Historic Twin Palms Neighborhood: Tract Houses

February 18, 2019

At the lodge, I was given a map and addresses. Paul was going to just drop me off and leave, but because this was a self-guided tour throughout the neighborhood, we just parked the truck and Paul and Poppy followed me from house-to-house and waited outside for me. The bonus for Paul was that he got to talk to locals who pointed out unique houses that weren’t on the tour, and Poppy got lots of love from passersby. Paul learned that the neighborhood received its name because each lot came with 2 palm trees. Poppy learned that not all the grass was real.


1070 E. Apache Rd (not on the tour)

There was a display inside the lodge with models of some of the houses in the tract. Each house was 1600 sq. ft. and designed as a perfect 40’x40’ square, and there was only 1 basic floor plan with 8 variations. This kept costs down because constructions materials were standardized at 10-foot widths. However, each house looks unique because of their roof lines, facades, and the open carports. Today, some of the houses have had modest additions.

1041 Twin Palms

As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by tall birch doors with no trim – exactly like our Saskatoon house! The owners are art collectors and poodle owners. They were so excited that I was so excited that their birch doors had survived all these years. They told me to go in the bathroom and shut the door to see the wonderful graining. Gorgeous! The natural birch doors match their lovely Heywood-Wakefield furniture. They love their house and it shows.

1042 Apache

The homeowner knew Krisel and understood his vision. This house had been inappropriately renovated in the past and then had fallen into disrepair. The homeowner respectfully restored it to its former glory. I was so impressed by the attention to detail. The kitchen is new, but the cabinets look original with their sliding doors. The flooring is all terrazzo seamless tiles. The green bathroom is new, but renovated to replicate the pink bathroom. What a fabulous restoration! And the best news is that it is for sale! For a cool $1.2 million it could all be yours!

991 La Jolla

The homeowner really embraced color in his decor.  He told me that he is an engineer and always preferred black, white, and grey in his previous houses, but once he moved to Palm Springs, his grandma’s love of orange took over. This is a really fun house with an equally fun homeowner.

985 La Jolla

This home had also been neglected for many years, so the homeowners had to do an extensive renovation.  It has one of the most fabulous breeze-block facades. The interior is very airy and bright. The final picture shows the rear of the house.  You can really see the square footprint of the house from this view.

Stay tuned for more Modernism Week adventures in Palm Springs!

Historic Twin Palms Neighborhood: Ocotillo Lodge

February 18, 2019

When I was choosing tours for Modernism Week, I had to choose carefully. The Canadian dollar is doing poorly, so I had to ensure I would get enough value. The only house tour I chose was the Historic Twin Palms Neighborhood tour. At $60 US, it was pricey, but well worth it. I got to see 7 homes (3 suites and 4 houses) and the Ocotillo Lodge clubhouse and pool. The homes and lodge were designed by architect William Krisel and built by developers George and Robert Alexander, starting in 1956. When you think of butterfly roofs, sun flaps, clerestory windows, and atriums, think of Krisel. This neighbourhood has it all! It was the first modern housing tract in Palm Springs.

First stop, Ocotillo Lodge. This was where I checked in and got my wristband and gift bag. Oooooh! In my gift bag were 3 breeze-block magnets! What fun! Breeze-blocks are a significant architectural element in the Twin Palms neighborhood, and throughout Palm Springs.


Ocotillo Lodge champagne cork pool

The Ocotillo Lodge was originally an apartment hotel for prospective homebuyers to the neighborhood, but now each suite is privately owned. The suites came in only 2 sizes (525 sq. ft and 600 sq. ft.). Each suite is very secluded even though each one has 2 walls of doors and windows opening to a patio.


Suites at the Ocotillo Lodge

Suite 376
This unit features the original kitchen range.

Suite 349
This unit is referred to as The Peggy Lee. The owners hired interior designer Laura Slipak to refresh it after its 1980s abominable renovation.

Suite 341
The original tongue and groove ceilings were kept during a recent renovation, but everything else was updated. This one felt most like home to me. The homeowner chose many of the elements and colors that I had in our house. There is even a toy Airstream on the patio.

Stay tuned for part 2, when we tour some houses in this historic neighborhood.