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The Palm Springs Idyll

A desert modernist classic (photographed by another modernist classic).


Illustration by James Provost  

When architect Michael Haverland’s client, a New York media executive, bought William F. Cody’s 1962 Palm Springs modernist masterpiece in 2007, it was in pretty bad shape. There was lots of water damage, and once Haverland and his team began probing, he says, “we realized we had to replace big parts of the roof—these houses were typically not built so well.” But preserving the building’s bones while embarking upon a major renovation was a delicate challenge. And without access to Cody’s original plans, Haverland had to study the layout and intuit Cody’s vision. “I do believe, though, that restoration projects shouldn’t always turn back to the original,” Haverland says. Working with interior designer Darren Brown, Haverland built upon Cody’s Desert Modern style; that is, a Bauhaus-inflected indoor-­outdoor aesthetic. (The late great Desert Modern photographer Julius Shulman actually shot these photos just before he died.) Among other things, Haverland extended the steps leading down to the pool so that they run the length of the patio and continue into the water. The poolside area is essentially an outdoor living room, with its statement rug by Edward Fields and David Sutherland sofas. “It’s not just a house plopped on the landscape with windows engaging a lawn,” he says. “Every outdoor space is a defined room in and of itself.”


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