Architect Stan Boles and interior designer Michael Walters opened up the house for views and entertaining. Inside, the dining table seats 10, the 14-foot island seats six, and a wall of sliders lets the party flow out to the pool.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LANCE GERBER
Those who rub elbows with the Coachella Valley’s midcentury architecture have seen, or at least heard about, the unspeakable alterations owners have imposed upon their own homes over the past seven decades.
Short of bulldozing a significant structure, there is a long list of heinous modifications many would agree are taboo. Boxing in a perfectly good folded-plate roofline — one of only four by Palmer and Krisel for the Alexander Construction Company in Vista Las Palmas — tops that list.
In a stroke of architectural destiny, the owners of said folded-plate home, built in 1960, count architect Stan Boles, FAIA, as a neighbor, and now a friend. Boles was just the man to restore the home’s roofline and, along with interior designer Michael Walters of Dakota DesignWorks, achieve much more.
Looking out from the new primary bedroom suite, one’s eyes sail across the pool and up to the mountain.
“We had to bring the house back from the dead,” Boles says. “The previous owners had totally obscured the fact that it was a Krisel-Alexander, much less a folded-plate roof.” For close to 20 years, a parapet concealed its rare design from both inside and out. Neither the homeowners nor passersby could enjoy the uplifting sight of this iconic roofline skipping and hopping along the façade. Additionally, a trellis covered the courtyard, and an entry tower encased the front door. Above the chilly, white-on-white interiors, a false ceiling hung low.
“It didn’t make any sense,” Boles says. “And it didn’t have anything to do with midcentury or good design. We started by erasing, trying to get back to the bones.”
Boles also owns a house by William Krisel. He technically retired in 2014 but has since applied his discerning eye and sharp skill set to his own Palm Springs and Idyllwild homes, along with select midcentury mishaps like this one. Boles’ remodel re-established the roofline’s folded contour, added a 750-square-foot bedroom suite, and in fixing what was wrong, helped to create a thoughtful, full-time residence to beautifully enfold its owners.
“We sat with Michael early on, too,” says Don Zuidema, who shares the home with partners Mike McGinley and Alfredo Izaguirre and their chihuahua, Gesselle. “Each of us took clippings out of magazines and gave him look books saying, ‘This is how we live. These are the colors we like. These are the styles.’ ” After relocating from L.A., the men lived in the home for a year before they composed their wish list. Long conversations with Walters covered which pieces held sentimental value and which pieces could go.
Then they vacated. Sort of. The men rented a house three doors down the street so they could participate in the home’s progress and approve any revisions.
The newly revealed folded plate roofline rises above a wall of concrete screen block.
Contractor Wes Sugg formed the third part of the winning equation. Recognized as a hands-on talent who builds his own projects, Sugg maintains a core team of a few, trusted, right-hand men. Though the timeline stretched longer than all parties had anticipated, the homeowners benefited from the opportunity to weigh each option and engage Boles, Walters, and Sugg in deeper discussions.
Structure in place, Boles created openings throughout the house to connect the interior with the beauty outdoors.
The anomaly of a Palm Springs home with no view also led Boles to remove the courtyard trellis and place windows on either side of the rebuilt hearth. “Now when you walk in the front door,” he says, “you can look west and see the mountains.”
The office wall mural from Italy is through Allred Collaborative.
Walters countered the linear interior architecture with curved and circular forms. Three photographs by Matt Wessen through Compound YV.
Dropping in one last slider completed the east-to-west glass line looking out to the pool. Replacing the central HVAC system with a series of mini splits allowed Boles to raise the 8-foot ceiling. He extended the visual space into the landscape by matching the porcelain tile indoors with the color of the patio concrete. The space flows in and out.
Boles’ rabbit-from-a-hat moment lies in the new wing of the home. Where once there was only yard, there is now a glorious mountain view to wake up to. The new primary bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet, and laundry room of the addition adjoin the former primary bedroom, repurposed as the media/family room where everyone likes to hang out.
Boles and Walters worked hard to blend original with new. All three bedrooms, for example, enjoy clerestory windows and have wood paneling behind upholstered headboards. “There’s always a hint of wood picking up your eye and guiding you through the space,” Boles says.
Boles’ groundwork informed Walters selection of furniture, fixtures, and materials. New and custom furnishings balance the linear architecture with gentle arcs and curves. Keeping things personal, he recovered the clients’ chairs in each bedroom and one in the media room, giving familiar favorites a fresh start.
It’s a peaceful home, likely stemming from the concentration of quality time the team spent together and the harmony among all six participants. A balance is at play despite the home’s more capricious moments.
The commissioned painting in the dining area is by Palm Springs artist Shawn Savage.
Quiet zones alternate with jubilant outbursts — like the turquoise tile in the pool bath and McGinley’s tropical reading room — in a house that is neither color-drenched nor neutral. Indigo upholstery in the living room faces jade green chairs in the dining room. Even such decisive hues do not upstage Boles’ main attractions: the comforting honey tones of the wood ceiling’s peaks and beams, the wood fireplace surround, and the concrete block hearth. “The color is low key,” Walters says, “but it’s there.
“The clients have energy,” he adds. “They’re charming people. The house doesn’t need to compete with them.”
Where a waterfall island would have looked heavy, Boles modified the homeowners’ request with a floating top made of white stone. Walters suggested cutouts to add nuance on the side facing the living and dining areas.
At the same time, the owners didn’t want their spaces to feel too reserved. “We solved that with a series of wallcoverings, playful tile patterns, and interesting art,” Walters says. Meeting local artists Kippi Leonard and Shawn Savage instilled a closeness to the new artworks they purchased, akin to the attachment they held for their existing pieces, often purchased on their travels.
Walters’ details required a masterful architectural director. “Stan had a very clear, specific, super-clean vision. The guys like to entertain, so they like a little sparkle,” Walters says. “The result is a combination of Stan’s precise architecture and my more eclectic environments.”
Nature itself motivated a powerful indoor-outdoor connection. If Krisel didn’t intend those folded plates to mimic the mountains, the mind still wants to link the two.
“Almost every time you take a turn, your eye goes to the outside now,” says Boles, whose widening of the corridor off the entry included a window at the end. As one steps in the front door and finds that new western view of the mountains from the living room, they can also look east and into McGinley’s thriving garden.
A white tongue-and-groove ceiling denotes areas of the original home, including the media room. Walters called upon Compound YV to assist with artwork curation including a collage by Patrick Lamb.
A Michael Townsend photograph decorates the wall.
“My royal poinciana tree, like you find in the Caribbean and Mexico, was literally 6 feet tall when I bought it last year,” he says. “It grew 20 feet this summer. It’s my pride and joy.”
The lifelong friend to plants and animals spends mornings in his meditation garden. Find him on the bench, in the hammock, or tending to his vegetables, from broccoli to artichokes, like a doting farmer. No one fully understands how his tropical plants thrive under desert conditions or how the queen palms look fit for a queen, but word of his magic touch has spread. Though McGinley worked with Bennett Puterbaugh on the landscape, he now consults for others to cultivate small garden spaces like his own.
Back in their home, the owners’ wish list is complete. Lightened and larger, the home easily welcomes 100 guests for a fundraiser. It’s equally inviting for dinner with friends or just them by the pool. Functionality being key, Walters opted for hard-wearing performance rugs and Sunbrella fabric for the favored media room sofas. They love to cook, so Boles gave them a giant kitchen in place of a tiny one, then created plenty of clandestine storage.
Walters encouraged a curved tub over an angular one, landing on the Ocala
from Signature Hardware through Ferguson. Custom chandelier by Hennepin Made sourced through Design Collaborative.
Cathedral-grain wood paneling backs a custom headboard and nightstands.
“Stan was able to interpret how we wanted to live, and Michael did an amazing job translating what we liked into what should be in the home,” Zuidema says. “Between them, we got everything we wanted.”
As did the neighborhood. With its original folded-plate roofline on full display, the home will take its rightful place on a tour hosted by Palm Springs Preservation Foundation during Modernism Week.