PALM SPRINGS — Modernism Week, the annual festival that highlights midcentury modern architecture, art, interior and landscape design, and vintage culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, will offer tours of the Gillman Residence, a Modernism Week Showcase Home, and three Featured Homes during the 11-day event that runs February 13-23.

These stellar home tours still have availability and tickets may be purchased by clicking here. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Modernism Week (a non-profit organization) and other local preservation, neighborhood and community groups.

Showcase Home: Gillman Residence, 1948
Herbert W. Burns, Architectural Designer & Builder
Produced by: Thomboy Properties
Address: 574 W. Mariscal Road, Palm Springs
Dates Open: 2/14, 2/15, 2/16, 2/17, 2/20, 2/21, 2/22, 2/23
Cost: $40

The 1948 Herbert Burns-designed residence of Dr. and Mrs. Gillman in Palm Springs has been
described by architectural historian and author Steven Keylon as one of Burns’ “more lavish
homes.” Having been partially demolished and sitting neglected for many years, it was restored for
Modernism Week 2020 by the dynamic duo at Thomboy Properties. Inspired by the work of Frank
Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier in the style of Late Moderne, a precursor to what would later be
termed “Modernism,” Burns grounded the design of this home squarely in that vernacular:
horizontal lines with flat roofs, cantilevered overhangs, vertical pylons, screens, grids and planters.

Modernism Week

Gillman residence rendering

The Gillman residence was designed to take advantage of the natural beauty of the desert as well as the appealing climate. Burns captured the indoor-outdoor lifestyle by seamlessly running his trademark Santa Fe block from the outside all the way through to the inside of the home. He also added easy accessibility to the outside with wide horizontal overhangs for shade and sun
protection. To further blend into the Palm Springs environment he used natural materials such as wood and Arizona sandstone (which has been sandblasted and restored to its original finish). In
addition, Burns selected a color palette that mimicked the natural colors of the desert.

On the interior Burns focused on what Keylon describes as the “fundamentals of good living.” He designed a home that was functional, spacious and light filled. Located in Little Tuscany, this 4,700 square foot house sits on a generous ½-acre lot with a main house that encompasses 3 bedrooms and 3.5 baths and a 2 bedroom, 1 bath guest house. Participants are invited to join Modernism Week and its sponsor partners and tour this architectural gem that pays homage to the incomparable Herbert Burns.

Featured Homes
Each year, Modernism Week offers the opportunity for participants to tour restored or newly-built featured homes in the area that showcase vintage design seamlessly melded with contemporary fixtures and appliances. This year attendees may choose to tour three stunning featured homes.

Guggenheim House (1967)
Address: 2431 S. Yosemite, Palm Springs
Architect: Unknown, Produced by Grace Home Furnishings
Dates Open: February 14-16
Cost: $30

Modernism Week

Guggenheim house front

This breathtaking project by Michael Ostrow of Grace Home Furnishings is a 1967 architectural gem that has refurbished to stunningly capture modern Palm Springs style. Sited on a quarter-acre lot, the 2,800 square foot home includes four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a beautiful pool and spa. The interior spaces feature a seamless blend of contemporary furnishings and vintage pieces, and the bold color palette expertly mixes pattern and texture to achieve a fun yet sophisticated atmosphere that embodies the carefree Palm Springs lifestyle. Long time lovers of the Palm Springs aesthetic, the owners aspired to create a haven from their busy lives in the city and also offer guests the chance to experience the beauty and relaxation of the desert. Dubbed the “Guggenheim House” in honor of the legendary Gigi Guggenheim, the home is located in the prestigious Indian Canyons neighborhood, which boasts deep midcentury roots and distinctive architecture. The neighborhood has also been home to many celebrities, including Frank Sinatra and Walt Disney.

Miles Bates “Wave” House (1955)
Architect: Walter S. White
Produced by: Stayner Architects
Address: 73697 Santa Rosa Way, Palm Desert Dates open: February 21-23, 2020
Cost: $30

The Miles Bates House—known as the Wave House for its curving roof that mimics the San Jacinto mountains behind it—is being opened publicly for the first time since its remarkable restoration. Designed in 1955, it was one of more than forty houses in and around Palm Desert designed by local-born Walter S. White, an architect and inventor who had worked for Rudolph Schindler and Albert Frey as well as Douglas Aircraft. While many of White’s works have been lost, his designs and inventive construction techniques, such as the roller-coaster roof here, were influential to the later development of a mid-century modern architecture adapted for the harsh environment of the Coachella Valley.

In 2018 this home became the first Palm Desert Landmark to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Purchased that spring by Stayner Architects, a family-run architecture and development firm based in Los Angeles, the Wave House has been lovingly and meticulously restored to Walter White’s original designs.

Wave House rendering

Wave House rendering

Mesa Modern (2019)
Produced by: Juniper House
Address: 1955 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA
Dates open: February 15-17, 21-23
Cost: $30

This contemporary extraordinary indoor/outdoor masterpiece gains its inspiration from a global perspective on art, architecture, and interior and landscape design. Produced by Juniper House, Mesa Modern features the work of interior designer Michelle Boudreau and highlights unique international and local artists, artisans and talent.

Mesa Modern exemplifies Palm Springs’ transformation from midcentury modern to contemporary architecture and design. The city’s new design movement is represented in this newly constructed home that emphasizes outstanding architecture and stunning outdoor spaces at the base of the beautiful San Jacinto mountains. Highlighting unique international and local artists, artisans and talent, this home celebrates the quintessential desert lifestyle of relaxed living.

Modernism Week’s signature 11-day event will take place February 13-23, 2020. To receive updates, visit modernismweek.com and sign up for Modernism Weekly, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The Hilton Palm Springs Resort, Modernism Week’s official host hotel, is offering a special room rate for a limited time only. Contact them directly at 760-320-6868.

Image Sources

  • Gillman residence rendering: O'Bayley Communications
  • Guggenheim house front: OBayley Communications
  • Guggenheim house entry: O'Bayley Communications