Master Architect, Desert Gem

Restored Albert Frey a modern exception in one of Palm Springs' oldest neighborhoods
Fridays on the Homefront
The historic Haymond House (above), now on the market, is located in one of Palm Springs’ oldest neighborhoods, Old Las Palmas, just north of downtown. Why the striking pink? The current owner chose this provocative shade in 2016—“because the three colors [original architect Albert] Frey liked to work in were pink, yellow, and sage green,” said realtor Chris Menrad. “It’s an homage to Albert Frey.” All photos: Lance Gerber

Palm Springs homes designed by the master of desert modern, Albert Frey, are a fairly rare commodity these days.

One listed for sale this month has the additional distinction of being so faithful to his work as to be called “an homage,” yet is even more anomalous because of its conspicuous location in one of the town’s oldest neighborhoods.

“The owner is just meticulous,” remarked Chris Menrad, listing agent of 1415 North Camino Centro for TTK Represents and Compass. Asking $2,995,000, the realtor said of the 1964 construction’s condition, “It is about as perfect as you can get it.”

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Menrad described the lauded restoration of the house, co-designed by Frey and office partner Robson Chambers. It was a job undertaken in 2016 after its $1.7 million purchase by Atlanta-based interior decorator Bill Stewart. Each of the three bedrooms has a bathroom en suite in this rosy-hued, 2,792-square-foot home in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood just north of downtown.

“The kitchen’s the original, all-steel Geneva [cabinets],” continued the realtor, a founder and former president of the Palm Springs Modern Committee. “That’s the great thing about metal: you can just keep reusing it and repaint if you want to.”

Some homes in Old Las Palmas were already 30 years old when this house was built in ’64 by contractor H.M. Eversz for broadcasting tycoon Carl Haymond. Regarding the neighborhood’s prominent design style, Menrad said, “It’s older, so they were mostly Spanish Revival.”

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The Haymond House had been changed from its original cream color to what the realtor calls “drab khaki,” before Stewart chose a more striking shade to repaint in 2016.

“He went with pink because the three colors Frey liked to work in were pink, yellow, and sage green,” Menrad said of the architect’s desert shaded palette. “It’s an homage to Albert Frey.”

The Swiss-born architect made most of his mark in the desert while partnered with Chambers, co-designing Palm Springs City Hall, the Aerial Tramway station and amazing, flying wedge gas-station-cum-visitors-center nearby, and numerous other modernist structures.

Fridays on the Homefront