Text by Jen Samson Design
Part of the Eldorado Country Club community, the house was built in 1965 by Ira Johnson, who studied under celebrated architect William F. Cody, the mind behind the iconic designs of The Thunderbird, The Racquet and The Tennis Clubs in Palm Springs.
The new owners — a brother and sister whose primary residences are a couple of hours’ drive from the Coachella Valley — discovered Jen Samson Design and were drawn to the firm’s knack for swirling in a bit of midcentury and curating a collection of pieces. It was untouched when the team arrived, walking into a house like that was unbelievable and just so exciting. The clients are only the home’s third owners.
The clients were on board with a playful design that was steeped in vibrant colors and rich history.
The house was purchased fully furnished — down to the bedspreads— with items dating back to the property’s first owner, businessman and golf enthusiast Jack Vickers. Although this meant we had a trove of midcentury pieces at her disposal, some of which we refreshed to haute effect. Not everything made the cut; the textiles, for instance, were musty and sun-faded.
We found the bones to be exceptional, from the gently arched, wood-planked ceilings to the hulking rock walls in the living room and a bedroom and the fireplace that, under layers of tarnish, was turned out to be copper.
To accommodate recessed lighting, a caramel-hued wood ceiling was installed over the existing one. By painting the rock wall white, the copper fireplace becomes a well-deserved focal point.
The kitchen was dark and completely closed off from the rest of the home. There was no natural light. We removed the wall adjacent to the now dining room, and added a large open passageway from the entrance of the home into the kitchen as well, which allowed for light to flood in for two different directions. Additionally, we added a skylight and built a large center island that would serve as additional counter space for dining/entertaining.
We reconfigured the layout for all of the appliances, making it easy to move around the kitchen. Maintaining the ceilings’ very unique arched profile was important aesthetically, but we needed to add electrical for all ceiling lighting.
This was accomplished by floating new wood over the existing tongue and groove ceiling, allowing for space for the electrical wiring in between, and then we stained the ceiling in a warm tone very similar to the original. From there, it was about adding personality and playfulness to the space . The tile is a trio of bright green hues laid in a pattern that feels entirely mod and modern at the same time.
Coral and brass stools for a fun pop of color, and vintage accessories including peach cranes and mid century pottery came together to create a kitchen that is joy-filled and perfect for all of the the parties and family time that this house is meant for!
The obvious favorite moment of this kitchen for me is the tile. The mix of the three green hues and the layout of the tile is so joyful!
This was the first home we had the pleasure of doing in the desert, and what an honor to be able to reinvent [one] in an iconic neighborhood. I adore the glamor of Slim Aarons’ images, and this home quite naturally oozes that aesthetic.
You can easily imagine Old Hollywood lounging poolside or sipping cocktails next to that gorgeous fireplace. We wanted to recreate that feeling, but at the same time make it a very fun and livable home.
Photos by Mellon Studio