Borrego Springs' Mod Houses

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April 18, 2011

I posted some of the mid-century buildings in my last Borrego Springs update, but over the course of my three days in the desert I visited a half dozen really beautiful homes. Lucky for you, I met photographer Judy Parker, who has shot much of the great architecture in the town and has kindly allowed me to post some of it here. Spared my grainy, ill-lit snapshots, you can revel in the lovingly preserved design details that make Borrego Springs a desert paradise. If you like what you see, do look into getting a copy of Parker's excllent book Borrego Modern. I've got one and it's a really great glimpse of this unique community.

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  I loved the interior of the Givler Residence from 1958 by Henry Hester. The current resident, San Diego-based architect Trace Wilson, actually bought the place to get it back into his family. The home was designed for his grandfather and Wilson has all manner of photos and memorabilia of himself as a boy at the house. Much of the furniture was designed by Hester as well.  Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    I loved the interior of the Givler Residence from 1958 by Henry Hester. The current resident, San Diego-based architect Trace Wilson, actually bought the place to get it back into his family. The home was designed for his grandfather and Wilson has all manner of photos and memorabilia of himself as a boy at the house. Much of the furniture was designed by Hester as well.

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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  Here's a view of the Givler Residence from the golf course it sits on. The main house is one long volume with a small guest house (a near replica of the master bedroom in the main house) just to the side. The views onto the course are lovely, but the mountains beyond are better.  Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    Here's a view of the Givler Residence from the golf course it sits on. The main house is one long volume with a small guest house (a near replica of the master bedroom in the main house) just to the side. The views onto the course are lovely, but the mountains beyond are better.

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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  Here's another house we visited, a long white rectangle with a killer pool between the house and the street. Borrego Springs has lots of pools, but this one somehow seemed equally useful for swimming a few laps and lolling with a cocktail.
    Here's another house we visited, a long white rectangle with a killer pool between the house and the street. Borrego Springs has lots of pools, but this one somehow seemed equally useful for swimming a few laps and lolling with a cocktail.
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  Here's a nice yellow detail from the Borrego Gold Club Estates. The building was done in 1959 by San Diego-based architect William Krisel.  Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    Here's a nice yellow detail from the Borrego Gold Club Estates. The building was done in 1959 by San Diego-based architect William Krisel.

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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  This is one of my favorites of Parker's images. Not only does the taxidermy really stand out, but in the clean, modern space with that accent wall behind it, it's really dramatic. The Anza Borrego desert is loaded with big horn sheep so this certainly evokes that. Just goes to show you what a splash of color can do to a neutral space.  Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    This is one of my favorites of Parker's images. Not only does the taxidermy really stand out, but in the clean, modern space with that accent wall behind it, it's really dramatic. The Anza Borrego desert is loaded with big horn sheep so this certainly evokes that. Just goes to show you what a splash of color can do to a neutral space.

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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  Parker's ties to Borrego Springs actually go back three generations. Here's the house that her grandparents lived in. It was designed by architect Dick Zerbe, a guy I didn't know much about but did a fair amount of work in Borrego Springs. The house itself has amazingly well preserved bones. And an indoor pool!  Courtesy of: (C)2007 {your name}, all rights reserved
    Parker's ties to Borrego Springs actually go back three generations. Here's the house that her grandparents lived in. It was designed by architect Dick Zerbe, a guy I didn't know much about but did a fair amount of work in Borrego Springs. The house itself has amazingly well preserved bones. And an indoor pool!

    Courtesy of: (C)2007 {your name}, all rights reserved

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  A moody shot of another Dick Zerbe house. This is one of the Fairway cottages he designed at the De Anza Country Club. There are a dozen small Zerbe houses around the club that were originally for folk visiting and deciding where they wanted to build.  Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    A moody shot of another Dick Zerbe house. This is one of the Fairway cottages he designed at the De Anza Country Club. There are a dozen small Zerbe houses around the club that were originally for folk visiting and deciding where they wanted to build.

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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  Here's a peek inside the Fairway cottage that Bill Lawrence (Borrego Springs' leading modernist historian) and his wife own. It was built in 1959 and is number 11 of 12.  Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    Here's a peek inside the Fairway cottage that Bill Lawrence (Borrego Springs' leading modernist historian) and his wife own. It was built in 1959 and is number 11 of 12.

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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  Another view of Fairway cottage #11. I like the blue carpet but Bill and his wife Suzanne told me they don't. I think it's quite smart with the yellowish walls and loads of natural light.  Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    Another view of Fairway cottage #11. I like the blue carpet but Bill and his wife Suzanne told me they don't. I think it's quite smart with the yellowish walls and loads of natural light.

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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  Not entirely a modernist structure, we did get to see a Cliff May house in Borrego Springs from the early 1940s. It's got a massive courtyard and plenty of lovely courtyards off the house, but the real coup de grace (as with most things Borrego) is the view. Here you see a shot across the pool (that's me off to the side) toward the mountain beyond.
    Not entirely a modernist structure, we did get to see a Cliff May house in Borrego Springs from the early 1940s. It's got a massive courtyard and plenty of lovely courtyards off the house, but the real coup de grace (as with most things Borrego) is the view. Here you see a shot across the pool (that's me off to the side) toward the mountain beyond.
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  Here's a good look at the desert beyond the Cliff May house. Pretty epic stuff.
    Here's a good look at the desert beyond the Cliff May house. Pretty epic stuff.
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  Another stunning design.  Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    Another stunning design.

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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  We also got a look at a contemporary house from 2008 by architect Walt Chambers. The home has a strong reverence for the mid-century vibes of the town, and with little between it and the desert floor (save the pool, of course) you really do feel like you're alone looking out into the wilderness.  Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    We also got a look at a contemporary house from 2008 by architect Walt Chambers. The home has a strong reverence for the mid-century vibes of the town, and with little between it and the desert floor (save the pool, of course) you really do feel like you're alone looking out into the wilderness.

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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  Here's that view out into the distance. Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!   Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved
    Here's that view out into the distance.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

    Courtesy of: (C)2009 Gertrude & Mabel, all rights reserved

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