With a roofline nearly as soaring and purposeful as the high-profile Donald Wexler–designed Palm Springs International Airport (1965), this modest one-bedroom home is burrowed into the hills overlooking the Indian Canyons neighborhood. Seeing impressive lines like this, I’m surprised I have never heard of an architect’s name attached to the home.
Some media outlets (hello, Los Angeles Times; hello, Curbed LA) have been cavalier in claiming the home belonged to the late Zsa Zsa Gabor. The current real estate listing states she lived here, yet no formal documentation confirms she actually owned it. Certainly the legendary actress and socialite spent more than a few afternoons entertaining here. (Just ask the longtime neighbors.) It seems Gabor lived a peripatetic life locally. Several homes in town may have been inhabited by her, including The Arches estate on Chino Canyon Road designed by James McNaughton.
Regardless of Gabor’s use of the home, this 1958-built desert modernist gem is perfectly sited. A bounty of desert flora almost presses against the property. Desert landscaping rises up from below an expansive deck.
Yet the home’s close proximity to its natural surroundings makes it a challenge to photograph. My attempts to photograph the house in full view meant pulling back quite a distance, which would have made it appear too small in the image. Because the roofline is the home’s most salient feature, I chose to focus on that architectural detail instead. I framed the house so the dramatic roofline appears to plummet in like a descending aircraft landing at Wexler’s airport.