Modernism Week Peaks Interest in Palm Springs Midcentury Home Market

House maintains integrity of its 1959 design inside and out

Lawrence Karol Modernism 0 Comments


With Modernism Week swiftly approaching, this is the ideal time to spotlight some classic midcentury modern homes on the market.

This week, we visited 717 Via Las Palmas, which was designed in 1959 by architect Charles Dubois for the Alexander Construction Co. Dubois, along with William Krisel and Dan Palmer, designed approximately 330 homes in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood.

“Dubois certainly doesn’t ring as high in familiarity with people, but he was equally as responsible for what you see in neighborhoods like Vista Las Palmas,” says Rick Distel of the Palm Springs office of HOM Sotheby's International Realty. “Clearly people recognize the Palmer and Krisel name a lot more, but Dubois brought his own sort of flair to these midcentury homes.”

Distel notes that Dubois tended to design homes that were a bit wider from side to side, whereas the other designs the Alexander Company built were more square.

“It gives a little bit more of a ramble to it, which is nice,” adds Distel. “And most of the Dubois homes have a fourth bedroom, which was originally designed as a maid’s room, right off the entry hall. That’s a big differentiation among these Alexanders. So many of them were three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but this home has four bedrooms and three bathrooms.”

Another important aspect to the house – all of the exterior detailing is as it was originally constructed and nothing has been altered, including the carport.

“So many people have converted carports into garages, which may be a convenience issue, but for somebody who’s really a midcentury purist and appreciates the lines and the design, the carport is really the way to go,” says Distel.

The 2,158-square-foot layout of the interior of the house is also as it was originally designed.

“The very minor interior modification that we’ve been able to identify lies right between the kitchen and dining room,” says Distel. “We’ve learned that there would have been a half-wall portion between the kitchen and the dining room and then a smaller section of floor-to-ceiling wall that would have had a butler’s door. But the integrity of the interior of the house is still intact so really you get to feel like you’re walking into the house exactly as it was designed.”

The home is listed at $1,395,000.


The block screen walls are original to the home, as are the double wood doors. “There are so many of these houses, but everyone has done something to them over time,” says realtor Rick Distel. “So it [the original design] really was one of the things that drew us to this house.”

The living room and dining room are one large open space. The original tongue and groove ceiling was painted over by the previous owner. All of the windows and sliders throughout the house have been replaced.

The dining room is completely open to a remodeled kitchen that includes a Sub-Zero refrigerator, Miele dishwasher, Wolf stovetop and oven, and a stacked washer and dryer.

The master bath has mosaic tile from Modern Home Design Showroom, a Duravit sink, Hans Grohe fixtures, and a Toto toilet.

The home sits on a 10,000-square-foot lot and the pool has been re-plastered and retiled. “What’s most important about the outdoor space, is how it relates directly to the way the house is situated on its lot,” says Distel. “It’s an unusual shaped lot for Vista Las Palmas due to the curve of Via Las Palmas. The house sort of sits on a mini-promontory on this gentle curve and what that does is give you a really unique view in the back. Not only do you have the iconic San Jacinto Mountains view, but because of your elevation you have a view down south toward the Indian Canyons.”


Rick Distel, HOM Sotheby's International Realty, 646-417-2720 (cell), 760-537-2925 (telephone),


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See his other real estate and interior design profiles: Home Front

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