Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Meet Dave and Tracy Folks, whose enthusiasm for architecture is so effervescent that they can’t stop restoring homes.
A spacious 1964 condo gets a new life thanks to thoughtful renovations and impressive décor.
typically cringe when they discover that a wake of renovated homes comes with their new neighbors. Fears of builder- grade “improvements” and the loss of period details fl ash before their eyes as the real estate agent’s sign is ripped from the front lawn. Purists, you can loosen that grip on your pearls because Dave and Tracy Folks have arrived, and you’re going to wish they’d lend their talents to your home.
Dave, a professional photographer, and Tracy, a regional offi ce manager, designer and artist, treat their homes like a large- scale art project— mindfully curating, crafting and cultivating a period- appropriate aesthetic. This 1964 Rancho Mirage gem by S. Charles Lee is their 11th masterpiece, and it certainly won’t be their last.
“Whenever possible, we will restore rather than replace.”
THE DESERT IS CALLING
At the time that this two- bedroom, two- bath Tamarisk West home hit the market, the couple had put the finishing touches on a Palos Verdes beach house with ocean views. Because they had previously owned two midcentury homes in the Palm Springs area, this particular neighborhood had long been on their radar. It wasn’t uncommon for them to scroll sites like RedFin or Zillow to keep an eye out for new listings.
During a holiday getaway in the desert over Christmas 2017, Dave and Tracy noticed one such listing and quickly scheduled a viewing with their real estate agent. It was love at first sight. There were beautiful exterior rock walls and floor- to- ceiling glass throughout the house, and multiple skylights flooded the home with light. They were captivated by the original layout, with its high ceilings, enormous rooms and an oversized private interior patio with a dynamic cinder block wall design.
Finding the right furnishings and art sometimes takes months or years, but
it is well worth the wait
find that special treasure.
Unsurprisingly, they submitted an offer on the Tamarisk West house and put their beach home on the market the following day. Fast forward six weeks and both escrows had closed, and the couple were making their way to the desert.
“We knew that relocating to Palm Springs full- time was going to be a life- changing move, but we had to follow our hearts and our instincts, which have always guided us well in our other real estate purchases,” says Tracy. “We are always ready to roll up our sleeves and dig into the next renovation project. We are so happy we made the leap of faith and have no regrets.”
WHAT WOULD S. CHARLES LEE DO?
When asked why they choose to renovate, Dave says,
“It’s in our blood. We love doing it.” Proving this point, the couple was so involved in the renovation process that, “other than the addition of the Ardex flooring, we did all our own work.” That work focused on highlighting the home’s midcentury aesthetic and staying true to the architect’s original vision. They didn’t change the 1,960 square foot floorplan at all.
“The floors had to be done first because we had to rip out 2,000 square feet of Saltillo tile before the Ardex could be poured. After that, we relandscaped the patios for a more tropical look and built the water wall, which we designed ourselves. We also added an interior rock wall that wraps around from the living room to the entry hallway.” Additionally, the couple updated the bathrooms and kitchen without removing the original cabinets and countertops and extended a kitchen door entrance.
Despite their commitment to preserving original features, there is one new feature the couple was excited to add: the living room rock wall. Having been drawn to the home’s exterior rock features, they felt confident that the natural element needed to extend indoors, especially given the home’s fluid indoor/ outdoor design, but they didn’t want to make the living room feel dark. Tracy’s solution was to source white faux rock and create a striking contrast with a dark gray accent wall.
SWINGIN’ ’ 60s STYLE
Rather than work with an interior designer, Dave and Tracy rely on their natural instinct and extensive research. Fortunately, the design- savvy duo agrees on most things when it comes to art and furnishings.
Even so, the couple had differing opinions as to which pieces they were most excited to bring into their Tamarisk West home. For Dave, it’s the vintage JVC/ Yamaha system he renovated specifically for this house. “It’s the third of its type that I’ve done. The others were sold with previous properties,” he says. “I also restored the vintage 1969 Honda CB160 motorcycle in the entry. I’ve been photographing vehicles for Honda Motorcycles for many years and have always been a huge Honda fan, so this is a little shrine to my compulsion.”
For Tracy, the honor belongs to their custommade Adrian Pearsall- style couch and the four original Overman Globus swivel chairs, which they had reupholstered. “I am also a huge fan of unique midcentury lamps, and I design unusual lamp shades to enhance the ceramic bases,” she says.
Their golden rule is “if you don’t both agree on something, be patient until you find something you both agree on.” While this approach is perhaps a little more time- consuming, the end result is a home that feels authentically their own.
“We try to retain the original features wherever possible, while ensuring any upgrades
complement to and additions are a midcentury aesthetics.”