In Palm Springs preservation circles, the 1949 Robson Chambers house is an inspiration for anyone who can envision a reinvented beauty when faced with a forlorn “tear down” property.
Such was the case with Greg Hough, president of the Palm Springs Historical Society. Born and raised in Palm Springs, he is a passionate advocate of its history. In 2013, Hough, a long-time Araby Cove resident, purchased the property located alongside the Araby Wash. The views alone are priceless.
The lower level living room of the Robson Chambers home has its original fireplace.
The abandoned peach and yellow house had been frequented only by an occasional critter for a couple of years during which time the roof had collapsed, leaving the house open to the elements. The former owner had slated the home for demolition, but Hough and his wife, Katherine, chief curator of the Palm Springs Art Museum, could see its potential.
They knew Robson Chambers was the architect and that alone made the house worth saving. Chambers was an important local architect who had worked with Albert Frey on several high-profile buildings in Palm Springs.
Upper level living room with Katherine Hough's original artwork on the wall.
Armed with a vision and lots of elbow grease, construction tools, paint, etc., the Houghs embarked on a labor of love to rescue and rehabilitate the house.
“It took me 44 weekends to do the work to preserve it,” says Hough. “It has been really fun and gratifying to identify and save this piece of history.”
Stunning view of Araby Wash in palm Springs provides a background for Greg Hough (left), who chats with tour attendees.
The home has two levels and two self-contained separate units with full kitchens, baths, and two bedrooms each.
Those of us fortunate enough to tour the home during Modernism Week were able to celebrate this preservation story and marvel at the amazing transformation of this small slice of history, fitting for an event benefiting the Palm Springs Historical Society.
View from upper level deck.
Lydia Kremer has worked in the architecture and design communities of Palm Springs for more than 10 years. As a publicist, she promoted Palm Springs Modernism Week for seven years since its inception, she served on the Architectural Design Council board for five years, and was a board trustee for the California Preservation Foundation for five years.