1011 West Cielo Drive: A Mid-Century Modern Masterpiece
Blending historical importance and timeless design, 1011 West Cielo Drive, known as “The Alexander House” after Dr. Franz Alexander, is perched upon a hill in the Little Tuscany neighborhood of Palm Springs, one of the city’s oldest residential districts that was popular with the legendary “Rat Pack” of Hollywood fame. The secluded property boasts more than 3,200 square-foot with a main residence featuring 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and an oversized 2-car garage, as well as a separate guest house with 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, and a spacious living room. Explosive Coachella Valley vistas put the finishing touch on what is a unique and historically important Mid-Century Modern property. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the California State Office of Historic Preservation in 2016.
Unparalleled Architectural Pedigree and Prominence
Master architect Walter S. White, who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and collaborated with renowned architects Rudolph Schindler and Albert Frey, designed and constructed the original residence in 1956, and it embodies the works for which White is known. White’s architectural genius is on display throughout the property, and his thoroughly researched and detailed approach comes to life in remarkable form through the most minute of details. During the design process, White took into account all elements of the home’s location and placement, including wind patterns, natural elements in the surrounding terrain, and direction of the sun. From its foundation embedded in natural boulders to its signature curving roof, all of White’s master vision has a direct effect on the livability of the home which endures today. The site’s mixture of desert trees, cacti, and plantings set above a sea of boulders in front of the house enhance the property’s privacy and make the home appear to organically rise from the adjacent desert landscape.
Architectural highlights include a curling roof that seems to peel away from the 2-story building whose western half appears to be embedded into the hillside; a floating “light shelf” set between the roof and the sliding glass walls on the home’s south side; and unusual V-shaped steel supports that give the appearance that the eastern half of the home hovers above the natural bolder-covered slope. The lower level of the home is also wrapped in glass and incorporates locally obtained “lava rock,” which continues into the interior on both levels. The upper level of the home integrates vertical redwood siding and glass with a spacious rear balcony, creating the ultimate outdoor setting to enjoy the jaw-dropping down-valley views.
Refined Touches Create an Unmatched Desert Lifestyle
Impressive detail makes the interior of the Alexander House just as appealing as its external form. The home was tastefully updated to blend modern comforts with its historical character, including updated kitchen appliances and bath furnishings. Original touches include a White-designed, custom steel pendant chandelier, suspended from the end of the joist of a black-painted steel beam; a free-standing circular steel fireplace; and an open-tread, black-steel staircase created by Albert Frey. Rooms in the lower level of the home, including the master retreat, open directly to the backyard and take advantage of the gorgeous views. All of these features contribute to the distinctive character and enhance the luxurious lifestyle that awaits at the Alexander House.
The Perfect Backyard Retreat
The ultimate desert home deserves the finest backyard, and this home does not disappoint. Surrounded by beautifully manicured, lush landscaping is an original 28-foot-wide circular pool, complemented by an elevated rock-clad hot tub. A spacious patio area is the perfect place to perch in the sun and enjoy the impressive mountain and desert views, refreshing beverage in hand.
For additional information about 1011 West Cielo Drive (the Alexander House), or to schedule a private showing, contact Patrick Jordan or Stewart Smith of Patrick-Stewart Properties. You may also see more on this historically important property in our latest issue of AT HOME Collection.
Quick Facts about 1011 West Cielo Drive (the Alexander House):
- Listed for $2,795,000
- Designed by Walter S. White, apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright
- Included on the National Register of Historic Places
- Infinite views of Coachella Valley
- Unique architecture that blends with natural surroundings
- Remodeled kitchen and bathrooms
- Circular Pool and spa
- Private setting
- Includes unique original designs, including curved roof, circular fireplace, Frey-designed staircase, oversized garage with extra room for a workout or wine room
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