The call came one day in 2009. Los Angeles–based art dealer Kay Richards phoned her other half, Cooper Layne. “Coop, you’ve got to come to Palm Springs and see this house.” Drawn to the desert as well as the home’s architectural pedigree and potential, the couple knew this diamond in the rough was seduction in the making.
Built in 1959 by the Alexander Construction Company, the William Krisel–designed home’s footprint was modest, but its promise was grand. From start to finish, the Racquet Club Estates restoration was a labor of love. Richards jumped in and moved forward with unrelenting vision. She not only handled the interior design and curated the art collection but also acted as general contractor. With Layne’s birthday and a New Year’s Eve bash looming on the horizon, she set out to ring in 2011 at their new Palm Springs home. The place that would become their love nest was finished; the party, a smashing success.
From then on, the now three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home — 1,800 square feet of pure delight — has been where they’ve gone to kindle their romance.
“Kay travels to the East Coast for work; I travel to Reno. We’re busy,” explains Layne, a successful residential broker who works at Coldwell Banker’s Beverly Hills office. “Palm Springs is where we have this [coveted] part of our life together. It’s rejuvenating.”
Here, they retreat from life’s demands, reconnect, and, above all, are smitten. Richards believes the home positively affected their relationship. “This house has a sensibility we both gravitated toward,” she says. “When we leave Palm Springs, we feel energized.”
Their pop art collection includes two limited-edition Robert Indiana Chosen Love rugs, circa 1972, that informed the home’s theme. They take center stage vertically on two walls. “I felt it would be fun to feature artists associated with the period,” Richards says. “We also used sculptural furniture like artwork.” Furnishings include a Milo Baughman chair with Maraham fabric and a Soft Drum Set sculpture by Claes Oldenburg that sits on a vintage Lucite table.
A copy of a Warhol pop art Brillo table sits between a pair of chairs upholstered in Optik fabric designed by Verner Panton in 1969.
One of two Robert Indiana rugs hung as wall art speaks to the home’s purpose. Verner Panton chairs in orange fabric neighbor two space-age white fiberglass chairs by Warren Platner for Steelcase.
Your space and art influence how you live,” adds Richards, a proponent of the modernist aesthetic. Unapologetic color, curves, and angles bring the interior alive in the house. The visual narrative speaks boldly, sometimes irreverently, and always with confidence. This is a residence that both reveals time and transcends it.
In the main living area, a pair of Verner Panton chairs upholstered in orange are as much sculpture as seating. Nearby, two white fiberglass Steelcase chairs by Platner sport deep green fabric by Maharam. The homeowners are a fashion-loving duo who love to dress up. Whether painting the town red or throwing a party at home, they’re as colorful as their surroundings. Referencing an old adage, Layne says, “Nobody has more fun in my house than I do.” Now that’s a host you want to visit.
The vibrant palette continues with works from 1960s masters. Richards loves an Ed Ruscha lithograph, Sin with Olive. Add to that another Ed Ruscha lithograph, Wall Rocket, and a Ruscha pastel on paper, Blunt Force. Then throw in a Warhol for good measure — Sidewalk, a silkscreen with diamond dust on paper. The entry welcomes with Miss Fruit Salad, one of a small-edition of silkscreens by Mel Ramos.
Richards knows a thing or two about art. She attended art school and worked as an artist before becoming a dealer and opening her Santa Monica gallery, Ikon Ltd. Fine Art. She is a founding member of Desert X and is on the directors council for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. She and Layne bring their keen eye to every detail of their home.
To showcase a collection of vintage decanters and glassware from Richards’ grandparents, the couple repurposed a compact space in the entry, creating a mirrored jewel box of a bar. Evoking childhood memories of Richards’ summer visits to her grandparents’ midcentury La Costa home, artifacts from the era appear throughout the house. Both homeowners embrace those sun-drenched halcyon days that meant a perfect martini, a round of golf, and a swanky social life. Fast-forward to 2017. Richards and Layne exude that same joie de vivre. They live, by their own admission, a charmed life.
Six black-and-white poolside lounge chairs purchased at auction wear original fabric from their days at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Trina Turk pillows ring the fire pit seating area. “Most guests end up here by evening’s end,” Layne says. “It’s a welcoming place to gather and stay long after the last nightcap is poured.”
“We call this the ‘Happy House.’ It always feels like we’re on vacation here,” says Richards. The home’s open, bright kitchen has white and light gray Caesarstone countertops designed to read like terrazzo and high-gloss gray cabinets as sleek as a race car — plenty of surfaces for sunshine to dance across. A wall of glass frames the heightened connection to the outdoors. Soaring above, a row of added clerestory windows amplify light and views.
Behind the home, elements of water, air, and fire meet. A round fire pit is encircled by a raised concrete arc of poolside seating, a supreme vantage point to linger and experience the mountains beyond. The home has an undeniable energy. Layne explains that important conversations happen here. Apparently, profound dialogue and decisions are best accomplished amid the pool’s cool waters. And all this before cocktail hour.
In the master bedroom, deep and dramatic shades of blues and greens with a tufted headboard whisper glamour. The first guest bedroom features a Milo Baughman purple upholstered chair, while the guest powder room in the hall nearby displays a black-and-white Greek key–pattern tile by Villeroy & Boch. The remaining bathroom tile is Porcelanosa with a Carrara marble pattern as the background.
A custom white Murphy bed beckons visitors to stay in the second guest bedroom with a story of saturated emerald greens and stark whites. Richards adores a pair of Steelcase chairs in the room, covered in a dynamic black-and-white optical fabric designed by Verner Panton.
If all the artists and designers whose brilliant work graces this home were to meet up for a party, they’d raise a glass (or two) to celebrate. Reminding us that like all true legacies — and lasting love affairs — great art and design endure.
A master bedroom vignette mingles Jonathan Adler vases and a cockatoo sculpture that resembles the couple’s own pet bird.