Midcentury Palm Springs Residence Filled With Contemporary Furnishings


Contemporary White Martini Lounge

Vivid Ligne Roset chairs surround a cowhide ottoman by B&B Italia in the martini lounge.

Contemporary White Dining Area

Clerestories flood the dining area with soft light. A sculptural table and chairs, all designed by Paul Evans, anchor the space, where a series of portraits by Lindsay McCrum hangs on the wall. Burke used two layers of a sheer Calvin Fabrics textile for the draperies.

Contemporary Living Room Accent Chair

Designer Vance Burke used a black glass wall—a backdrop for Damien Hirst’s 'Beautiful, Galactic, Exploding,' 2001—to section off the dining area from the living room.

Contemporary White Living Room with Glass Wall

In the living room, the designer offset a Paola Lenti-designed chaise lounge with a pair of 1970s Italian chairs wearing custom Mongolian lambskin slipcovers.

Contemporary Gold Stucco Exterior

The residence was built in the 1960s.

Contemporary Guest Bedroom Rosewood Cabinet

Burke outfitted the guest room with a 1950s rosewood cabinet designed by Paul T. Frankl, a floor-to-ceiling Venini light fixture and a Paul Evans-designed armchair covered with Clarence House suede. The drapery fabric is linen by Calvin Fabrics.

Contemporary Orange-Accented Guest Bedroom

A surrealist painting adorns the wall above the guest room’s Burke-designed bed, covered with a custom spread made with Donghia fabric. The silver 1960s three-panel screen is from Retro Gallery, and the metallic cork wallcovering is by Innovations.

Contemporary Orange-Accented Media Room

A custom sofa and ottomans, upholstered with orange mohair by John Hutton Textiles, anchor the television room. A pair of table lamps—slabs of onyx mounted on Lucite bases—from the Jan Showers Collection imparts an organic touch. 'Overthrow,' 2008, by Curtis Gery hangs above.

Contemporary White Terrace

A large terrace—appointed with furnishings by Janus et Cie—connects to the living room and the master bedroom. Cushion fabric by Donghia, a vintage wall sculpture and Flos floor lamps from Design Within Reach finish the space.

Contemporary Gold Stucco Exterior

The house, made of stucco and textured concrete block, is a midcentury structure designed by architect Richard Harrison. A low concrete wall delineates a patio, furnished with a pair of chairs designed by Harry Bertoia.

Contemporary White Kitchen Window Seat

The kitchen features an ethereal sitting area, where artwork by Donald Baechler is displayed above a Burke-designed chaise lounge upholstered with a Clarence House wool-bouclé blend. Sculptural vases rest atop a silver-leaf side table.

Contemporary Oak Kitchen Niche

A large triptych provides a graphic quality to the kitchen, which displays wire-brushed oak cabinetry. Burke designed a massive Lucite-and-glass table for the area to maintain transparency. The room’s modernist porcelain-and-chrome chandelier is from Plug Lighting.

Contemporary Oak Breakfast Area

Polished terrazzo flooring in the kitchen reflects light that streams in from expansive windows, flanking the fireplace. The beamed ceiling lends a linear effect, while an untitled artwork by Heidi Van Wieren centers the space.

It’s difficult to imagine why anyone would want to escape Los Angeles. But Palm Springs—with its dry climate, sculptural mountain ranges and cinematic blue sky—has served as a prominent getaway for Hollywood legends such as Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe since the early 20th century. Today, not much has changed. The storied desert landscape is still hosting its fair share of L.A.-based talent, including designer Vance Burke. “Palm Springs is to Los Angeles what the Hamptons are to New York City,” he explains. “I especially like that it’s a small town with a progressive population that appreciates design.”

With a steadfast affection for Palm Springs in place, Burke searched and found his own piece of historical design to appreciate: a 1960s stucco-and-concrete-block house designed by architect Richard Harrison. The structure is situated beside a golf course, and Burke was taken with the views of greenery and the amount of open space the course provided. But he was entirely more impressed by the house’s sizable volumes that he would soon fill with iconic furniture, bold hues and large-scale artworks.

“The house became like a design lab,” Burke says. “I pushed the envelope and tried new things. It was an opportunity to be more expressive and use more color because it’s a second home, and I’m not in it all the time.” The designer’s experiments include a black glass partition wall he used to separate the main living area from the dining space and a casual area, dubbed the martini lounge, where he placed bright green low-lying chairs and a futuristic white-lacquer console. His bold choice of colors didn’t stop there. “The custom 18-foot-long orange sofa in the television room is an anti-depressant,” he says. “The master bedroom features turquoise and greens, and there are tangerine linen curtains in the guest bedroom.”

In selecting the furnishings, Burke layered American and European vintage pieces, custom designs, and contemporary items and fabrics to create a distinctive style. “A mix of things is more personal,” he explains. “It’s like when someone cooks and uses multiple flavors that reinforce each other and give greater depth.” In the living room, he offset a Paola Lenti-designed chaise lounge with a pair of 1970s Italian chairs wearing custom Mongolian lambskin slipcovers. For the dining area, Burke found a fantastical vintage table and a set of chairs designed by Paul Evans. And because he wanted to maintain an ethereal feeling in the light-filled kitchen, the designer customized a massive Lucite-and-glass table to function as a second dining area. “A big island just feels so standard,” he says. “At any party, everyone always winds up in the kitchen anyway.”

Todd Peter, Burke’s design partner and art consultant, collaborated on the interiors and helped to select impactful artwork for practically every wall in the house. “The fun thing about Vance’s house is the volumes,” says Peter. “They kind of spoke and just asked for great art.” A Damien Hirst limited-edition serigraph and a massive acrylic on canvas by Jon McCafferty are displayed in the living area, while a collection of photographic portraits, 25/50, an exploration of aging in the faces of men, by Lindsay McCrum, lines a long wall connecting the dining area and martini lounge. “It’s three men who are 25 years old, and three men who are 50 years old,” Peter says. “Depending on the time of day you look at them, different faces seem younger or older.” Burke called in lighting designer Pia Deleon-Neumayr of Plug Lighting to help illuminate the artwork and place the house’s concealed lighting.

Having once lived in New York City and now in Los Angeles, Burke relishes the creative opportunity his desert retreat affords him. “So many times I do a beige sofa or cream-colored curtains,” he says. “This house allows me a little freedom.”