Of all the things Palm Springs is known for, its architecture tops the list. From retro-inspired spaces to sleek, modern mansions, Coachella Valley homes and Palm Springs real estate are nothing short of stunning. Generally speaking, life in the desert is like taking a step back in time to an era where glamour was a given. The architecture is focused less on futuristic features and more on the preservation of classic design.
To truly appreciate the architecture of some of the most famous homes and buildings in the valley, take a self-guided tour to see the mid-century modern highlights. Modernism Week also provides an insider’s look into the vintage style unique to the Coachella Valley. This popular, annual event attracts people from all over the world interested in the education and sustainability of midcentury design. Or, simply take a drive through the neighborhoods of Palm Springs to enjoy some of the most beautiful mansions in California. It’s likely you’ll see the work of architects Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, E. Stewart Williams, and John Lautner. They were all well-known for introducing the “desert modernism” that characterizes the area today.
It’s easy to see why the old Hollywood’s elite considered Palm Springs their own personal playground. Now we can see where and how they lived while they were here.
Twin Palms Estate
The Rat Pack spirit lives on in Palm Springs. No matter where you turn, you’ll find glory day reminders of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. Sinatra’s former estate was known as being a Hollywood party place, but also for a few outrageous fights (with his first and second wives) as well. Despite the drama, sitting poolside at a home that’s such a strong part of history doesn’t sound too bad. It’s the perfect backdrop for a pool party, wedding reception, or a relaxing getaway. Price tag to rent the space: $2,200 – $3,900 per night.
Marilyn Monroe’s Home
Monroe’s icon status over the decades has shown just how much of a staple she was to the Hollywood scene and her Palm Springs real estate embodies the true Coachella Valley style. Known best for her roles in Some Like It Hot, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, and The Seven Year Itch, she was equally known for her love affairs with Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. Her former bungalow home on Rose Ave., where she lived with DiMaggio, is less of a mansion, but rather, a tucked away spot among palm trees and greenery for a true desert hideaway.
attribute: provided photo by Val Riolo
Cary Grant’s Palm Springs estate hit the real estate market again in 2016. The Spanish Colonial-style home is 5,300 square-feet, white stucco, blue shutters, and the initialed gate of the former actor. It has multiple living spaces with wooden floors, decorated tiles, and the Palm Springs must have for homes, a pool out back. It’s also been listed by the city as a Class One Historic Site.
Piazza de Liberace
As much as Palm Springs is known for its understated elegance, Liberace’s home takes it up a notch (or 10) with grandiose, opulent features such as vintage candelabras, Roman statutes in the front, and a piano-shaped mailbox. A quirky extra of the home found by one-time owners was 7,000 bricks painted green, which were found under the flooring. This grand “piazza” was one of four Palm Springs homes the exuberant musician owned. In 2015, it was opened to the public as part of Palm Springs Modernism Week.
Steve McQueen’s House
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Want to rest your head where “The King of Cool” once called home? For a hefty chunk of change, you can. His Palm Springs estate is for sale to the tune of $4.6 million, which really is quite a deal when you think of the star power of the home and its stunning architecture. Featured architectural highlights include a floating staircase, an eat-in kitchen, and sliding glass doors to the private back patio and pool. Dark paneling and flooring embodies the rugged masculinity the actor was known for, but it’ll be the preference of the next owner if they want to lighten things up.
What’s It Like to Call Palm Springs Home
The ebb and flow of the housing market is nothing new. The typical selling season begins in late spring and heads into summer for most of the country, but in Palm Springs, late spring is when the season peaks.
Buyers are often looking to the Coachella Valley for their second home, a place to retreat from harsh winters. There’s been a significant boost to home sales, which surged in Palm Springs, by 61.5% year-over-year, in the $500,000 market segment. However, regardless if you consider Palm Springs your permanent vacation or want to visit for a weekend away, it’s no wonder why so many have considered it home.