Tract Mas­ter­piece

Af­ter years of work­ing in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, this cou­ple is en­joy­ing a re­laxed Palm Springs lifestyle in their mid­cen­tury gem filled with a strik­ing mix of vin­tage and con­tem­po­rary trea­sures.

Atomic Ranch - - Contents - By Les­lie J. Thomp­son Pho­tog­ra­phy by Bret Gum Styling by Sarah Jane Stone

Not your typ­i­cal tract home, this Wil­liam Krisel mas­ter­piece boasts a but­ter­fly roof—a per­fect place to de­com­press, es­pe­cially af­ter strip­ping away non-con­tribut­ing ad­di­tions.

LIKE MUCH OF AMER­ICA, PALM SPRINGS EX­PE­RI­ENCED RAPID GROWTH DUR­ING THE POST-WWII ERA, with sub­ur­ban sub­di­vi­sions pop­ping up like wild­flow­ers across the desert land­scape. The once-sleepy town be­came a reg­u­lar stomp­ing ground for Las Ve­gas high rollers and Hol­ly­wood moguls look­ing to get away from the big city lights and en­joy a more serene lifestyle. Such was also the mod­ern-day case with Chris Bond, who, af­ter build­ing a thriving ca­reer as a vis­ual ef­fects su­per­vi­sor in the film in­dus­try, longed for a home in Palm Springs as a place to de­com­press.

His search even­tu­ally led to a 1958 house with a but­ter­fly roofline, nes­tled in the city’s his­toric Twin Palms neigh­bor­hood. Although awk­wardly re­mod­eled and more than a lit­tle run down, the Mod­ernist house fit his vi­sion, and he pur­chased the prop­erty in 2008. When his new bride Merah moved in the fol­low­ing year, Chris had al­ready com­pleted the struc­tural ren­o­va­tions, much to her de­light.

“His in­ten­tion was to take the house back to what it orig­i­nally should be, but up­date it to make it more com­fort­able for mod­ern times,” says Merah. De­signed by Wil­liam Krisel A.I.A., the house was built by the Alexan­der Con­struc­tion Com­pany as the sec­ond phase of a tract hous­ing sub­di­vi­sion once known as the El Camino Es­tates. The previous own­ers added two rooms off the kitchen, which Chris promptly tore down to re­store the home’s orig­i­nal 40’x40’ foot­print. He also re­moved an in­te­rior wall sep­a­rat­ing the kitchen and din­ing room to cre­ate an open liv­ing space.


Other ren­o­va­tions in­cluded strip­ping the linoleum tile to re­veal the con­crete slab un­der­neath, and up­dat­ing the bath­rooms and kitchen with mod­ern fix­tures that re­tain a 1950s flair. “He kept the

“His in­ten­tion was to take the house back to what it orig­i­nally should be, but up­date it to make it more com­fort­able for mod­ern times.”

[kitchen] cab­i­nets, but he re­placed all the coun­ter­tops with Cae­sar­stone,” Merah says of her hus­band’s hand­i­work, adding that the cab­i­nets are from Ikea.

With a meticulous at­ten­tion to de­tail, Chris de­signed the wa­ter­fall counter to match the thick­ness of the ceil­ing beams and chose a pe­riod blue Porce­lanosa ce­ramic tile for the kitchen and mas­ter bath. He also used Cae­sar­stone on the liv­ing room wet bar, which is orig­i­nal to the house, and for the cus­tom-built out­door bar on the back pa­tio.

The floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows and high tongue-and-groove ceil­ings were left un­touched, both pre­serv­ing the home’s light and airy feeling and max­i­miz­ing the views of the San Jac­into Moun­tains.


Each of the homes in the sub­di­vi­sion is an­gled to high­light the land­scape and cre­ate a seam­less tran­si­tion be­tween the in­te­rior and the nat­u­ral sur­round­ings, Merah

notes. The dif­fer­ent rooflines also give the im­pres­sion that each res­i­dence was a cus­tom home, even though they all share the same floor plan, part of Krisel’s in­ge­nious de­sign scheme. In ad­di­tion, the ar­chi­tect avoided the use of sof­fits, but in­stead ran all elec­tri­cal and plumb­ing un­der the con­crete pad. “That al­lows for the walls to go straight up to the ceil­ing with the but­ter­fly roof. You don’t have to have any­thing in the way—you can have just walls of glass,” she says.

Merah helped Chris choose in­te­rior fur­nish­ings that mir­ror the home’s mid­cen­tury roots and played an in­te­gral role in up­grades to the home’s ex­te­rior. “The land­scap­ing when he bought the house was pretty much a pile of gray rocks,” she says. The cou­ple re­moved the

The home is one of the few un­al­tered ex­am­ples of Krisel’s ex­tended but­ter­fly roof in the Twin Palms sub­di­vi­sion.

rub­ble and sev­eral palm trees, plac­ing large cir­cu­lar pavers across the lawn and bar­rel cacti lead­ing to the en­try­way. They also added slats to ac­cen­tu­ate the white beams run­ning be­tween the house and the car­port and in­stalled a sun­shade that of­fers a sneak peek of the swim­ming pool and deluxe out­door kitchen in the back­yard.

With the remodel complete, the cou­ple is now en­joy­ing their dream home—and the re­laxed lifestyle they en­vi­sioned. Merah says, “It’s only a 1,600-square-foot house but it feels so much big­ger, be­cause of all the glass. It has such a nice flow.”

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