Indian Canyon Neighborhood Tour
Indian Canyons has one of the largest number of Mid-Century Modern homes in Palm Springs, and has participated in the neighborhood tour of homes since its inception.
ICNOs Modernism tour is a large job and takes a group of dedicated people to talk to homeowners and secure 6-8 tour homes. Find 60+ volunteers to serve as docents in our tour homes, and manage the communication required to sell 460 tickets. A huge thank you to all of the volunteers that supported our modernism 2023, and especially our Chairman and Board Committee leaders, Mark Gold and Thomas Sims.
1606 Via Estrella
The house was designed by architect Harold L. (Hal) Lacy and built by Paul Butler in 1971. It was one of the original houses in what was then known as the Canyon Country Club. Lacy created a decidedly Hawaiian vibe – he was known for incorporating distinctly unusual architectural styles based on his client’s requests. Consider his other projects on Via Estrella: 1515 with its slanted greenhouse windows and 1275 with its Moroccan twist.
The roof represents a departure for Lacy. It is commonly referred to as a “Dickey Roof,” named after its designer, C. W. Dickey (1877-1942). Dickey, who was born in Maui, Hawaii, obtained his architecture training at M.I.T., and moved to Oakland, CA where he enjoyed a 20-year practice before returning to Hawaii. The unique style, inspired by Native Hawaiian buildings, is technically a double pitch roof with the top portion being at a higher pitch than the lower. Although it was introduced with high winds and sudden drenching rainfall in mind, the Dickey Roof provides space for insulation to protect from the high summer heat, so is well suited for our hot desert climate. Additionally, the deep overhangs protect the house from direct sunlight.
In 1983, the then-owner dramatically changed the original structure by adding 665 square feet of new space, expanding most rooms and adding a half-bath. The residence is now 2,584 square feet.
The current owners purchased the property in 2018, embarking on a five-year renovation that included new HVAC, electrical systems, flooring, kitchen, bathrooms and wallcoverings along with a new pool.
Their choice of a muted khaki exterior adds a Zen-like softness and sets the house apart from its neighbors. What was once a kitschy and “colorful” vacation rental now reflects the quiet sophistication of a year round home.
1131 Sierra Way
Designed by renowned architect William Krisel, the incredible midcentury compound on prestigious Caliente Drive on the Indian A striking 14-foot-tall colonnade defines this iconic 1971 house, creating a covered 40-foot walkway from the entry gate. The colonnade leads to the original oversized Hollywood Regencystyle double doors with ornate chrome door pulls. The remarkable entry earned the house a full-page photo in the introduction to the book Palm Springs Weekend. Like many homes in Indian Canyons, it was designed by Hal Lacy and developed by Paul Butler.
With its rectilinear geometry and large floor-to-ceiling planes of glass, the long colonnade seems to continue straight through and beyond the house, reflected in an upper window as a mirage. In their renovation, current owners, interior designer Michael Bourque and husband Jerome Joseph Gentes, were inspired by that mirage – to playfully draw and expand upon it, for example, through the use of bright white polished porcelain floors that reflect the blue skies above and make the whole house seem to float in mid-air. The living room splits into two levels. The ground floor entertainment space flows seamlessly from the pool patio and features a new wet bar with polished white acrylic cabinetry that seems to disappear, another mirage. The upper level is connected by a new steel and hardwood floating staircase. Here, Bourque contrasted the rectilinear geometry with a round custom sectional sofa and coffee table to create a warm conversational center around the new fireplace. Expansive floor-to-ceiling-height windows and sliding doors provide a panorama of the fairways and the stunning San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains. The 2014 renovations made the home functional for today’s living. The small, closed-off kitchen was reconfigured to double its size, adding a panoramic window view of the mountains. A bedroom off the garage was converted into two home offices with pool views and a glass-walled corridor that makes the space bright, welcoming and functional. An eclectic collection of abstract, surreal, and graffiti art, as well as punchy accent wall wallpaper radiate a vibrant energy. Outside, tranquil fountains, firepits, and a private garden create a peaceful desert oasis.
2408 Yosemite Drive
The original structure was built in 1969. The architect was Hank Webber who designed a total of five houses in the Indian Canyons neighborhood, including the houses on each side of 2408. The side and rear elevations remain roughly as they were, except for minor modifications for the addition of air conditioning. The front facade is a later addition to the house. The white block wall at the right is 15’ west of the original white block wall, which can still be seen in the second master bedroom suite, now used as a home office, that now exists between the old exterior wall and the new. There was once a semicircular driveway that also terminated at an entrance to the garage on its south side. Some subtle scars in that stucco facade, now an entry courtyard wall, indicate where the entrance once was. The entire courtyard was created during this period of change, as was the new entry to the garage cut into the west facade. That was the state of the house when the current owner bought it in 2018.
Starting in 2018, new glazing was added to the four slot openings on the west facade. The gap at the top of the glass was lined up with the soffit of the new garage opening to provide, among other benefits, an alignment that brought improved architectural order to the new facade. In the interior the major changes in 2018 were the creation of two marble fireplace surrounds at the existing gas fireboxes, as the original 1969 surrounds (probably white block) were long ago destroyed. The major exterior changes include a completely new pool, new wall sconces, improvements to the two gazebos, new tile patios amidst the existing square concrete slabs and significant modifications and additions to the existing planting. The entire fundamental interior design refresh in 2018, as well as modifications to the landscape design of the front yard, were directed by local interior designer and contractor Javier Echenique, with the active involvement of the owner, Ted Chapin, who is a retired architect and now an assemblage sculptor. All of the assemblage sculptures on display throughout the house are by Ted, who is represented by Melissa Morgan
2423 Alhambra Drive
Built in 1963, this is one of the homes designed by Hal Lacy and built by developer Boris Gertzen after Gertzen completed the Canyon Country Club in 1961 (now the Indian Canyons Golf Resort). The house still retains its original floorplan.
After acquiring the home in 2019, the current owners removed an ill-suited Mansard roof over the front entry, which was a later addition, and restored the iconic tall entry featured by many of the homes in Indian Canyons.
The wood lattice and stone columns in front are notable features of the house, and the “Satel-Lite” patterned breezeblock shading the dining patio is unique in Palm Springs. Situated on the 8th fairway of the Indian Canyons North Golf Course and facing west, the house features open views of the San Jacinto mountains. Except for the Washingtonia palms and two citrus trees, all of the existing landscaping and hardscaping in the front and back were replaced with designs that merge the desert with more formal east coast landscaping, where the owners have another home. With luck, the row of Nuccio’s “Diamond” camellias will be in bloom for the tour.
The décor is a combination of contemporary and vintage furnishings, which give the interiors a subtle mid-century modern appearance. The owners’ collections of vintage Blenko Glass, other mid-century glass and ceramics, and contemporary photography and art are prominently displayed in every room. The large-scale brass sculpture fitting perfectly over the fireplace, which the owners found online, is attributed to Curtis Jere – and they like to imagine that it was originally designed for this space.
2622 Calle Palo Fierro
Designed by Raymond Levanas, A.I.A., this recently renovated house was previously owned as a vacation home since its construction in 1961 by the Chasens, proprietors of one of Los Angeles’s most famous restaurants of the same name. The current owners purchased the home from the Chasen family in 2020, and reverently renovated it from top to bottom with the help of Michelle Boudreau Design.
The care and design-eye that went into transforming this landmark home will be evident when you visit. Photos of the house from the 1960s and 1970s are dotted throughout the home and will show how the updates and restorations sought to retain the charm and unique characteristics of this Hollywood Regency, mid-century modern while bringing the functionality and design aesthetics of the home into the current era with top-of-the-line finishes and details.
Every single room in this bright and airy house has mountain views, and a wall of Fleetwood windows in the back of the house opens onto one of the most beautiful sections of the golf course, giving the illusion of an infinite backyard – a backyard still full of features original to the house, including a fiddle fig plant that was the signature of a famous Beverly Hills architect of the time, a citrus grove the fruits of which the Chasens used for making their famous cocktails for their famous friends, a family of tiled pool turtles, and Hollywood Regency twin pergolas at either end of the pool held up by Roman columns (inspired by the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome).
2653 Calle Palo Fierro
This elegant house is a 1970s “contemporary modern” which forms part of the broader modernist movement in Palm Springs that grew out of popular mid-century designs. The architect was Hungarian-born Laszlo Sandor. According to Sidney Williams, former curator of architecture and design for the Palm Springs Art Museum, Sandor joined William F. Cody’s firm in 1965, initially as an apprentice and then became a principal. While in Cody’s office he worked on a variety of important commissions, including St. Theresa Catholic Church, Palm Springs Public Library, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Plaza Racquet Club (since demolished) and Steve Chase’s home on Camino Mirasol in Las Palmas. From 1976-79 he designed the Canyon South III, IV and V condominium projects, and Vista Canyon in 1980. Several private homes are also on his project list. The design for the adjacent Canyon South IV (now called Canyon Springs) included 19 condominium units as well as the two houses on Calle Palo Fierro, this address and 2675; neither of the free-standing houses is part of the condo association.
Sandor’s 2,671 sq. ft. 3-bedroom residence, similar in design to the adjacent condos, was first lived in by the sales manager for the condo development and may have served as the sales office. The present owners bought the house in 2018 and renovated it to correct for two decades of prior use for weekly rentals as a party house. The house was mostly restored to its original design, keeping the original footprint, other than extending the kitchen into an abutting den, and blending mid-century modern and contemporary modern style elements.
On display is an extensive collection of paintings by noted California plein air artist Joseph Frey (1892-1977). Not only was Frey a prolific painter, but he also worked as a chef in Palm Springs. Joseph Frey – Biography (askart.com)
2700 Calle Palo Fierro
Originally a mid-century design built in 1970 on the 5th fairway of the historic North Course, this 3,100 sq. ft., fourbedroom, fourbathroom, mountainview home was transformed to Spanish colonial style in the 1990s.
The current owners bought the property in 2012 and managed a down-to-thestuds renovation in 2020 to realize their vision of a “Modern Moroccan” aesthetic. It was no small feat to make this happen at the very start of a worldwide pandemic while living remotely.
A true labor of love, the house was renovated over the course of a year by local businesses – Van Dijk Construction in partnership with design by Grace Home Furnishing. The result is a clean fresh palette updated with distinctive Moroccan influences. The three-bedroom plus casita home has a chef’s kitchen with a pass through to an outdoor dining area with tile accent wall and a gorgeous travertine pool courtyard.
The outdoor living spaces embody the Palm Springs lifestyle of leisure and entertaining surrounded by mountain views and the beauty of the desert.