With a history of famous owners and playing host to TV shows, this Rancho Mirage home is a celebrity in its own right.
Like a Hollywood A-lister, this Rancho Mirage home keeps good company. Saul Marantz — founder of the Marantz Company, which produces high-performance stereos and home entertainment equipment — built the home in Tamarisk Country Club in 1959. Decades later, Macy’s, Mercedes, and Volvo all used the home as a backdrop for photo shoots. The front of the home, anchored by its prominent gull-wing roofline, made the cover of the book Palm Springs Weekend. In 2003, Bravo TV filmed the reality show Boy Meets Boy there. Now, Jazzercise founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett owns the iconic residence.
The path to stardom was not an easy one for this home. Though the original floor plan featured large, bright rooms; high, angled ceilings; and tall windows, subsequent homeowners after Marantz placed drywall over many of the clerestory windows and partitioned off rooms. The home was a shell of its original glory. Then, a neighboring Neutra home at Tamarisk was demolished in the middle of the night, to the surprise and dismay of many preservationists. Realtor Andy Linsky didn’t want the same fate for the Marantz home, so he purchased it and hired designers Daniel Wright and Tim Clark of Wright Design to return the landmark home to its roots. “We got to be part of saving, enhancing, and restoring an architectural icon,” Wright said. “That was incredible for us.”
Though the home’s architecture is midcentury modern at its finest, Wright wanted a design that pulled in other elements as well. “I wanted a midcentury feel, but I didn’t want to be so locked into that period,” he says. “For some reason, I kept picturing the flower Mexican bird of paradise as the [inspiration] for the living room. I wanted brown, green, and oranges, and I wanted it to look earthy, but I still wanted that happening ’50s feel, too.”
Wright pulled in both existing and new elements to create the whimsical design. One of the focal points of the home is the copper fireplace with black crushed glass at the base. Proportionate to the spacious living room, the curved, leather sectional couch in the living room complements the high, angled ceiling. A view overlooking palm trees and mountains through an all-glass wall frames the living room. Stamped concrete floors accent the entire space.
The powder room features one of Missett’s favorite design elements of the home: a panel hidden in the wall’s geometric design that leads to a secret laundry room. Nearby, a wet bar and informal dining area adjoin the living room. The kitchen mixes modern and retro with stainless steel appliances and terrazzo countertops.
The master suite takes cues from modern Asian design while still paying homage to the home’s history with a George Nelson bench. Wright designed the master closet to resemble a haberdashery and accented it with costume sketches from Valley of the Dolls. The second bedroom’s black, gray, and red color scheme offers a modern retreat for guests, who have their own bathroom and a private door leading outside.
Outside, copper tile surrounds the pool. The adjacent two-bedroom guest house welcomes visitors with saw-cut circles in the concrete floors and vintage lamps, desk, bookcase, furniture, and original elevations of the home. Original tile and Picasso prints decorate the bathroom.
The home’s strong architectural presence and playful design immediately resonated with Missett, who purchased the home turnkey after seeing it previewed in the “Hot Properties” section of the Los Angeles Times. “A friend came with me to see it,” recalls Missett, who uses the home for entertaining. “We drove up and I thought it was just sort of me. It just spoke to me — it was like, ‘You are home.’ … The house is bright, happy, and fun. That’s how I try to live my life.”