Palm Springs Visitor Center Photo credit Arthur Coleman Photography
Palm Springs Visitor Center Photo credit Arthur Coleman Photography

These 7 Iconic Homes Are What Midcentury Modern Dreams Are Made Of

From Elvis’ Futuristic Honeymoon Hideaway to Frank Sinatra’s Palatial Party Pad Famous Celebrity Homes

Written By: David Rush Famous Celebrity Homes

Palm Springs is known as one of America’s great getaways, attracting the rich and famous from celebrities to presidents. The desert lifestyle—centered on golf, tennis, swimming and partying—is framed by its modern architecture. Take a peek at the houses that help tell the Palm Springs story.

 Famous Celebrity Homes

A Diamond In The Desert

Once a filming location for the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever, Elrod House is an architectural masterpiece created by John Lautner in 1968. With its sculptural concrete roof soaring above the living room and panoramic views of the desert below, it is one of the most iconic homes in the valley.

Native Knowledge: Elrod House is in the gated Southridge neighborhood, but it can be seen clearly by hiking up the hill on nearby Araby Trail. Don’t miss the famous Bob Hope House at the top of the ridge!

Elrod House

2175 Southridge Dr

Palm Springs, CA 92264

Palm Springs Temple Of Modernism

Designed by renowned architect Richard Neutra in 1946 for a wealthy department store magnate, the Kaufmann House is a must-see for fans of desert modernism. Arguably one of the most important homes in America, it’s also famous for the Slim Aarons photograph “Poolside Gossip” shot there in 1970.

Native Knowledge: Kauffman House can only be viewed from the street, but it’s still an eyeful.  Its owner once claimed it to be a “conceited little house” because it likes to be looked at from any angle!

Kaufmann House

470 W Vista Chino

Palm Springs, CA 92262

Legendary House Of Cards

No other house reflects Palm Springs’ notorious heyday in the ‘50s and ‘60s better than the Kennedy Lawford house. Here behind the hedges, in a modest midcentury modern home, were written the stories of celebrities’ seduction and scandal involving movie star Peter Lawford, the Kennedys, Sinatra, the mafia and Monroe.

Native Knowledge: There is a bronze plaque at the curb explaining the importance of this house. All but the entryway is hidden from sight, leaving a sense of mystery about what might have happened inside.

Kennedy Lawford House

1295 N Via Monte Vista

Palm Springs, CA 92262

Sinatra Brings Out The Stars

The “Palm Springs-style” was born here at Twin Palms Estate, Frank Sinatra’s first desert home, designed in 1947 by famous desert architect, E. Stewart Williams. With its oversized bar and grand piano-shaped swimming pool, the estate was built to please Sinatra, the Rat Pack and Hollywood’s elite who partied here.

Native Knowledge: Inside the house, a crack in the bathroom sink from a flying Champagne bottle marks a famous quarrel with wife Ava Gardner.

Twin Palms Estate

1145 E Vía Colusa

Palm Springs, CA 92262

The Lap Of Luxury

This sprawling estate, built for legendary crooner Bing Crosby in 1957, captures the essence of desert luxury living. Palatial even by today’s standards at 6,700 square feet, the Thunderbird Heights home is a secluded oasis, rumored to have been the location of Marilyn Monroe’s tryst with John F. Kennedy.

Native Knowledge: The desert has long been known as the “Playground Of Presidents.” Bing Crosby hosted John F. Kennedy at his home in 1962, and more recently Barack Obama has made this same neighborhood his favorite getaway.

Bing Crosby Estate

70375 Calico Rd

Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

King Of The Hill

It’s true: Elvis is in the house. At least he was, from 1966-1967 during his long honeymoon with wife Priscilla. Now a required stop on any Elvis pilgrimage, the house, dubbed the “House Of Tomorrow” by “Look Magazine” in 1962, seems to be flying off the hillside, wings stretched.

Native Knowledge: The vacant lot behind this house served as the famous couples’ getaway after paparazzi discovered they were there to be wed. Instead, they escaped out the back door, took Sinatra’s jet to Vegas, exchanged vows and returned when the crowd was long gone.

Elvis Honeymoon House

1350 Ladera Cir

Palm Springs, CA 92262

A Palace For a Pianist

Liberace and extravagance are synonymous. Here, where the legendary pianist lived from in the late 1950s and early ’60s, his flair for the dramatic extends all the way to the curb. Bright white Grecian columns, urns, muscular statues and a mailbox sculpted as a miniature grand piano tell you that you have arrived.

Native Knowledge: The current owners have kept many original attributes of the home as a testament to its former resident and will sometimes open the doors to the public during Modernism Week.

Piazza de Liberace

1441 N Kaweah Rd

Palm Springs, CA 92262

About the author

Priscilla is a Southern California native who is studying English and Literary Journalism. Some of her favorite things to do are archery, traveling, and trying out new foods. Aside from school and writing for Locale Magazine, she is working on a young adult fiction novel and hopes to achieve her dream of publishing a book series.


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