Modernism: Rat Pack Edition.

Cody House at night.
Miesian Glam: The Cody House, by William Cody, Palm Springs. Built: 1964.

Over the holidays, I managed to line up a visit to a privately-owned mid-century house designed by Palm Springs architect William Cody. Lots of ink has been spilled on Modernism in Palm Springs, much of it focused on Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann house. But there’s plenty of other stuff to look at as well. Cody, for example, produced the Googie-riffic Springs restaurant, as well as the clubhouse at the Eldorado. And his structures perfectly embody the city’s Hollywood-at-the-country-club aesthetic. (When the Rat Pack wasn’t raising hell in Vegas, they were living it up in Palm Springs.)

The Cody House is one of his less-documented structures, but it just so happens to be the one I got to spend some quality time in. It is Mies van der Rohe with a dollop of ’60s flash. A simple, flat-roof structure contains an indoor fountain in the foyer, a richly-hued travertine wall in the living room and the ever-present turquoise of the pool. The interiors were originally done by local decorator Arthur Elrod, a designer with a flair for the dramatic. (Here‘s what his pad looked like.) Though the house does not have all of the original décor, the period pieces keep it sumptuous, as do the floor-to-ceiling windows, mirrored bar, deep shag rags and arena-sized bathrooms. This is the type of architecture that inspires making whoopee.

As with much mid-century design, this style of building fell out of favor in Palm Springs by the time the ’60s came to a close. For much of the ’70s and ’80s, the city was considered passé, both as a vacation and an architectural destination. But with a surge of interest in buildings with fins and space-age motels, the desert playground is back. And at the Cody house, Palm Springs’ singular brand of “Martini Modernism” is totally swingin’.

See the money shots after the jump.

Entry foyer with Fountain
Mi casa es su casa: The entry foyer at the Cody House, complete with gurgling fountain. To the right is the living room, to the left, the dining area, and out front, the pool.

Sunken bar at the Cody House.
A sunken bar of one’s own: Getting cocktailed in the living room.

The view from the bar.
A view to a spill: The bartender has the best seat in the house, overlooking the living room, entry foyer and out to the pool.

The dining area.
The highly-mirrored dining area, where the ladies could keep a wary eye on their lipstick and ‘dos while grabbing a nibble.

Kitchen area.
Martini Modernism is heavy on the Lucite. Here, the table at the eat-in kitchen. (Photo by pishosha.)

View from the master suite
Nature’s alarm clock: Morning view from the master suite. The house is positioned on a ridge for east/west exposure. In the afternoon, the pool deck out front is illuminated. In the mornings, the sun rises over the ridge and drenches the three bedrooms in light, getting you up for a round of golf regardless of how many martinis you may have had the night before.

Master Suite bathroom at the Cody House
If walls could talk: The master suite bathroom.

Architectural Digest 1967.
When wallpaper was king: The house’s original interiors, designed by Arthur Elrod, got an eight-page spread in the Fall 1967 issue of Architectural Digest. Oh, to have rolled around on those peacock-blue bedspreads!

The Joan Collins suite
Joan Collins slept here.For real.

Superstar producer and arm candy.
Superstar producer and his eye candy-of-the-moment enjoy the views of Palm Springs.

Additional reading: Palm Springs Modern by Adele Cygelman and Palm Springs Weekend by Andrew Danish and Alan Hess.

Stay Here: If you are interested in renting the house for some early ’60s bacchanalia, logon to Escape 2 Palm Springs, or better yet, e-mail Gregg at GRapp222 [at] aol.com.

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