Into the Woods

Featured as a swingin’ bachelor pad in a 1966 'Playboy' magazine, Stan Sackley’s Deepwell casanova now seduces with handsome woods in a return 
to its earliest design

Lisa Marie Hart Modernism 2 Comments


Vintage homes, however alluring, have their shortcomings. By the time a buyer purchases a midcentury abode in 2016, that home has likely suffered neglect, hasty remodels, dated add-ons, or an unfortunate combination of all three.

Five decades after a charismatic bachelor pad by esteemed local architect Stan Sackley roused Playboy readers, its new homeowners were left with a structure twice renovated — and not to their liking. “They liked the location and the bones,” says designer Sam Cardella. “But they wanted their own reinterpretation of the original.”


The wood-paneled fireplace and wood plank ceilings in the living area add warmth to the modernist look. Art photography by Elisabeth Sunday.


So these Deepwell Oasis digs went back to the drawing board. The homeowners appreciate midcentury construction yet asked Cardella to couple it with an inviting interior that exuded the warmth and richness of their Oregon residences. While many locals shy away from wood, whether as a mere design preference or in consideration of its upkeep, these clients welcomed it. Their home’s moody, masculine, and copious combination of three wood species certainly goes against the modernism grain.

Cardella chose a clear V-groove cedar plank for the ceilings, Zebrano wood veneer for the master suite, and Afromosia for the ridged wood paneling on both fireplaces and the front entry. In respect of Sackley’s original wood panel detailing, he reintroduced a similar vertical-ridged wood paneling. “Modernists all used wood in their desert interiors,” Cardella notes. “This was the ideal opportunity to bring that back into focus.”


Rooms face out to views of the pool. The master suite incorporates a key reference to the architectural concept of the original Playboy pad.


Playboy’s story showed off Sackley’s original wood accents (from a housing for the rotating fireplace to sliding Shoji screens), among other goodies fit for its audience: a well-stocked living room wet bar, guests at a pool party featuring a jumbo shrimp cocktail, and a leggy brunette lounging amid the bubbles in a sunken terrazzo tub.

The “ultramodern ranch house” was designed specifically for James Hollowell, an attorney and friend of Sackley’s. As the article explains, he requested an “indoor-outdoor, pool-and-patio” sensibility just minutes from his Palm Springs office.


Here, Cardella designed a custom floating workstation that fits back-to-back with the master bed’s headboard, separating the two functioning areas within the same space.


Decades later, Hollowell’s sign over the bed that read “No one under 21 admitted” is long gone. Yet Sackley’s large, flat-roofed home stands the test of time. Cardella worked with the homeowners to incorporate elements indicative of the era that harken back to its editorial debut. A year in the making, the intriguing result wears a rich blanket of warm woods, custom floating furnishings, and a two-sided fireplace that beautifully references its sexy past.

A floating bed mimics the 1966 original.


Amid new desert landscaping, a glass window panel offers a peek into this midcentury home recently remodeled by designer Sam Cardella. Cardella’s use of wood throughout the interior sets the concept apart from other homes in the neighborhood while capturing the era’s use of natural elements.


A mix of eclectic seating makes an inviting gathering space.


he TV lounge showcases an upside down Joshua tree trunk by artist Steve Shigley.


A stunning custom-designed labradorite lemurian granite sink runs wall to wall in the powder room below a backlit floating mirror.


Visual connectivity prevails in Cardella’s design for open kitchen, dining, and bar areas that function as one space for entertaining. The unevenly three-sided Jean Massuad geometric dining table complements Donghia leather stacking chairs. (Their metal bases echo the Playboy bunny ear.) Blackman Cruz’s Molar bar stools are made of a solid walnut wood base, patinated brass, and leather swivel seats. Torroja pendant chandelier by David Weeks.


Comments 2

  1. Such an amazing home! Love the wood, and the history… Would’ve liked to,see the pictures from 1966 Playboy to compare today’s design… Fun!

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