I’ll never forget my initial glimpse. It was love at first sight.
Flashback to 1971, me on the edge of my seat – no mean feat because my legs dangled well above the floor of the movie theatre – Sean Connery’s James Bond battles leggy, bikini-clad assassins Thumper and Bambi in Diamonds Are Forever.
In hindsight, surely that was meant to be the main attraction, but for me it was, and ever will be Willard Whyte’s dessert retreat – John Lautner’s Elrod House.
Lautner born in 1911 in Marquette, Michigan received a liberal arts degree from Northern Michigan University and went on to study with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin. Although Lautner created some of the most iconic buildings in Los Angeles, my favorite of his works is The Elrod House in Palm Springs. Arthur Elrod, himself a prominent interior designer at the time, gave creative control to Lautner to work his magic on the Southridge lot sitting on top of the San Jacinto Hills. Built in 1968, it was later remodeled by Lautner in 1971.
On a recent visit to Palm Springs we dragged our travelling companions around on a mid-century modern tour of Palm Springs architecture (given the 106 degree temperatures they would have rather been sipping G&T poolside, but we’re very persuasive). We drove all around the hill, trying to get a clear glimpse of the property (by this time they were really wishing they’d voted for pool side). I casually commented that I was going to own it – one day. To which I got a less than encouraging response – but I can dream… right?
Have a look at http:/elrodhouse.org for photos and floor plan, and www.johnlautner.org for a biography and complete list of projects.