Everyone is looking for these homes
Most popular architecture in Palm Springs
The most-Googled homes in Palm Springs
While warm weather and stunning desert landscapes are the primary draws, Palm Springs has also become an architecture mecca for its wealth of mid-century modern homes and buildings. But how do first time visitors know what to see, or where to find the best homes in Palm Springs, or the top mid-century architecture? Most of them head for Google. As the world’s library, Google is a great place to start, but we have the local knowledge to back up the best choices. We can confirm these are both the most-Googled homes, and the ones that are truly worth seeing. If you need more ideas for the best homes you can see and get close to, check out our tour.
Kaufmann Desert House
Designed by Richard Neutra in 1946 for Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., a department store magnet from Pittsburgh. who had earlier hired Frank Lloyd Wright to build “Fallingwater” in southwest Pennsylvania.
This Class 1 Historic Site has been called “an architectural marvel that helped define the modernist aesthetic of the resort city of Palm Springs”. It has been listed for sale for as much as $25 million. Barry Manilow has been one of several owners, and the house has been extensively renovated to return it to its earlier design. The home sits behind a barrier of car-sized boulders, but you can see a good portion of the home’s structure from the curb.
Frey II House
Currently owned by the Palm Springs Art Museum as part of its permanent collection, this small (just 800-square-feet) house hugs a hillside overlooking the Coachella Valley. Built by Albert Frey, a Swiss-born architect, who was one of the first to give the “desert modern” style an international flair.
Frey’s second home after coming to Palm Springs in 1934 features a suspended steel structure wrapped in glass, affording magnificent views of the valley below. There is also an outdoor pool and deck.
This home is open only for special occasions (but is often available for inside-the-home-tours) and accessible only by private road, so it’s not available for everyone.
Twin Palms, the Frank Sinatra House
Another largely inaccessible home, its location behind a substantially sized wall doesn’t prevent thousands from driving by just to stand in its shadow.
Frank Sinatra’s arrival in Palm Springs was the springboard of turning this quiet town into a growing and bustling desert oasis for the well-to-do. Commissioned by architect E. Stewart Williams in 1947, the Hoboken, New Jersey-born crooner wanted a weekend home for his family and friends to enjoy, and he got so much more than that at Twin Palms.
Stewart convinced Sinatra that his idea for a large Georgian design wouldn’t mesh well with the desert environment, so his “desert appropriate” house with long horizontal lines and using non-traditional materials quickly had Sinatra’s approval. The mid-century modern home is located in the Movie Colony-El Mirador neighborhood and is currently unoccupied, but it is available for nightly rentals.
Bob Hope House
It comes as no surprise that one of the 20th century’s most popular entertainers would arguably have the most spectacular home in Palm Springs. An absolute masterpiece designed by California Modernist architect John Lautner makes perfect use of the massive copper roof that slopes upwards to the center of the house. This allows light inside from the circular “crater” created above the indoors terrace.
With three entrances and patios, the expansive windows allow for stunning views of Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley, and the San Jacinto Mountains. Early in his career, Lautner apprenticed under the tutelage of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Located on a private road on top of a mountain, there are really only two ways to see it well; hike the Araby Trail up the mountain and look down on it, or try our celebrity tour which will take you to a great, ground-level viewing spot.
The Palm Springs estate of billionaire entrepreneur, philanthropist, and statesman Walter Annenberg was converted into a museum and retreat center after his passing in 2002. The 220-acre property includes the 25,000-square-foot mid-century modern winter home of the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom and his wife, Leonore. Completed in 1966, the house contains original furniture and decor from the Annenberg years.
Designed by architect A. Quincy Jones, Sunnylands was utilized for high-level meetings and quiet getaways for U.S. and world leaders, and was often referred to as the “Camp David of the West”. In addition to U.S. presidents, Sunnyland hosted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and at the time, Prince Charles. Public tours are offered when retreats are not taking place. Visitors can see for themselves the Annenberg’s incredible collection of Ming and Qing dynasty art, Steuben Glass, as well as 19th and 20th century sculptures that the couple collected.
Sunnylands is open regularly for tours of the grounds AND the inside of the house (you’re not allowed to take photos), but you’ll want to plan ahead as tickets for the home tour sell out over a month in advance.
The Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, aka the House of Tomorrow
The 4,695-square-foot home is probably best known for being the 1967 site of Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s honeymoon hideaway, though it is a midcentury marvel that can easily stand on its own. With four bedrooms and five bathrooms, the house consists of four circular sections with a dramatic sloped roof that can’t be missed. Modernist architect William Krisel designed Elvis’s love nest, which was built for local construction company executive Bob Alexander, in 1960.
Considered ahead of its time when it was constructed, the House of Tomorrow had electronic temperature controls, outdoor lighting, and get this, an underground sprinkler system to maintain the health of the lawn and trees! Located in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood, what is now known as the “Alexander Estate” has restored terrazzo floors, a circular 40-foot living room sofa, rock walls, as well as a ceiling mounted fireplace.
The home is privately owned and has only been open during Modernism Week. While it’s very visible from the curb, that’s enough to appreciate the beauty. If you want to see more of the inside, check out our visit there.
Leonardo DiCaprio Home
Originally built for actress/singer Dinah Shore in 1964 by architect extraordinaire Donald Wexler, this cozy, yet glamorous home is located in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood where many of the era’s stars lived. Her neighbors included Liberace, Marilyn Monroe, and ‘old blue eyes’ Frank Sinatra. Since 2016, the house has been one of many for screen star Leonardo DiCaprio of “Titanic”, “Gatsby”, and most recently, “Killers of the Flower Moon” fame.
Available as a rental for vacations and events for as little as $3,750 nightly (two-night minimum), the 7,100-square-foot house is a unique combination of mid-century modern design along with Western ranch style. There are six bedrooms, 7.5 baths, an expansive chef’s kitchen, heated pool and spa. Renters will also enjoy a private tennis court, separate one-bedroom guest house, and daily maid service. As is fitting for a Wexler Palm Springs house, the design features clean lines,smooth flowing curves, plenty of glass throughout, and extensive gardens that provide plenty of privacy and added security. Even so, you get a beautiful view of the home from the curb. Just don’t expect to see Leo taking out the trash; he is rarely ever here. Learn more about the home here and see what it looks like inside.
Enjoying learning about some of the most iconic and most-searched-for homes in Palm Springs? You’ll LOVE our celebrity home tour. Learn more about the tour now, or take the ultra-popular Celebrity MEGA Tour.