Phillip Baker and Jack Padovano thought they had found their wish list incarnate when they toured the modern model homes at Skye. Situated grandly in the mountains’ shadow on large lots just south of the historic Tennis Club, the homes’ supersized architecture borrows from the middle of the century yet unfurls in generous floorplans, ceiling heights, and smart efficiencies designed for today.
One particular Skye model (marketed plainly as “Plan 4”) had their names written all over it. They could see themselves entertaining around the pool in the front courtyard and sliding back the glass doors along the living areas that wrap around it. A proper bar tugged at their long-held visions of the cool-and-carefree local lifestyle, formed over nearly three decades of visits.
True, the Skye home’s modern lines and neutral interior represented the polar-white opposite of their traditional home in Phoenix, dressed in Arizona beige, gold, and rust. But the timing was right for taking the Palm Springs plunge. Their son, Zach, had just enrolled at Arizona State University, and the desert would make a fun place to split the drive between visits to him and their primary residence in San Diego. Plan 4 prompted them to sell their Phoenix home and move to “a big small town” with a comparable climate. The drive to dinner would be shorter, they could walk down the street for a drink at Melvyn’s, and their three dogs could experience the best of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle right along with them.
Chairs by Thayer Coggin, pillows by Ryan Studio, and a rug by Exquisite Rugs show designer Michael Ostrow’s penchant for pattern layering.
“We just love what Michael did with it. And we haven’t looked back.”
Jack Padovano and Phillip Baker enjoy their front courtyard as much as their three dogs do.
Professional decorating can fast unravel everything a couple thinks they want their home to look like, feel like, and live like. And many homeowners are happy to pay for that rather candid process of awakening. The result is worth every dime. Those like Baker and Padovano who grasp the value in enlisting an interior designer —which pays for itself every year they enjoy the home — know this; better not to get what you want when someone understands what you need.
“They bought it based on what they saw in the model,” Ostrow says. “But I told them if we did that it was going to be a cold box.” With his professional insights and judicious encouragement, the pair agreed the home needed to feel more intimate, beginning with color to break up and temper the white.
A party of outdoor furniture convenes in the large entry courtyard, cushioned in bright azure blue. Past the turquoise pool and aqua front door, the men’s favorite color makes the rounds inside. Deep peacock blue in the master ties the matte lampshades into the quilted velvet bedspread and shams. Ostrow worked with Zach on his room, which blends smoky blues and grays.
Wallpaper won out in all of the bedrooms, but takes a departure in a muted taupe for the guestroom. There, navy pillows pair with an orange bedspread — and guests rave about the hue. “Sometimes people end up liking their guest rooms better than their master,” Ostrow notes. “That’s where they’re more whimsical or take more chances because they don’t have to live with it every day.”
In their 29 years together, the gentlemen had renovated several homes. But this three-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot blank slate at Skye marked their first new build. As their dirt lot became a construction zone, they acknowledged that the furniture and art they had appreciated in Phoenix had no business poking its beige nose in Plan 4. Michael Ostrow of Grace Home Furnishings came to them highly recommended by their Skye sales agent.
Grace Home is known throughout Southern California for their elegant custom furnishings and bespoke interiors enlivened by modern forms, geometric patterns, and livable colors.
“We’re not color people at all,” admits Baker, who was able to relocate his career as a realtor. “All of our homes have been, as Michael calls them, brown. He said, ‘You’ve always lived in brown. You need color.’ Then he said we needed wallpaper. I said, ‘No. We don’t understand wallpaper.’ He was really good at not digging in about it but bringing us along. And we got there.”
“We wanted a real bar where people could come and sit and chat.”
The round-back kitchen barstools and curved sectional are from Vanguard Furniture. Chandelier by Arteriors.
Curves counter the hard edges of a modern home. Ostrow repeats the shape throughout the open plan for consistency. Global Views dining chairs in custom upholstery tie into the round table and pattern on the buffet, both by Julian Chichester. Chandelier by Arteriors. Wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries.
“In the guest room, clients are more whimsical or take more chances because they don’t have to live with it every day.”
The bar’s lounge area pairs a Grace Home Furnishings banquette with a Made Goods coffee table and Interlude Home end table. Four Palm Springs prints are by illustrator Tug Rice, represented by Grace Home Furnishings.
The spa-style freestanding tub looks out to a courtyard fountain.
In the master bedroom, a moody mix of chrome, mirrors, linen, velvet, hide, and Mongolian lamb are set against a chain-link pattern.
Predictable the Skye home is not. A brass nail head-trim effect on grasscloth creates a backdrop in the dining room. Fabric lines the back of the living area’s wood built-in, fronted by glass shelves. And Roger Moore sips a cocktail against a lime green wall in the bar. He glances out toward the pool, but to his left is the Italian porcelain wall Ostrow replicated from the model, much to the men’s delight.“We wanted a real bar where people could come and sit and chat,” Padovano says. “When we have people over, it’s the most popular room in the house.”
To impart a vibe in line with Palm Springs’ original heyday, Ostrow relied on throwback artwork and vintage accessories, as period furniture would have felt miniature. Ceramic lamps and vases, pieces of midcentury pottery and glass, and chrome lamps and chandeliers balance out the home’s newness.
The design process opened the couple’s eyes to the polish and personalization a designer can impart, flipping a one-size-fits-all model into custom environments that make a statement both individually and collectively.
“We realize now that if we had been making the choices on our own, this home would look just like our Phoenix house, only with different ceiling heights,” Baker surmises. The home’s liberal scale, angled walls, and spaces visible from multiple vantage points benefitted from Ostrow’s direction.
“My job is to think about the big picture and how it’s going to come together,” says Ostrow. “Some people only think about one room at a time instead of how it will work as a cohesive whole.” Desert dwelling all wrapped up, he is redesigning their San Diego home in a coastal palette of blue, white, and gray.
Meanwhile, the guys spent their first New Year’s Eve walking down the street from Skye to Melvyn’s. They’ve hosted parties, carved out that leisure time by the pool they had envisioned, and gotten a kick out of Pepper, their Portuguese Water Dog, trying to chase the hawks he spies overhead in the courtyard.
“We just love what Michael did with it. And we haven’t looked back,” Padovano adds. “We miss our friends in Phoenix, but this home feels like our home now. And we love Palm Springs. How can you not love it here?”
The orange-infused guest room provides a vibrant Palm Springs welcome.
A group of colorful prints gives the office a playful side.