morse house palm springs

Historic Home Hits the Market

Currently owned by the Gand Band duo of Gary and Joan, the Morse Residence in Palm Springs featuring serious midcentury chops is for sale.

Staff Report Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

morse house palm springs

Located in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood, the home was originally designed by William Krisel and Dan Palmer in 1961.

The Morse Residence, originally built in 1961 by the Alexander Construction Company and designed by renowned architects Dan Palmer and William Krisel, and later renovated by Hollywood architect Harold “Hal” Levitt, is for sale in Palm Springs.

Famed for working with Hollywood’s elite and designing the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Levitt completely redesigned this one-of-a-kind house. The legendary architect was known for designing many grand houses for Hollywood stars in the Trousdale Estates community of Beverly Hills.

Located at 1197 Abrigo Road in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood, the Morse Residence was the first home to be designated a Class 1 Historic Site in the neighborhood and is eligible for “Mills Act” tax credits. The three-bedroom, four-bath house boasts 3,711 square feet and sits on a 11,761 sq. ft. (0.26 acre) fee simple parcel. Scott Histed Architectural Properties has listed this historic property for $4.5M.


The sunken living room has sliding glass windows that open up to the pool.

The sleek midcentury modern exterior with white terrazzo walkways just hints at the surprises inside – a home unlike any other in Palm Springs. Currently owned by preservationists and musicians Joan and Gary Gand of the musical group The Gand Band, the home offers an unparalleled inside/outside experience, including a sunken living room that opens to a fully equipped swim-up bar with glass pocket walls that disappear into the home’s stone walls.

A stunning entry of poured terrazzo leads into an impressive long gallery, past a white leather-lined tufted powder room. Vintage terrazzo continues throughout the entire house including floors, showers, bar, counter tops, and patio deck. This spectacular and elevated home features two fireplaces, including a chromed Malm fireplace in the main suite (and a matching chrome toilet).


The backyard view of the San Jacinto mountains is unobstructed.

This home was built for entertaining. It easily holds more than 150 people without feeling cramped or being too big for two people. The home’s unique swim-up bar is part of the beautiful backyard pool. The garden includes top of the line turf, an outdoor covered spa, a sunken patio dining area with a large electric shade covering, a fire feature, and extensive low-maintenance landscaping. The east/west living area offers spectacular mountain views with no impediments such as other houses or power lines.

The property includes a sophisticated sound system throughout and a full humidity and temperature control system designed for an art collection. The home includes a Tesla charging outlet, double washers and dryers, and steel security gates all around. Metal security shades keep the main bedroom protected. It features an on-demand water heater and multi-location water filters, an alkaline water spigot in the kitchen, and a hot water recirculating pump. It was recently fully restored and updated, winning a Palm Springs Preservation Award in 2018.

“The iconic Morse residence is truly a unique architectural statement,” says Histed. “This is one of the finest homes in all of Palm Springs and exemplifies the glamour of entertaining in the midcentury. As one of the home’s previous residents, I know it very well.”

The Morse Residence is surrounded by homes enjoyed by internationally acclaimed stars, including Elvis Presley, Marylin Monroe, Bobby Darin, and Trini Lopez. It is featured in the new award-winning documentary, My Name Is Lopez, and can be seen in the limited-edition SHAG poster "The Imposters" as well as many catalogs, magazines, and Modernism Week video tours.

The house was the inspiration for the "Water House" in Disney's Incredibles 2. Directed by Brad Bird (Toy Story), Pixar animators took more than 2,000 photos of the house in 2017 to serve as the inspiration for the film. Many of the surfaces, architectural features, and furniture in the property were used in the film. The home will also be featured in an upcoming book by photojournalist Sally Davies as a West Coast sequel to her recent hit New Yorkes and appeared in Innis Casey's photobook, Quartrates.


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