3.04.2011

Feature Friday: Frank Sinatra Twin Palms Estate

Since I am so eager to share with you my photos from Palm Springs Modernism Week, I am taking a break from the "culture style" Feature Friday's but I will return to that soon. The first house I toured in P.S. was the Twin Palms Estate. This was the first Palm Springs home for Frank Sinatra and his first wife, Nancy Barbato. The story is that in the summer of 1947, Frank wandered into the office of an inexperienced residential architect, E.Stewart Williams. While eating an ice cream cone, he said he wanted a house designed and completed in time for his Christmas party. Frank wanted a Georgian-style mansion but was persuaded by Williams to go with a more modern desert architectural style. The home consists of long, overly extended intersecting horizontal lines, an indication of the architectural style of the time. Driving down the street of this home, one would never guess that Frank Sinatra once lived here. This is not to say that the homes in the surrounding area are not nice but that they are accessed easily and are not as lavish as I would have thought. However, when Frank had the home built, there was nothing else in the area. The growth of the city has boxed in this home and unless you're looking, you'll drive right by it. The estate is available for vacation rentals, small wedding and events.

The pathway of the property has an open slated overhang that when the sun hits it just right, has been said to create the keys to the piano shaped pool. The architect said that this was not intentional but it sure makes you wonder how such an appropriate coincidence could occur. You can see above that the sun isn't at the right angle but the shadows on the ground are strong and align in perfect position with the pool for the picture to be complete.



 These extremely tall palms (once the tallest in P.S.) give this home the name, Twin Palms Estate.





The living room is surrounded by a fireplace, an enormous glass wall with sliding glass doors that access the pool area, and Frank's original recording area. The room feels much larger than its actual size due to the high ceilings, glass wall and the low height of the mid-century furniture. Within this large feeling space, a sense of intimacy exists. The zebra wood cabinets, the wood ceilings and the mustard yellow and olive colors found in the furniture/artwork are all in warm tones that make the space feel welcoming.

In the living room is the original recording area where Frank was able to record music from his home. The system was directly linked to his studio in Los Angeles. Pretty fancy technology if you ask me!

The remodeled kitchen just doesn't  "wow" me but I think I was just expecting something with a bit more character. Some of the warmer woods seen throughout the rest of the house would have worked nicely. What do you think?
The master bedroom is on its own wing of the house, opposite from his children's rooms. The master bedroom has the same large floor to ceiling windows that are seen from the living room. The room has a small fireplace, large walk-in closet and bathroom.

It probably seems weird that I took a picture of the master bedroom sink but that sprawling crack is from a fight between Frank and his wife at the time, Ava Gardner. I was told that during a heated quarrel, Frank through a bottle of Jack Daniels at Ava, missed and cracked their master bedroom sink. However, I've also heard that it was a bottle of champagne and that it was Ava who through it at Frank after learning about his affair with Lana Turner... interesting nonetheless.
Nancy Jr.'s Room has this fantastic fireplace and sliding doors that access the outdoor pool. The bed's comforter and headboard are the same as the one seen in Frank's room. I have a feeling the matching pair aren't original to the home.

Frank Sinatra Jr.'s room is masculine and flanked with photos of old Hollywood celebs. This is one of the only rooms that does not have floor to ceiling glass wall but it does have a window which looks out to the original entrance to the house. The current entrance of the house was once the back and conversely, the back of the house is a large roundabout driveway that was the original entrance. I believe this change has to do with the fact that when the house was built, there were no other homes in the area.

This pool side cove is the perfect place to get a break from the desert heat and still relax. Next to this small cabana are his and hers restrooms so there is no need to trek through the house in your bathers. Convenient? I think so. Behind the cabana and restroom walls is a small citrus orchard and to the side is another seating area. The back(now front)yard has lots of open space and is minimal in landscaping and furnishings. The yards at this home are perfect for parties and small events; both the front and the back are ample in space and with their being restrooms outside the home, their is no need to have guests inside the home. It can be rented at $2,600/night and sleeps 8. It would be fun to gather a few friends and all chip in to enjoy that pool on a warm Palm Springs evening!  



All photos: Love.Inspire.Create

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