Sunny in Palm Springs
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.