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Mid-Century Modern Motel

The John Lautner Motel, bottom center, aerial view from Microsoft Local Live.

Our apologies for straying from San Francisco, but we decided to mine some outlying territory of Curbed LA, the Coachella Valley, and the news that the John Lautner compound in Desert Hot Springs is for sale. A cluster of four studio apartments built in the middle of what had been previously nowhere in 1947 when Lautner was fresh from Taliesin West, it was restored as a motel by Steve Lowe, who died suddenly, unexpectedly, and intestate last January. From Dwell:

Lowe, born in Miami in 1947, was a former confidante of the beat writer William Burroughs. In 1999 he found the Desert Hot Springs Motel (aka Lautner Motel, designed by architect John Lautner in 1947). It was then being used as apartments, and he restored it to a liveable perfection, decking out each of the four stunning rooms in post-war furniture (Room 3 had Breuer chairs, for example; Room 2 was entirely furnished in acrylic furniture by Charles Hollis Jones).It may be a Lautner and a great mid-century building, but sadly it's in the wrong place. Just for starters, on the outskirts of Desert Hot Springs and not in Palm Springs. The closest walled and gated golf course community is a trailer park, and the aerial views tell us that neighbors do have walls around their properties, if only to keep the pit bulls inside. Plus all the swimming pools -if you can find one- are above ground. The nearest recent sale (a block away) was in February for $172K; Lowe's heirs are asking $745K. Room for a pool on an adjoining lot, no AC, possibly zoned residential, not commercial. Think of it as an important twentieth century sculpture to visit every so often from your Alfred Frey in PS.
· John Lautner [Architecture for Sale]
· Lautner Motel for Sale [Curbed LA]
· Steve Lowe 1947-2007 [Dwell Blog]
· 67575 San Tomas [Zillow]