A few weeks ago I went to Palm Springs, California for a wedding and I found myself in an architectural time warp. Because my husband was the best man, we were invited to stay with the bride and groom in the home they had rented, which also served as wedding venue. It was a glorious experience to live for three long sunny days inside a true mid-century modern time warp.
The Frederick Loewe Estate is a glass-walled, 5000 square-foot home built in 1956 for Frederick Loewe (you may have heard of the pair "Lerner and Loewe"), the composer behind such famous musicals as My Fair Lady, Gigi, Brigadoon and Camelot. He died in Palm Springs in 1988, and the home is no longer owned by his estate. So, it is unclear how much, if any, of the furniture is original. However, great pains have been made to preserve the aesthetic, with the original recording and stereo equipment, clubby bar area, fireplaces, appliances, and overall mid-century modern look intact.
Of course, the bathrooms have been updated and the house has all the modern amenities you would expect for such a pricey rental. And while I am not certain the dining room furniture (Image #4) is typical of the 1950s, sitting in that magnificent setting for breakfast was extraordinary.
The layout is ingenious; very open-plan and spacious, yet the bedrooms feel surprisingly private and remote. Set on a rocky hillside, the house offers 360 degree views of the San Jacinto Mountains, with the Coachella Valley below and fabulous landscaped grounds and paths all around. The architecture of homes like these in Southern California is quite remarkable; all of the glass and openness manage to seamlessly integrate the indoors with the surrounding landscape. It was hard for me to appreciate this until I spent sunrise to sunset inside such a home.
The master bedroom (Images 5 and 6), where the bride and groom stayed, was massive. I could hardly focus on the view because I was so amazed at the bed, which Loewe had installed on a turntable to be rotated to follow the sunset! Built-in quarter sawn book cases line the walls, one of which also features a groovy paneled gas fireplace.
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