The Palm Springs Idyll

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.”

The House
Working with interior designer Darren Brown, Michael Haverland built upon William F. Cody’s Desert Modern style; that is, a Bauhaus-inflected indoor-outdoor aesthetic. Photo: Julius Shulman

The Breakfast Room
“This was one of the spaces that had been butchered,” Haverland says. The antique Wishbone chairs are by Hans Wegner, and the Eames swag leg table is vintage. Photo: Julius Shulman

The Living Room
Interior designer Darren Brown used a palette of desert colors. The rug was designed by Brown with Edward Fields, the sofa is by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, the hand chair is by Pedro Friedeberg, and the sun lamp is vintage Fantoni. Photo: Julius Shulman

The Pool
The pool area was designed to feel like its own room”hence the massive rug. Photo: Julius Shulman

Alvaro Francisco Olsen (left) West 36th Street and Broadway. On April 16, 2008, Olsen, an El Salvadoran immigrant living in Jackson Heights, was killed by a DHL truck. Flaco East 153rd Street and Melrose Avenue, the Bronx. On May 18, 2007, a thief known as Flaco stole a fourteen-karat-gold cross from a jewelry store on Elton Avenue. He was struck by a city bus as he fled. The necklace was never recovered.

The Palm Springs Idyll