Heightened authenticity and an intriguing legend mark Modernism Week’s uplifting Guggenheim House


Cover girl Lisa Joslin, of Seattle, dressed to match the collection of a pool builder’s sample styles, as displayed at the Guggenheim House in Palm Springs’ Indian Canyon neighborhood.

Within the Indian Canyons neighborhood, the Guggenheim House doesn’t stand out so much. It’s a low-slung accumulation of pylons and roofline with a strategic wall of uniquely patterned breezeblock, and everything is slathered with a luminous coat of white paint.

Our little group of volunteers was made up of Robert, the captain; Tom, from San Diego; Jeannette, from Montreal; Heidi, from Boston; and me, from Desert Hot Springs. Once inside, we found the 2,800-square-foot, four-bedroom house pulsing with character as expressed through the spot-on indoor-outdoor layout and period-correct details.

And after the tour started at 9.00 a.m., we were mobbed. For $30, many hundreds of ModWeek guests got a screaming bargain that recalled the glories of 1967, when the house was built.

New owners acquired it two years ago and commissioned a brilliant interior makeover by Michael Ostrow of Grace Home Furnishings.

Roger Stoker, partner in Grace Home Furnishings, adds–make that subtracts–the final touch.

According to ModWeek, “The interior spaces feature a seamless blend of contemporary furnishings and vintage pieces, and the bold color palette expertly mixes pattern and texture to achieve a fun yet sophisticated atmosphere that embodies the carefree Palm Springs lifestyle.”

Carefree, yes, until the bill arrives for property taxes.

Meanwhile, what a great legend about a former owner, Gigi Guggenheim. Born in Hawaii in 1929, as Gloria Greenwell, she seems to have assumed the Guggenheim name while in her early 30s. Gigi cut a wide swath through Palm Springs in the 1970s and even became the namesake of a cocktail at Lyons English Grille. 

We had so much fun providing interpretation for guests. Becky and Roberta, sisters from Houston, attended the fall preview last October and came back to enjoy perfect mid-70s temperatures and the full panoply of tours and other events. Roberta, or “Bert,” was a high school teacher who taught architecture and engineering and claims many students practicing in the fields.

Before the onslaught begins, Heidi Cron assesses the interior decor. The Slim Aarons photo is a recent acquisition by the owners of the Guggenheim House.

The mountain view and the sunshine are nonpareil, but cellular coverage in Indian Canyon isn’t so great, and it was impossible for fellow volunteers Jeannette and Heidi to summon a ride. When we finished at 1 p.m., I gave them a lift. Jeannette got out near the Adventist church on Sunrise Way and walked to the rental she and her husband shared.

Heidi and I continued to the vintage swap meet in the Camelot Theaters’ parking lot.

No small potatoes herself, Heidi Cron is an architectural and interior designer who has specialized in branded environments. The good thing is that she’s thinking of relocating to Palm Springs.

Moderism Week is making the right impression.

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