Text by Bells and Whistles
This past summer, Barbara Rourke and Jason St John, founders of LA-based design studio, Bells + Whistles, completed Marrow Midcentury, a residential project in Palm Springs, CA.
The team was selected by Jillian and Tim Sassone, the founders of the fine jewelry brand, Marrow Fine, to design a home that embraced color and pattern but also felt “homey” since they have small children. This is the second project they have teamed up on; in 2019, Bells + Whistles completed the design of the Marrow Fine Flagship in San Diego, CA.
Originally built in 1957 by renowned mid-century modern architect, Donald Wexler, the home has been deemed architecturally significant and is registered as an historic site. The home is part of Thunderbird North, an enclave of 10 homes designed by mid-century masters, Cody, Wexler & Harrison. The B+W team began designing the Palm Springs-based “Marrow Midcentury” home in Fall 2019 and completed the project in July 2020.
Per B+W, “Marrow Midcentury is where Donald Wexler meets acid fantasy. Every area of the 1957 compound has been transformed with injections of vivid color, hypnotic pattern, and desert magic, creating the quintessential California getaway house.”
Upon first visiting the house, we were struck by the atrium at the entry. We knew that a special installation was meant for that space and ended up with a 36” diameter disco ball!
What you’ve probably already seen is the spectacular IG-perfect pool designed by Alex Proba. B+W discovered Proba’s work on Instagram and called her in to make the pool extra special. They mentioned the idea of having Alex paint the bottom of the pool as a nod to David Hockney and the rest is history.
According to the clients, Jill and Tim, “We wanted to have fun with color and pattern as it’s our second home. Because we have small children, we still wanted it to feel homey and to have special elements for them. They love diving down to the bottom of the pool to see Alex’s mural up close and closing the curtain to the “so extra” media room but they especially love the giant, oversized disco ball and having “midnight” dance parties (at 7 o’clock)!”
“Arthur Elrod’s mid century interiors were all over our Pinterest board. We loved the idea of the
juxtaposition of using the clean, sleek lines of Wexler’s architecture as the backdrop to exploring and playing with that against bold colors and organic shapes.”
According to B+W, “It was an interesting challenge to inject a new spirit into an iconic Wexler home. Sometimes designing for an architecturally significant home or building can add a layer of design paralysis to the mix. With the support of Tim and Jill, we pushed past design reservations in order to create a home exploding with color and pattern.”
Photos by Madeline Tolle