the kirk douglas residence

palm springs, california

The home of actor Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne, is located at 515 West Via Lola, Old Las Palmas, in Palm Springs and was originally owned by Robert Howard, and his wife, screen actress Andrea Leeds. Currently, tucked behind stone walls and gates, the estate centers on a low-slung main house originally designed by modernist master architects, Wexler & Harrison, completed in 1954. The Kirk Douglas Residence is an important example of a custom modernist structure, and it exhibits numerous character-defining features that place it within the historic context of Palm Springs modern period. Kirk Douglas is not only an internationally acclaimed actor, he is a Palm Springs icon. He actively participated with the Palm Springs community for over forty years.

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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.