HOT NEWS
Titanic II Cruise Ship not designed to make money ! Project is about love, not money, and "for the benefit of the world" says owner
Luxury Travel Spending Up 9.2% Despite Gloomy Economy throughout 2013 reports American Express Travel!
The global population will reached 7.6 billion by the end of 2013, just 13 years after hitting 6 billion.
Luxury Report 2013 says High Earners Not Rich Yet (HENRYs) earn $100,000-$249,999 still feel the Global Financial Crisis.
Shanghai leads the worlds most populous cities in the world with 18,336,133 (July 2013) people. Karachi in Pakistan at 2nd place with 13 million citizens.

Palm Springs Landmark Home !

Kaufmann House Palm Springs

The Kaufmann House, a 1946 glass, steel and stone landmark built on the edge of this desert town by the architect Richard Neutra, has twice been at the vanguard of new movements in architecture — helping to shape postwar Modernism and later, as a result of a painstaking restoration in the mid-1990s, spurring a revived interest in mid-20th-century homes.

Now the California homeowners who undertook that restoration hope Neutra’s masterpiece will play a role in a third movement: promoting architecture as a collectible art worthy of the same consideration as painting and sculpture.

Those owners, Brent Harris, an investment manager, and Beth Edwards Harris, an architectural historian, are finalizing their divorce, and plan to auction the Kaufmann House at Christie’s in New York in May. The building, with a presale estimate of $15 million to $25 million, will be part of Christie’s high-profile evening sale of postwar and contemporary art.

Kaufmann House Palm Springs

Commissioned by Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., the Pittsburgh department store magnate who had commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright about a decade earlier to build Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, the house was designed as a desert retreat from harsh winters. Constructed as a series of horizontal planes that seem to float over glass walls, the house seems to absorb the mood of the surrounding desert.

Auctions of such midcentury landmarks have become more common in recent years. In 2003 Sotheby’s sold the 1951 Farnsworth House southwest of Chicago, designed by Mies van der Rohe, at auction for $7.5 million. In June Jean Prouvé’s 1951 Maison Tropicale, a prototype for prefabricated homes for French colonial officials stationed in Africa, sold at Christie’s for $4.97 million.

Kaufmann House Palm Springs

Such auctions are bringing a new level of scrutiny to a form that, little more than a decade ago, attracted so little notice that the Kaufmann House was being offered for sale as a teardown.

Still, such sales sometimes draw criticism from preservationists who would prefer that the houses be tended by a public institution or trust that guarantees continued access for architecture students and scholars rather than sold to the highest bidder. (The Farnsworth House, now open to the public, was bought by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, while the Maison Tropicale went to a private bidder.)

Kaufmann House Palm Springs

But Dr. Harris, who worked toward her doctorate in architectural history while restoring the Kaufmann House, said she believed an auction would further the preservationist cause.

“It’s an odd thing, but the more money this house goes for, the better it is for preservation in my point of view,” she said on Monday while giving a tour of the house to a reporter. “I think it will encourage other people who have the income to go out and get places like these to restore, rather than just looking for some pretty palace somewhere.”

Kaufmann House Palm Springs

The Kaufmann House is one of the best-known designs by Neutra, a Viennese-born architect who moved to the United States in the 1920s and designed homes for the next few decades for many wealthy West Coast clients. His buildings are seen virtually as the apotheosis of Modernism’s International Style, with their skeletal steel frames and open plans. Yet Neutra was also known for catering sensitively to the needs of his clients, so that their houses would be not only functional but would also nurture their owners psychologically.

Kaufmann House Palm Springs

When Brent and Beth Harris first saw the Kaufmann House, it was neither a pretty palace nor an obvious candidate for restoration. Strikingly photographed in 1947 by Julius Shulman, it stood vacant for several years after Kaufmann’s death in 1955. Then it went through a series of owners, including the singer Barry Manilow, and a series of renovations. Along the way, a light-disseminating patio was enclosed, one wall was broken through for the addition of a media room, the sleek roof lines were interrupted with air-conditioning units, and some bedrooms were wallpapered in delicate floral prints.

In 1992 Beth Harris, an architectural tourist of a sort, scaled a fence one afternoon to peek at the famous house while her husband discovered a for-sale sign in an overgrown hedge.

Kaufmann House Palm Springs

“It quite clearly was at some risk of being severely modified by whoever was to buy it, or potentially demolished,” Mr. Harris said, recalling his first glimpses of the house.

In Palm Springs, increasingly dominated by faux Spanish estates, Neutra’s Modernism “wasn’t the prevailing style,” Mr. Harris said, and the Kaufmann House “had been for sale for at least three and a half years.”

He added: “No one wanted it. And so it was a gorgeous house, an important house, and it was crying out for restoration.”

After purchasing the house and its more than an acre of land for about $1.5 million, the Harrises removed the extra appendages and enlisted two young Los Angeles-area architects, Leo Marmol and Ron Radziner, to restore the Neutra design. They sought out the original providers of paint and fixtures, bought a metal-crimping machine to reproduce the sheet-metal fascia that lined the roof and even reopened a long-closed section of a Utah quarry to mine matching stone to replace what had been removed or damaged.

Kaufmann House Palm Springs

Without the original plans for the house, the Harrises dug through the Neutra archives at the University of California, Los Angeles, looking at hundreds of Neutra’s sketches of details for the house. They persuaded Mr. Shulman to let them examine dozens of never-printed photographs of the home’s interior, and found other documents in the architectural collections at Columbia University.

The Harrises also bought several adjoining plots to more than double the land around the 3,200-square-foot house, restoring the desert buffer that Neutra envisioned. They rebuilt a pool house that serves as a viewing pavilion for the main house, and kept a tennis court that was built on a parcel added to the original Kaufmann property.

The Harrises “were visionaries in their own way,” said Joshua Holdeman, a senior vice president at Christie’s who oversees the 20th-century decorative art and design department. With the renovation “they created a whole new public awareness of midcentury-modern architecture.”

Describing the results of the restoration in The Los Angeles Times in 1999, Nicolai Ouroussoff, now the architecture critic for The New York Times, said the house could “now be seen in its full glory for the first time in nearly 50 years.”

The pending sale is bittersweet for the current owners, who said they planned to give a portion of the proceeds to preservation groups. Asked how it felt to be close to selling the property, Dr. Harris looked back at the house, blinking away tears.

“Oh, it’s horrifying,” she said. “But we did our time here. There will be other things.”

Automobiles
The most beautiful Aston Martin
The most beautiful Aston Martin

Aston Martin’s most powerful four-door sedan, the Rapide S, is on its way to customers soon.The Rapide S features a heavily revised front-end look...

Barcelona by Sidecar
Barcelona by Sidecar

In Barcelona, one of the most romantic and stylish cities in Europe, the last thing you want to do is ride an embarrassing tour bus full of camera-t...

 The flying car Terraugia's Transition
The flying car Terraugia's Transition

  It sounds like something from the wildest fringes of fantasy. But an American aeronautical company, with funding from the US Department of Defen...

Fashion & Lifestyle
Most Expensive Cities in the World
Most Expensive Cities in the World

If you don't plan to read the full list, the answer is Singapore, but the land of swanky skyscrapers, expensive luxury malls, and transport that tri...

New Spa at Four Seasons Vancouver
New Spa at Four Seasons Vancouver

Visitors to the well, loved Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver can now enjoy the recently opened RedCedar boutique massage suite. Following the Hotel...

Sha Wellness Clinic Spain
Sha Wellness Clinic Spain

Spain’s Sha Wellness Clinic in Albir Beach is an amazing place to detox and enjoy the comforts of a medically conscious spa. They have more than 4...

Recommends
Flying Hotels - First Class
Flying Hotels - First Class

Improvements to the First Class experience on International Airlines are being seen at a very fast pace. Passengers have always enjoyed extra servi...

Catholic abbey now a Hotel
Catholic abbey now a Hotel

What's the one thing a nearly 900 year old hotel in Spain needs to attract guests in 2014 ? Google Glasses at least according to Abadía Retuerta Le...

La Posta Vecchia Hotel, Italy
La Posta Vecchia Hotel, Italy

When we arrived at La Posta Vecchia, we knew we were in a magical place where a relaxing holiday awaited us. The hotel is situated only 25 minutes f...

Design
LA Home For Sale after 40 Years !
LA Home For Sale after 40 Years !

John Lautner's Genius Silvertop designed home goes to market for first time since 1974. There has never been a home by Organic Modernist John Lautne...

Most Expensive Penthouse Monaco
Most Expensive Penthouse Monaco

There’s word going around that the world’s most expensive penthouse has just been snapped up by an unnamed Arab Sheik for a whooping $305 millio...

Abu Dhabi takes on the art world
Abu Dhabi takes on the art world

Soon, art lovers may decide to skip Paris, Rome and New York in favour of Abu Dhabi. The oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates is embarking ...

Travel
Singapore wins 2015 top spot !
Singapore wins 2015 top spot !

Singapore has clinched the number one spot on Lonely Planet’s list of the top countries to visit in 2015. Praised for its multicultural diversity ...

Pacifics Five Best Islands
Pacifics Five Best Islands

The vast pacific has lots to offer and thousands of islands from Tahiti to the Whitsundays. Luxury hotels wait for the discerning travelers. Here is...

F & B
Hotels for Wine Lovers
Hotels for Wine Lovers

Today’s wine lovers want more than a well stocked minibar when they travel and more than a few are catering to this discerning market segment. W...

One Dish to Eat in Venice
One Dish to Eat in Venice

You can't leave Venice without eating … Sardèle in saòr. A small dish of fried sardines marinated in white onions, vinegar, raisins, and pine nu...

Cruises
Beginners guide to Luxury Cruises
Beginners guide to Luxury Cruises

There is something about taking a luxury cruise that is not present on a holiday taken on good old terra firma. Perhaps it’s the lure of an opulen...

Venetian's protest ship visits !
Venetian's protest ship visits !

At one moment the scene is everything you expect of Venice; medieval churches, domes and bell towers, and water sparkling in the canal in front of y...

Banner
Luxury Travel Report Presents
LTR Travel
See All
City Hotels
See All
Resorts
See All
Airlines
See All
Destinations
See All
Cruises
See All