Just a stone’s throw away from an RV park, luxury car dealers, and a swanky country club lies an architectural gem, the Bob Hope house. Nestled away in the rocky landscape of Palm Springs, California is an extraordinary home. With a sweeping, 60 foot wide oculus roof, the Bob Hope house looks more like an extraterrestrial aircraft than a house. Still, Hollywood royalty Bob and Dolores Hope received the house they knew would reflect their status and be a head-turner too.
The home was designed by famous architect John Lautner. He is considered to be one of the great modernist architects right next to Pierre Koenig. It blends the California Modernist style with the natural sloping of a volcano. The home’s massive copper roof curves upward to meet at three different points. It miraculously creates a crater-like skylight centered over the home’s interior terrace.
While Lautner had his say in the making of the structure, which was his largest creation yet, there was mild clash over the interior features. In fact, Lautner essentially disowned the project after Dolores Hope hired an alternate designer to change Lautner’s interior design. Dolores ended up adding a balcony and internal pathways to like the bedroom to the front door. She also commissioned muralist Gath Benton to adorn her walls by the main bar and spa area.
Having their home just the way they like it, Bob and Dolores made memories to last a lifetime. This was Bob’s third home in palm springs and he and his wife used it as a secondary residence as well as an entertaining space. The interior terrace is capable of hosting up to 300 people and the Hopes certainly used the space. Every January they would host a lavish dinner party to celebrate the ending of the Bob Hope golf tournament. The party didn’t stop for the weather either. To keep guests warm during chilly nights a clear tent would be placed over the central skylight. This way, party-goers can still enjoy the natural light without being too cold.
The house was certainly a jaw dropper in its first iteration, but even as it has changed hands it still remains an architectural masterpiece nestled in Palm Springs. The new owners have retained the house’s exclusivity and it is not open for public tours. Still, the space continues to be a hotspot for celebrities. In 2015, the house boasted the Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection 2016 fashion show. The event had guests ranging from the fashion press to industry leaders and even celebrities from around the world. Today, the home has been sold to American investor Ronald Burkle in 2016 for $13 million. This cost remains the highest price ever paid for any residence in Palm Springs.
To read more on modernist marvels be sure to check out our modernist index. Also, if you want to learn more about Lautner himself, we have the details here. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for your daily dose of mid century inspiration!