On Sunday night, Modernism Week will take center stage in Rancho Mirage for the Swan House — a roomy, newly remodeled Thunderbird Heights estate with mysterious provenance. The estate features clean lines and clerestory windows in the international style, and inside, it’s riddled with accent wallpaper and tile.
Just three years ago, however, appraisers suggested tearing it down.
“I really think we saved this house,” said Howard Hawkes, one of the co-owners of H3K Design, which bought the house out of foreclosure in 2012 and started restoring it this spring. “When we were getting our financing, one of the appraisers who came here told us that the house wasn’t worth saving... But we saw its potential.”
New York couple Kermit E. Ferrer and John A. Criscuolo were excited to bring their 1958 William Krisel-designed vacation home in Palm Springs, California, back to its midcentury roots while also infusing it with the charms of their other favorite vacation destination: Guatemala. Criscuolo, with family ties to the Central American country, and his partner tasked the designers at H3K Design to incorporate the colors, textures and spirit of Guatemala within the midcentury lines of this classic Palm Springs home.
A la pareja neoyorquina formada por Kermit Ferrer y John Criscuolo le fascinaba la idea de devolver su magnífica residencia de vacaciones, diseñada por William Krisel en 1958 y ubicada en Palm Strings (California), a sus orígenes de mediados del siglo XX. Asimismo, querían impregnarla del encanto que tiene su destino de vacaciones por excelencia: Guatemala. Kermit, cuyos vínculos familiares se extienden hasta América Central, y su pareja encomendaron a los diseñadores de H3K Design la tarea de inspirarse en los colores, las texturas y el espíritu de Guatemala para su reforma, manteniendo a su vez las líneas clásicas de esta residencia de verano.
Everyone within a 50-mile radius talks about — and strives for — indoor-outdoor living. But this 1958 home that underwent a deep, top-to-bottom renovation by H3K Design takes it to an awesome extreme.
Beyond the zero-level fire pit that welcomes a bar to slide over the top when not in use and the new track lighting tucked into the original tongue-and-groove ceiling, the home’s designers employed an irresistible decorating approach.
H3K got some outstanding attention from Housely.com recently. Here's what they had to say about our work:
"Have you ever seen a home design so fabulous that you wondered who did it and how? Probably. Sure, there are plenty of people who would love to redecorate and redesign their homes, but they often find themselves stuck deciding where to start and what to do. Like any other form of art, designing a home requires a lot of thought, attention to detail, time, and dedication. In fact, many people view their homes as canvases waiting to be touched. Even for people who are able to come up with lots of amazing ideas, it can still be difficult to put them into action. Also, in many cases, there are budget, space, and other constraints that keep people from bringing their ideas to life.
The first edition of Dish Creative Cuisine, in Cathedral City, had nine tables. If the dining room was classified as tiny, the kitchen was downright cramped. It worked for a couple years as the restaurant built up a following, but eventually, Chef Joane Garcia-Colson and her partner, Michelle Heinrich, felt like the "uber small kitchen" was limiting their creativity.
From the Desert Sun:
"Sunset Towers on Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs keeps getting sparked with more life, and now — light.
The three torches standing high above the classic mid-century modern roofline will be re-lighted Sunday, Oct. 12, during the Modernism Week Fall Preview weekend.
The relighting will be part of the Uptown Lights Up The Night event at 7:30 p.m. at the corner of 140 W. Via Lola and N. Palm Canyon Drive. The event is open to the public.
In the past two years, the Sunset Towers complex has been transformed from disrepair back to its 1950s glory when dining spots like Don the Beachcomber was frequented by singer/actor Bing Crosby; film director/producer Mervyn LeRoy — he became head of production at MGM in 1938 and was nominated for an Academy Award as producer of "The Wizard of Oz"; Col. Winthrop Rockefeller, who would become the 37th governor of Arkansas in 1967; and radio comedian Freeman Gosden, who voiced Amos in the "Amos 'n' Andy" show.
Today, the complex is home to Ernest Coffee Co., Bootlegger Tiki, Archangel Gallery and Woodman Shimko Gallery. The restaurant Dish will relocate from Cathedral City to the site in mid-October. The building — renamed The Twist by owners Tim Brinkman and Paul Warrin — also houses 140 Via Lola Apartments with 38 units.
'We are thrilled that the renovation of the building's famed torches was completed in time to be part of the Uptown Design District event," Hawkes said in a statement. "It also provides us with an excellent opportunity to show how we've re-imagined a faded mid-century gem and updated it for the 21st century. With so many people likely to be out and about for the Uptown event, it's the perfect time to re-light the flame.'"
The sprawling, mid-century modern complex at 140 Via Lola in Palm Springs is in the throes of a renaissance.
The property includes a long, rectangular, glass-facade building that faces Palm Canyon Drive and houses four — soon to be five — businesses and a handful of vacation rental apartments on the second floor, above the retail/restaurant level.
Behind the building, extending west on Via Lola, is a sparkling swimming pool and more apartment units — 38 in all.
The street-facing building — former home of Don the Beachcomber, one of the many Polynesian-style dining establishments opened by Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, known as the founding father of tiki restaurants, bars and nightclubs — is being re-imagined by the owners of Palm Springs-based H3K Design.
H3K Design was once again featured on Houzz.com in a great piece about our recent project, Laverne 2, in a piece called "Pools and Martinis Inspire a Palm Springs Remodel".
Here's an excerpt from the article:
"What lures people to Palm Springs, California, a desert where temperatures can top 116 degrees? Oh, probably a cool pool, Frank Sinatra and a few martinis. That’s what designers Howard Hawkes and Kevin Kemper had in mind when they rehabilitated this dilapidated midcentury home. “We really tried to give off the sense that this was an ultimate Palm Springs getaway,” Kemper says.
The mid-century home boasts signature Palm Springs style in a total (H3K Design) remodel of a structure built by the original Alexander Construction Company. All-white interiors complemented by pops of color reflect the modernized update of the renovation. Extra details such as a kitchen countertop that appears to be floating in space and a globe-shaped vent over the stove add character to the house. Original details of the 1958 home, including exposed beams, tongue and groove joints and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, pay homage to its historical connection to old Palm Springs architecture.
by Dominique Fong, The Desert Sun
July 17, 2014