One of the most eagerly anticipated events during every Modernism Week is the unveiling of the latest top-to-bottom renovation by Thomboy Properties, Inc. —aka designers Jackie Thomas and DeeAnn McCoy. The talented duo take midcentury homes that have been neglected and — with a lot of hard work and imagination — transform them into beautiful properties that embrace and respect the past while incorporating 21st-century amenities.
In 2005, the couple bought their first house in the desert in the Palmer & Krisel-designed community of Canyon View Estates. Then, in 2010, they moved here full time from Portland, Oregon — where Thomas worked for Nike and McCoy ran her own ad agency — to establish Thomboy Properties and pursue their passion for midcentury modern architecture.
Among the many properties they have renovated are a number of homes by Stan Sackley, an architect who has slowly begun to draw the attention of midcentury aficionados who were previously more familiar with the work of his contemporaries such as William Krisel, William F. Cody, or Donald Wexler.
"Sackley houses have a strong and muscular orientation on the land, yet they are quite sublime," says Thomas. "His designs have a wonderful graciousness about them — they are confident and inviting and they all possess wonderful elements of surprise."
She also notes that some of the commonalities among Sackley homes are discrete front facades, strong horizontal and vertical lines, interior atriums, skylights, butt glazing (where corners of glass come together), and that they all possess large rooms, scale and volume, indoor bars, and spectacular views.
BEFORE: La Mirada Drive's old living and dining rooms definitely lacked pizazz.
"He was said to have been on-site and 'fiercely' managed all of his projects from design all the way through construction — it's one of the reasons we identify with him," says Thomas. "All of his houses were very well built, some might say over engineered, [for example] sheer walls throughout. The placement of fireplaces and the materials and landscape were all well thought through and executed and they have all stood the test of time."
"We take a different approach to every home whether it’s a Sackley, an Alexander, a Lacy, or a Frey," she adds. "We believe strongly that each home has a story and we work very hard to bring those stories to life."
PHOTOGRAPH BY PATRICK KETCHUM
AFTER: The 3,600-square-foot home on La Mirada Drive was built in 1979 and is located in Palm Springs' Historic Tennis Club neighborhood. Thomas and McCoy added a custom glass railing to separate the dining room from the sunken living room.
For Modernism Week 2020, Thomboy Properties is renovating a 1948, 4,700-square foot home designed by Herbert Burns that's located in the Little Tuscany neighborhood of Palm Springs. For information, visit modernismweek.com.
CALIENTE DRIVE RESTORATION 1
BEFORE: The overgrown, dull exterior of "Caliente 1" prior to renovation. AFTER: Renovated and re-designed for Modernism Week 2015, "Caliente 1" is a 4,500-square-foot home that was built in 1976.
The resort-style backyard at "Caliente 1" has a 16-foot fire pit, outdoor kitchen, and white plastered pool and spa.
The bathrooms at "Caliente 1" feature custom cabinets, free-standing bathtubs, and Italian porcelain showers fitted with Hansgrohe fixtures.
The "Caliente 1" living room. "The yellow Heath tiled fireplace and bar are the most dramatic features in the home," says Thomas.
Caliente Drive Restoration 1 photographs by Patrick Ketchum Photography.
Caliente Drive Restoration 2
BEFORE: Architect Stan Sackley's crisp, linear architecture was completely hidden prior to the renovation.
AFTER: Built in 1979, the renovation of "Caliente 2" was unveiled as a featured home during Modernism Week 2019.
For their "Caliente 2" project, Thomboy dubbed the renovated interior "James Bond" style. "The house had a very fun 1970s vibe and from what we could gather about the previous homeowners they seemed to entertain and have a good time," says Thomas. Custom wallpaper throughout the house was created by local designer and photographer Don Flood of Fliepaper.
The new kitchen at "Caliente 2" employs a rich pallet with walnut cabinets, dark bronze hardware, quartz countertops, a porcelain tile backsplash with gradient desert tones, and JennAir appliances.
Caliente Drive Restoration 2 photographs by James Butchard
La Mirada RESTORATION
BEFORE: The pre-reno, outdated kitchen at La Mirada Drive.
AFTER: The new kitchen at La Mirada Drive is outfitted with Thermador appliances, quartz countertops, and custom teak cabinetry.
A dual-sided, slumpstone fireplace at La Mirada Drive opens to the master bedroom and the living room.
La Mirada Drive Restoration photographs by Patrick Ketchum Photography.