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Lautners Are Forever

Quintessential California architect John Lautner would have been 100 this July. Set high above Palm Springs, his beyond-groovy Elrod House is nothing short of concrete poetry.

rewind elrod house facade

Palm Springs knows no shortage of domestic modern-ist gems—the desert community flourished under the direction of many mid-century masters and remains an oasis of classic homes to this day. Michigan-born John Lautner transformed his early experience working under Frank Lloyd Wright into a career creating a wealth of Southern California structures that broke out of the mold of the oft-restrained geometry of glass and steel. Interior designer Arthur Elrod commissioned this house in 1968, and the cliffside residence—complete with oversize exposed rocks, spiral staircase, and its signature dome—remains one of the most recognizable homes of the era.

rewind elrod house
Key features: Circular concrete construction, retractable glass walls,
swimming pool that sweeps into the living space.

Notable appearances: Willard Whyte’s hideaway in the James Bond
adventure Diamonds Are Forever, a spread in a 1971 issue of Playboy.

Good neighbors: Steve McQueen once owned the house next door.

Photo by John Lautner.
Photo by John Lautner.
Photo by John Lautner.
Photo by John Lautner.
Photo by John Lautner.
Photo by John Lautner.

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