So yesterday’s Glam is one way to do Palm Springs, but other big governing architecture of the times was the tract house, and specifically that of the California 50’s/60’s. Essentially tract housing just means that a larger piece of land (tract) was subdivided into multiple small pieces – i.e. a housing development at the core. Wikipedia also says this about tract housing:
In Palm Springs, these definitely have a “look” – low level, single level, barely any foundation – I guess in the dessert maybe you don’t need it? Some of the simpler ones are like mobile homes without the mobile, but the more established homes are essentially things that resemble the Brady residence from the Brady Bunch. While on a walk around the hotel property, I came across one of these housing parks, Safari Park – see pics in the Palm Springs by iphone post to come. I was one step short of knocking on the door to see inside, which apparently is a very Palm Springs thing to do as those who have restored homes are supposedly quite open about showing them (though I didn’t get that vibe at all when we drove by the Kaufmann House), but lost my nerve.
Luckily, Metropolitan Home, now part of Elle Decor, featured a restored one from 1962 a few years back and it came to mind. Since they coudln’t find photos of the original house, all they had to do was to walk up the street to a neighbor who had the same model and hadn’t made any changes in the past 40 years. What’s more, I think it’s great that the whole premise of this house is that it’s a “not so big house” (for any who have read the book). Here was the owner’s take:
This place is just the way a simple house should be,” Stewart sighs appreciatively. “There is so much over-the-topness now. Everything has to be so big. I see closets as big as my bedroom.” Like all Alexander houses, this one was designed for a real working family to enjoy indoor/outdoor living, and the bedroom’s sliding glass doors open out directly to the backyard.
All photography by John Ellis for Metropolitan Home (now Elle Decor).