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Saturday, Jul 31, 2021

A Palm Springs Midcentury With Hollywood Ties

A Palm Springs Midcentury With Hollywood Ties

In addition to vintage terrazzo finishes, the 1961 Morse Residence features a sunken living room that opens to a backyard pool with a swim-up bar.

A glamorous midcentury home is now up for grabs in Palm Springs’s Vista Las Palmas neighborhood. In 1961, Los Angeles couple Claire and Teddy Morse commissioned renowned architects Dan Palmer and William Krisel and the Alexander Construction Company to design and build the desert home. Once construction was underway, however, the couple brought in famed architect Harold "Hal" Levitt to completely redesign the space-with an emphasis on memorable entertaining.



The 1960s dwelling boasts a free-flowing layout designed for entertaining. The primary living spaces are centered around large glass pocket doors that open to the backyard pool area.

In addition to receiving acclaim for designing the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, the famed architect was also known for his work with Hollywood’s elite. "Levitt took his talent for designing party homes in Beverly Hills and brought it to the desert for a very demanding client," says Joan Gand, who currently owns the property with her partner, Gary. "Claire wanted to be able to walk into the pool without going outside, so Levitt integrated stairs from the sunken living room directly to the pool," Joan continues.



The 3,711-square-foot home offers an ideal setting for large- and small-scale gatherings. "We’ve had 150 of our closest friends over for a New Year’s Day pajama party every year, with only a few people ending up in the pool after too many mimosas," jokes Gary, one of the current owners.

In addition to designing an unparalleled indoor/outdoor connection throughout the home, Levitt also layered the Vista Las Palmas residence with sleek details to enhance its grand flair, including vintage white terrazzo surfaces and stone walls.



In the dining room, wood-paneled ceilings contrast with the original stone fireplace.

Shortly after the current homeowners purchased the 3,711-square-foot residence in 2013, they treated it to a complete restoration, which won the three-bedroom, four-bathroom home a Palm Springs Preservation Award in 2018. "Living in the Morse Residence is an experience unlike any other," says Joan. "When visitors tour the house for design events, they always exclaim that this is what they visualize Palm Springs architecture is all about."



A custom shelving unit spans the back wall of the dining room, offerings plenty of space to display collected memorabilia.

In recent years, the residence has garnered wide recognition, appearing in the award-winning documentary My Name Is Lopez, as well as in the limited-edition poster, The Imposters, by the American artist, Shag. The home’s most notable spotlight, however, might’ve been when it served as inspiration for the midcentury home featured the 2018 hit animated film, Incredibles 2, by Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures.



Steps away from the dining room is the kitchen, which features a vibrant blue backsplash.

As preservationists and midcentury enthusiasts, Joan and Gary recently bought another Palm Springs home which they plan to restore, so they’re seeking a new owner for the Morse Residence. Scroll ahead to see more of the 1961 property, which is now on the market for $4,500,000.



"The iconic Morse Residence is truly a unique architectural statement," says listing agent Scott Histed. "This is one of the finest dwellings in all of Palm Springs and exemplifies the glamour of 1960s entertaining-as one of the home’s previous residents, I know it very well."



In total, the home offers three bedrooms. The principal suite (pictured) comes with a chromed Malm fireplace and offers direct outdoor access.



Each of the four bathrooms were remodeled and are now fitted with modern fixtures.



A spacious music room awaits down the hall from the main living areas.



Vintage terrazzo can be found all throughout the home and even continues outside to the patio.



"The original owners added faux turf to the backyard so guests could picnic without insects, grass stains, or high heels sinking into the ground," says Gary.



The view of the pool and backyard showcases the home’s uninterrupted mountain views.

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