Desert Seren­ity

Atomic Ranch - - Contents - Writ­ten and Styled by Sarah Jane Stone Pho­tog­ra­phy by Chad Mel­lon

A care­ful restora­tion, muted tones and a lov­ingly cu­rated col­lec­tion has re­vived a mid­cen­tury mar­vel.

Famed ar­chi­tect Don­ald Wexler, along with the Alexan­der Com­pany, cre­ated this quiet Palm Springs neigh­bor­hood of sprawl­ing desert homes in 1965.

Cur­rent own­ers Dean Wil­liams and Daryle Mor­gan, an HR ex­ec­u­tive and a land­scape ar­chi­tect, have lov­ingly cared for the home since 2008. Their pas­sion for mid­cen­tury de­sign runs deep, and

A care­ful restora­tion, muted tones and a lov­ingly cu­rated col­lec­tion has re­vived a mid­cen­tury mar­vel.

the cou­ple cred­its Daryle’s love of the Arts & Crafts move­ment as its foun­da­tion. Dean and Daryle sur­round them­selves with their love for mid­cen­tury de­sign—as ev­i­denced by the fact that this is the sec­ond mid­cen­tury va­ca­tion home they’ve owned in Palm Springs and that their pri­mary res­i­dence in Berke­ley also falls into their fa­vorite de­sign style.


While do­ing what the cou­ple de­scribes as a “ca­sual search of MLS list­ings,” they spot­ted a photo of the fire­place and were hooked. “We had to see the house that was at­tached to that fire­place!” they say.

They were fur­ther drawn in by the home’s blurred line of in­door/out­door liv­ing, its walls of glass and clean lines. A fam­ily room was added to the lay­out in the 1980s, bring­ing the three bed­room, three bath­room home’s square footage up to 2,224.

Upon mov­ing into the golf course adjacent res­i­dence, the cou­ple be­gan mak­ing care­ful changes—be­ing mind­ful not to al­ter the char­ac­ter of the build­ing, but rather to subltly up­date it to suit their life­style.

Their first projects took place in the interior—open­ing a wall be­tween the din­ing room and addition, and re­paint­ing and in­stalling car­pet through­out. Out­side, they re­moved the lawn and shrubs, opt­ing in­stead for more desert-friendly land­scap­ing of gravel and suc­cu­lents. They also painted the en­tire ex­te­rior and added pe­riod-ap­pro­pri­ate wood lou­vers in front of the bed­room win­dows for sun pro­tec­tion and pri­vacy.


Dean and Daryle kept all the orig­i­nal fea­tures they in­her­ited with the home, in­clud­ing interior and ex­te­rior rock walls and the stun­ning white fire­place that first caught their eye.

stan­dard KARLSTAD couch. Krys dyed the white slip­cover pas­tel pink, tufted the back cush­ions by hand and then added ta­pered legs for a more au­then­tic sil­hou­ette. The cof­fee table/ot­toman is crafted from a VITTSJÖ nest­ing table that was spray-painted gold and topped with foam, up­hol­stered in green vel­vet. She also painted the back­board on a white VALJE shelf to create a col­or­ful home bar.

“When­ever I get some­thing from Ikea, I hack it to have more flair and style,” she says. “Those are my most pop­u­lar posts, be­cause peo­ple love Ikea, and when they find out they can change things for just a lit­tle bit more money, it be­comes a great re­source.”


Know­ing that furniture alone wouldn’t achieve the look she was af­ter, Krys also asked her land­lord’s per­mis­sion to swap out lighting and hard­ware. He agreed, so long as she promised to re­place the orig­i­nal fix­tures be­fore the cou­ple’s next move.

Adding a Sputnik chandelier above the din­ing table and match­ing wall sconce in the bed­room van­ity gave the rental in­stant mid­cen­tury ap­peal. Krys also used mod-friendly re­mov­able pee­land-stick wall­pa­per through­out the apart­ment, in­clud­ing a fes­tive lemon print in the kitchen, trop­i­cal leaves in the bath­room and a goldand-white geo­met­ric pat­tern in the bed­room. She dressed up the closet doors by cre­at­ing a di­a­mond pat­tern with metal­lic foil tape and

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