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February 24, 2012

Elrod House

Today's history lesson: an excerpt from the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever with Sean.

I figured the best way to do an interior panorama was not to do a panorama at all, but to shoot this brief video:

This weekend there are tours of the famous Elrod House on Southridge in Palm Springs. Designed by John Lautner, it was built in 1968. Some photos:

Elrod House (2982)
The entrance
- even at this point, visitors still cannot see the house or anticipate what lies beyond this portal.

Elrod House (2986A)
Stepping through the front door brought gasps from almost everyone.
Suddenly, not only are you in a HUGE vaulted room, but outside is a sweeping view of Palm Springs.

Elrod House (3002)

Elrod House (2992)

Elrod House (2995)

From Palm Springs Modern:

A mitered glass wall that wrapped inside, around the living room's terrace, blew inward in a freak windstorm shortly before the house was to be used for the 1971 James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever. "Doors flew off and the television set ended up in the middle of the Paul Jenkins artwork that had been specially stretched for the living room's arced wall," says Broderick, "We were supposed to be having a party for a hundred just two weeks after the storm. We ended up edging the floor with potted plants so that people didn't step off the rocks and into the pool." Lautner replaced the interior glass wall with massive electronic sliding glass doors suspended from the perimeter of the roof, The parties continued, and in fact became legendary, Bill Blass held a fashion show. Playboy did a feature. Elrod was photographed in his sunken bathtub afroth with bubbles. Neighbors included Steve McQueen and William Holden. "Arthur wanted a party house, and he got one," says [Harold] Broderick [Elrod's business partner].

Elrod House (2998)
The view across the roof of the guest quarters, added in the early 1970s.

Elrod House (2999)

Elrod House (2997)

Elrod House (3009)

Elrod House (3020)

Elrod House (3023)
One of the glass walls that slide in to close that huge opening from the outdoor world into the house.

Elrod House (3030)
In the foreground is the skylight for the guest quarters.

Elrod House (3036)

Elrod House (3039)

Elrod House (3051A)

Elrod House (3058)

Elrod House (3064)

Elrod House (3071B)

Elrod House (3081)

Elrod House (3085)

Elrod House (3090)
The master bath.

Elrod House (3099)
The sauna.

Elrod House (3111)

Elrod House (3121)
One of the guest bedrooms.

Elrod House (3127)
Sort of a HAL 9000 with toilet.

Elrod House (3137)

Elrod House (3144)
Another guest bedroom
- faces east, no curtains.

Elrod House (3160)
The dividing wall between one guest bedroom and the gym.

Elrod House (3167)

Elrod House (3175)
The servant's quarters, I assume
- so the place has 4 bedrooms.

And then a fortuitous thing happened. From inside the house I saw a few people walking down the driveway to the "backyard" that I had thought was off limits. I went out the front, around to the driveway, a docent greeted me politely as I passed through the gate to the driveway. A few other people were ahead of me.
Elrod House (3194)

Elrod House - Sculpture by Pastorius (3198)
Back there is this sculpture by Hal Pastorius
who, I think, lives (or lived) in Brea. A 1987 L.A. Times article about sculptor Hal Pastorius. Beyond here I began to realize that someone had let us down the driveway in error. There are walkways behind the sculpture that are in poor shape. I took the opportunity to explore as far as I could. One trail looped around to the west so that the house was completely out of sight for awhile. When it curved back up near the house I was spotted and a docent asked me to get back on the right side of the velvet rope.

Elrod House - Sculpture by Pastorius (3205)

Elrod House - view to the east (3207)

Elrod House (3206)

Elrod House (3212)

Elrod House (3221)

Elrod House (3230)

Elrod House (3231)
I don't think you could design a walkway to be more tripworthy than this.

Elrod House (3232)

Elrod House (3236)
The gate to the house as seen from inside the garage.
When I walked around to the driveway again, the gate was shut and sealed with yellow caution tape. A security guard advised me it was closed now.

The complete set of photos from this tour are here.

From an article about the house at 350 Via Lola, Palm Springs:

Arthur Elrod and William Raiser became romantic partners as well as colleagues, and it was while they were on their way to work early one February morning in 1974 that their Fiat sportscar was hit by a drunk driver. Elrod, 49 and Raiser, 58 died relatively young in a freakish turn of fate.

Filed under Architecture,Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | February 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM


I'll watch my step coming down THAT stairway. As ever, a refreshing photo tour from someone who posts fantastic photo tours. Thanks, Ron.

Posted by: Will Brady at Feb 26, 2012 7:12:21 AM

Fascinating, beautiful, educational, and most certainly well-photographed; thanks, Ron.

Posted by: Earl at Feb 25, 2012 8:33:08 PM

Fabulous pictures and story about Arthur and William and Bunny and Thumper. What timeless cultural monument.

Posted by: Ednixon at Feb 25, 2012 12:25:00 AM

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