Modern living comes in a variety of packages, and designer Daniel Krog has opened and enjoyed them all. By neither sheer coincidence nor premeditated pursuit of a theme — though perhaps a bit of both — he has sampled from the deep honey pot of modern design, restoring his way through three decades of exemplary architectural specimens.
First, there was the post-war (1951) Los Angeles pad with a kidney-shaped pool. Next came the Hal Levitt-designed Deepwell home, built in 1961 with a stone front and a poolside glass back.
Then, in early 2017, a real estate agent contacted Krog and his husband, Adam Bonnett, who is head of television at Mattel. The pocket listing was for a behemoth 1970s estate in the Andreas Hills enclave of South Palm Springs. Inseparable from the neighboring mountains, it boasted altitudinal views from both sides. Raw materials and large spaces dropped inside bold, heavy forms distinguished the house as a classic example of late modernism. This tempting package from 1975 immediately appealed to Krog’s affinity for the last great chapter in the modern era chronicles. They made an offer that afternoon.
In the dining room, original floors meet the original aggregate concrete walls. “They are really elegant but raw, with a sense of art to them,” says Daniel Krog.
Daniel Krog’s Andreas Hills home, built in 1975, embodies the late modern movement. Pieces from the 1970s in a guest bedroom include studio artwork by Lee Reynolds and a smoked-glass-and-Lucite bedside lamp.
John Walling, AIA, designed and built the home and several other ’70s residences in Andreas Hills, all of which contribute to an authentic, late-modern showing throughout the neighborhood.
“He was on my radar,” Krog says of the architect, who is currently a principal at the firm Walling & McCallum in Indian Wells. “I see him as one of three next-generation architects that came of age in the 1970s, along with Hugh Kaptur and Stan Sackley.” Krog describes Walling’s work as profound, elegant, and larger than life, which this 5,000-square-foot home exemplifies. “His work has some of the same characteristics as earlier modernism and checks off some of the same boxes that Eames furniture and the Wexler steel houses do, but it does so in a bigger, bolder language.”
The soft arc created by two circa 1973 Milo Baughman sofas frames the living room. Three brass William Bowie wall sculptures made in 1972 join forces on the travertine fireplace. All vintage ceramic vessels and owls are Bitossi; the candleholders are Nagel.
For Krog, the purchase completed a trifecta of modern properties that, over time, allowed him to intensely study each era, develop an appreciation for their defining elements, and bring out the best of each decade’s nuanced design. Once he finishes a project, he rarely adds a bowl, vase, or piece of artwork. He prefers simply to savor the act of living there.
“I believe in restoration,” Krog says, noting the couple has appreciated three modern homes he finished in a different way. “It never goes out of style. If you do it once and you do it right, you never have to do it again.”
Walling agreed to meet Krog at the home before it closed escrow. The pair made their way through the structure, engaging in a spirited exchange about the original features Walling vividly remembers. Still intact were the natural wood ceilings and the jigsaw of slate floors, the black smoked-glass panes, and the blonde travertine fireplace, an imposing ’70s sentry that watches over the living room. The contemporary kitchen and bathrooms were unrecognizable. But the aggregate concrete walls and the wood construction — painted on the exterior, left natural inside — spoke to Krog’s vision. Before long, he would curate sweeping panoramas that combined organic materials and muted earth tones then juxtapose them with chrome lighting and space-age glamour.
Chunky skylights puncture the wood ceiling in the master bedroom, which features a wall mirror by Neal Small, wood bedroom set by American of Martinsville, Warren Platner table and chairs, and Sciolari floor lamp.
It’s an intermingling Krog loves, one that was first perfected amid the culture-clashing context of the 1970s. “I told him that day that it was my goal to get the home designated as a Class 1 historic site,” Krog recalls of the nomination written by Melissa Riche. The city council approved the designation last February. “I was so excited to call him and tell him.”
Having just wrapped up a project with a client, Krog surrendered to the home’s sharp cry for a full restoration and eagerly let it consume his life. His research commenced in March 2017, and he revealed the result to Bonnett — who wasn’t permitted to step foot inside during the final three months — in October of the same year.
In short order, Krog reconnected the home to its late-modern roots as well as the surrounding landscape. He began by heeding the astute advice he follows when working with clients: “I listen to the house first. Then, I listen to myself.” The approach is Krog’s formula for a cohesive experience. One can only bring in what passes for architecturally appropriate. Anything the era would deem out of place is verboten.
In the living room alone, for example, a pair of curved circa 1973 Milo Baughman sofas rounds out the edges of a thick shag rug. Nagel modular candle holders and Bitossi ceramic vases and owl figures sit on smoked glass Warren Platner tables.
Heath tile lends a rich, earthy color variation to the bathrooms, shown here in Fawn.
And a trio of brass William Bowie wall sculptures made in 1972 catch the sunlight above the fireplace. Almost every object inside these glass and concrete walls dates to the early and mid-1970s; most are original vintage, and the remaining are new but licensed from the originals.
“While the periods in modernism are very similar in their ideology, the expression of each is so different,” Krog says. “In the 1970s, it became heavier, with a nod of brutalism that was earthy and raw. In this house, you can feel that boldness and heaviness in a good way. You feel this elegant, late-modern presence, and that doesn’t get old.”
The boldness is broken up with a few glints of 1970s chrome. Krog amassed a collection of vintage lighting that includes an extensive set of Gaetano Sciolari sconces, chandeliers, and floor lamps that add flash to the pan. Marigold, clay, rust, mud brown, and avocado green prevail, aside from a fleeting surge of turquoise and a burst of orange in two bedrooms. In the bathrooms, Krog installed Heath Ceramics tiles in period glazes to match and complement the original finishes.
The home sits in a crook between the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. Krog added the spa and ordered Richard Schultz outdoor furnishings from Knoll in the 1970s brown-on-white finish.
His period-true decorating, however, was only a layer atop the restoration. To lengthen the sight lines, Krog extended the existing slate flooring throughout the house. He matched and continued the travertine seen on the fireplace in other parts of the home and repainted where necessary to reflect the original color. Structurally, he refurbished the roof and the outdoor walkways and stairs. Finally, he rehabilitated the landscape to ground the property to the natural desert environment. “I wanted the adjacent mountain to look like it was part of the backyard,” he notes.
General contractor Jack W. Doyle managed the renovation while Krog oversaw the progress, shipping furniture, textiles, décor, and vintage artwork to the couple’s Studio City home, which served as a storage warehouse until the final install
“Now, before people even walk through the Forms+Surfaces front doors that have this bold, crunchy feeling, they understand that this is modernism. That is exactly what it was designed to be, and that’s exactly what my project to restore it was all about.”
A vintage Yamaha C3 piano sidles up to the bar.
Forty-two years after its construction, Walling’s ’70s edifice offered a tangible way for Krog to champion a span of design history he feels has been under recognized and overlooked. He has a soapbox with “the true arc of modernism” written across the front, and he’s not afraid to stand on it. “A lot of people think modernism ended in 1970, but I really think it ended around 1979,” he says.
The designer emphasizes that he wanted the Class 1 historic designation not only for the house but also for the Andreas Hills community, as a means to enter it “in the canon of modernism in Palm Springs.” Last October, Krog and Bonnett received the 2019 PS ModCom award for residential rehabilitation of the original Shea Residence. They invited Walling and his wife to attend the celebration. The Wallings accepted the distinction right alongside the home’s designer and owners.
“I feel like this home is a poster child for late modernism,” Krog sums up. “And I feel like it made it across the finish line.”
All textiles on furniture and pillows throughout the home are Knoll and Maharam archival fabric from the 1970s. The Sciolari chandelier in the family room echoes the larger one in the dining room.
A close-knit pair of ficus trees planted in 1975 are part of the home’s historic designation.