Palm Springs Living

These days it seems the most popular neighborhood in San Francisco is Palm Springs. Who doesn’t know someone, or a few, who have taken a second residence in the desert valley? Obviously the weather, the extreme opposite-ness from what we have here, is a big draw, and its friendly atmosphere for the gay and lesbian population is well-known, but as Diane Dorrans Saeks shows in her gorgeous new book, “Palm Springs Living,” the true excitement about Palm Springs is its architecture.


Photo: Tim Street-Porter for the New York Times.

In fact, this week The New York Times has a big piece on one of the finest homes in the United States — Richard Neutra’s “Kaufmann House” in Palm Springs — and how it’s going up for auction at Christie’s New York for between $15 and $25 million, more like art than real estate.


Photo: Tim Street-Porter for the New York Times.

The Kaufmann House is actually the first house to be featured in Ms. Saeks’ book (which has just been published by Rizzoli — I definitely recommend it.) She calls it “the greatest desert house,” which “stands like a sentinel of Modernism on a hillside in Palm Springs.”

It’s just one of the 29 homes profiled in the book. She also writes about homes designed by John Lautner, E. Stewart Williams, and Albert Frey; she writes about homes once owned by Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant; the home currently owned by James Galanos, and a motel that has been turned into a museum in honor of William Burroughs. It is really just the most fantastic eye candy for fans of architecture and interior design, and of course Palm Springs.

Victoria Card, Dianne Dorrans Saeks and Michael Mott

Many of Ms. Saeks’ devoted readers showed up recently at Pacific Heights Place to get a signed copy of the book. It was my first opportunity to meet her and I’m so glad I did. I found her to be a woman of absolute refinement and sophistication, sharp in wit, and engaging in conversation. One had the sense that although she was seated by a wall at the side of the shop, surrounded by readers and friends, she saw and knew everything that was happening in the room — she has that kind of presence and power of insight, which I suppose is what makes her such an interesting writer.

Here are some of the fabulous people who came to the book signing, which was held at the huge new store on Union and Franklin called Pacific Heights Place. I fell in the love with it myself, and I’m still thinking about getting one of the beautiful velvet couches I saw.

Mireille Schwartz and Sophia Bekele
Alex Chases and Shannon Bavaro


Maria Quiros and Justin Fichelson
Marcy Carmack, Craig Card and Kim Karp
Candra Scott, Carol Thosath
Vaughn Woodson, Ben Storck
Rosie D’Argenzio, Will Hamilton, Lawanna Endonino
Jennifer Bernabei, Stephanie Dawson
Francoise Skurman, Andrew Skurman, Gail Glasser
Dale Brown, Barbara Brown, Jonathan Straley
Adrian Sawyer, Victoria Yeager