the hutchens residence

palm springs, california

Located at 1177 East Mesquite Avenue, this single-story residence designed by modernist master architects Richard Harrison and Don Wexler, was completed in 1954. The Hutchens Residence is an important example of a modernist structure, and it exhibits numerous character-defining features that place it within the historic context of the Palm Springs modern period, and the early period of Wexler & Harrison’s career. The location of the Hutchens Residence is within a residential district of Palm Springs known as Deep Well Ranch Estates. It is a neighborhood of an estimated 209 homes. The house was built by Robert “Bob” Higgins. The four-bedroom, three-bathroom house of approximately 3,458 S.F, with its length across the width of the lot, its primary livability facing the rear yard and pool, with an extraordinary view of the mountains. Cecil Hutchens was the business manager of oil tycoon George Cameron Jr. Cameron was quite influential in Palm Springs; he owned the Desert Sun newspaper, a local radio station, and built the famous Cameron Center down the street from the subject property. Cecil Hutchens and his wife, Charlotte, purchased the house while it was under construction, in 1953.

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southridge house

palm springs, california

Southridge is one of the most exclusive and historic estates in Palm Springs. Development on the steep hill began in the early 1960s. Its spectacular site overlooking the Coachella Valley spurred designers like John Lautner to create the area’s most dramatic properties: the legendary Bob Hope and Arthur Elrod houses. William F. Cody and Hugh Kaptur also designed homes there and the community attracted stars like Steve McQueen and William Holden. This home, originally designed by the local team of Patten & Wild is one of the first homes to be built in Southridge. It is a simple California ranch style with a hip roof and concrete shingles. Original breeze-blocks still wrap around the lower level, where the architect has created her studio. The house has been gutted internally and the floor plan has been reworked, removing a clumsy lower-level addition that detracted from the home’s outlook, re-siting pool equipment, and returning the property to its minimal design. The house embraces the landscape, blurring the boundaries of interior and exterior, with the exterior being equally important. “The best design goes unnoticed…the eye carries beyond the house.” The home had interiors more suited to Beverly Hills than the desert, so beige marble was removed in favor of poured terrazzo. A previously secluded kitchen now opens to the tremendous views. Bathrooms feature original vintage tile and are updated with new fittings and Dornbracht hardware that matches the Crane originals. The neutral color palette throughout provides a soft backdrop for classic midcentury furniture by Eames, Saarinen and Mies van der Rohe. Outside the landscape has also been reworked and simplified with desert plantings.