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Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Threatened by possible demolition this 1955 mid-century home designed by Palm Springs area architectural icon Walter S. White is for sale. 
Sympathetic buyer is sought.  Sale range $350K to $400K.


Even in its current unrestored, deteriorated condition, the Miles C. Bates house (1955) is a unique example of architect Walter S. White’s mid-century vision. Located at 73-697 Santa Rosa Way in Palm Desert, the 800 s.f., 1 bath house is threatened with demolition unless a sympathetic buyer, with the passion and the funds to restore the house, comes forward to save it.

Historical image of White's "Wave" house in Palm Desert is for sale.  Note the architect's roofline follows the peak line of the Santa Rosa mountains in the background.
The significance of the Bates house because many historians claim it is perhaps the most important surviving White (1917-2002) designed buildings in the Coachella Valley, even before the Dr. Franz Alexander House (1955) in Palm Springs, which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the Willcockson House (1959) in Indio, featuring a dramatic hyperbolic-paraboloid roof.

White designed numerous houses for Bates, but this one captures best both the essence of this client-architect relationship and the experimental character of White’s desert architecture. The home’s unique, patented roof structure floats like a wave over a minimal floor plan, linking an open interior with a citrus grove on the land surrounding the home, and evoking the silhouette of the mountains rising at the horizon.

Recent Google maps photo of the Miles C. Bates house designed by architect Walter S. White shows how it has been remuddled with rooms added to the front, which have obscurred the classic roofline from street view.  Also, a four-unit apartment building sits in the backyard.
For the first time open to the public, The City of Palm Desert and the Historical Society of Palm Desert invite you to an open house to view the interior of this important example of Palm Desert’s midcentury modern architectural heritage.

The Bates/White open house (February 18, 2018; noon to 3 pm) is one of the few free events on the docket during 2018 Modernism Week being held in the Greater Palm Springs area February 15 to 25.

Motivated Seller. Local government owns the property, which is 800 s.f. with 1 bath on less than an acre.
Modernism Week’s cool, iconic, modern February festival is an exciting 11-day celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture. Events include the Modernism Show & Sale, tours of iconic homes, architectural walking, biking and double-decker bus tours, a world-class lecture & film series, tours of the historic Annenberg Estate at Sunnylands, a Palm Springs Walk of Stars dedication, classic cars, garden tours, and a vintage travel trailer exhibition.

Note: Readers interested in Modernism Week will be disappointed to learn so many of the ticketed events are sold out even at this early date.  Update: In early December the event added a few new events.  
Click here.

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