150 bottle SUBZERO wine fridge complete the kitchen appliances. “A long 10 feet dining table was a must since I like to cook and entertain friends and clients of Ralph’s,” said Bettina. “And a handmade crystal chandelier rounds up the dining area giving it a glamorous feel.” Continue reading “South Palm Desert Mid-Century Modern Home Expanded, Transformed Into 21st Century Energy Efficient Classic”

The Elrod House in Palm Springs is For Sale

Architect John Lautner’s Elrod House Now On the Market

Architect John Lautner’s iconic Arthur Elrod House ( is back on the market with a  price tag of more than $13 million.

The late architect, renowned for his organic structures, composed  this amazing home carved into the rugged Southridge foothills overlooking  Palm Springs in 1968.  The house has been featured extensively in lifestyle, architecture and design magazine articles ( and is best known  as the James Bond bachelor pad in Diamonds are Forever. It is one of three buildings in Palm Springs by Lautner:  Bob and Dolores Hope’s “space ship” domed home also on Southridge (1979) and the Desert Hot Springs Motel (1947).

The Elrod  house contains many Lautner hallmarks:  a difficult site, harsh environment, modest entrance that conceals soaring space, and rooms that conversely move between indoors and out.  The 8,901-square foot house possesses a daring Mid-Century design and breathtaking vistas. Continue reading “The Elrod House in Palm Springs is For Sale”

The West Coast’s Largest Design Event

West Coast’s Largest Design Show Celebrates the Best Modern Projects, Products and People.

If you can’t get enough Mid-Century Modern, do not miss Dwell On Design ( ), the West Coast’s largest design event, returning June 25-27 to the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Only a two-hour drive from Palm Springs.

Curated by the editors of Dwell Magazine, this three-day extravaganza features more than 200 brands on exhibition with design-forward exhibits, competitions, East and West side home tours, and over 80 presentations and panels by design industry  leaders and influencers. Continue reading “The West Coast’s Largest Design Event”

Wexler Weekend


Last night we went to Palm Springs to see the great Film “Journeyman Architect: The Life and Work of Donald Wexler” at Camelot Theatres. A 67-minute film produced by Design Onscreen followed by a brief Q&A with Wexler tribute journal author Patrick McGrew and architect Doug Hudson.


A clip from the documentary “Journeyman Architect: The Life and Work of Donald Wexler” released by Design OnScreen. The mission of Design Onscreen is to document and disseminate in some form of “film media” the work of significant designers and contemporary issues in design.


The Wexler Weekend House Tour is one of the best house tour values ever offered in Palm Springs. Highlights include Wexler tract homes in El Rancho Vista Estates, Wexler’s own Palm Springs home and Wexler-designed celebrity homes. The house tour will include 14 (yes 14!) houses ranging from tract homes to custom residences to spectacular celebrity homes. Architect Don Wexler’s original Palm Springs home is also included on the tour. The tour ends with stops at two rarely seen celebrity homes. The Wexler House Tour is a “must” event for all lovers of great residential architecture. Don’t miss it . click here for tickets:


All About Tamarisk Rancho in Rancho Mirage

Tamarisk Rancho is a premium neighborhood located in the heart of suburban Rancho Mirage adjacent to the Tamarisk Country Club. There are two clusters of 16 Mid-Century Modern homes enclosing  groomed, park-like green belts with tranquil views of mature fruit trees and date palms that may predate the development.  The 45-foot swimming pool at the center of this private oasis in the South cluster was advertised in 1958 as “one of the finest in Palm Springs.”  It was the scene of al fresco cocktail parties hosted by the likes of Barbara Sinatra, Groucho Marx and other Hollywood talent from in front and behind the camera.

Tamarisk Rancho is architecturally significant as a well designed and intact example of a property type apparently unique to Rancho Mirage and the Coachella Valley area. These are planned unit developments of privately owned single-family residences sharing grounds and a swimming pool (a Cooperative).

The three basic roof configurations are flat, low-pitched front gabled, or butterfly. The exteriors are stucco, natural rock, board and batten. Each house is approximately 1,900 square feet plus a garage, in a 3 bedrooms/3 bathroom floor plan, or 2 bedrooms plus den and 2 bathrooms. Continue reading “All About Tamarisk Rancho in Rancho Mirage”

247 Neutra in Alta, Palm Springs

Find the ultimate in this artfully furnished new-century masterpiece home by architect Narenda Patel in exclusive Alta, Palm Springs. The luxurious 4650 sf living space is on the largest lot with the best Mountain View. The Great Room double sided fireplace serves the kitchen and morning areas; living and dining areas and the sunken wet bar. The expanded master bedroom suite has a fireplace and sitting area, well separated from the two other bedroom suites. A detached guesthouse has two bedrooms and kitchenette. Features include an office, media room, custom front entry gate and water feature and electric sunshades. The South exposure outdoor living patio has ten foot high disappearing glass walls, pool and spa, fireplace, fire pit and built-in barbecue. The home and views will impress you every morning, day and particularly at night. Furnishings are available. Compare prices when adjusted for building and lot size.