Sunny in Palm Springs

Atomic Ranch - - Contents -

His­tory meets pas­sion when a cou­ple’s love for mod­ernism pre­serves a uniquely orig­i­nal home.

Peter Moruzzi, ar­chi­tec­tural his­to­rian and au­thor of pic­to­rial his­tory books such as Palm­springspar­adise:vin­tagepho­tographs­fro­mamer­ica’sdesert Play­ground, and Lau­ren Le­baron, di­rec­tor of ac­count­ing in the health­care in­dus­try, bought their desert home in 1998. The three bed­room, three bath­room, 2,600-square-foot home be­gan as a sec­ond home, but be­came their full-time res­i­dence in 2017.

as close to its orig­i­nal de­sign as pos­si­ble. As a for­mer rental, ren­o­va­tions to the home were es­sen­tially nonex­is­tent, giv­ing Peter and Lau­ren, who are its third own­ers, the retro pad of their dreams.

Upon mov­ing in, the cou­ple got to work re­mov­ing paver tiles, worn car­pet­ing and plan­ta­tion shut­ters. They re­placed the sprin­kler sys­tem, re­freshed the land­scap­ing, added a square con­crete block wall and re­paired the cracked con­crete pool deck. They also re­placed the orig­i­nal gal­va­nized pipes with cop­per and re­lo­cated them from the con­crete slab to the up­per crawl space so the pipes wouldn’t be vis­i­ble on the roof.

The cou­ple re­moved the cracked drive­way in fa­vor of a steel-re­in­forced con­crete drive­way and re­placed the gas pipes, as well as the leak­ing roof and flash­ing. While the roof was open for the lat­ter re­pair, they opted for cus­tom duct­work to be in­stalled, free­ing the roof of the evaporative cooler and air con­di­tioner.

Per­haps Peter’s pas­sion for mid­cen­tury de­sign is best ex­em­pli­fied when asked about his home’s orig­i­nal kitchen. “Cer­tainly, we could re­place our 1956 Western Holly oven, stove and Hot­point re­frig­er­a­tor with con­tem­po­rary mod­els, but why? They work per­fectly well with the added ben­e­fit of ex­tra­or­di­nary beauty, epit­o­miz­ing the bril­liance of mid­cen­tury Amer­i­can de­sign and work­man­ship. Each is of solid, durable con­struc­tion of the type rarely found in con­tem­po­rary ap­pli­ances.”

Hav­ing found their dream mid mod home and given it the restora­tion work nec­es­sary, Peter and Lau­ren were fi­nally able to create the warm, open and inviting Palm Springs home they’d longed for—a space filled with their fa­vorite vin­tage furniture and art.

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