In a wonderfully unique city full of wonderful unique houses, 436 Olancha is one particularly unique and wonderful property, bold in personality and rich in lore.
This stunning mid-century modern compound was originally constructed in 1948 supposedly for the head of a major Hollywood studio as a getaway from his other Palm Springs getaway; legend has it that he maintained a “proper” estate in Old Las Palmas - a grand ornate home with sprawling grounds, swimming pools and staff to attend to his family - yet craved a simple, special, architecturally modern place all of his own. Thus, unbeknownst to his wife and children, he purchased a large plot of land in the south end of town and secretly commissioned the construction of 436 Olancha, one of the earlier examples of mid-century modern architecture in the area. At the time, it was also one of the only homes in the neighborhood (other Hollywood luminaries would follow his lead - Max Factor built his Palm Springs compound, currently owned by Grammy nominee Sia Furler, around the corner in the late 50’s). He fell in love with the spectacular setting, the unique wraparound mountain views and the incredible sense of privacy. Specific instructions were given to the architect - the property was to be completely walled and contain two structures; a main house to serve as his private refuge (a “man cave” of the era), a place where he could read film scripts, imbibe a cocktail too many, and sleep in late, and a secondary house on the property, divided into two separate residences, one for each of his two mistresses. Evidently, one woman was an early bird, so she resided in the east residence (the “Sunrise Suite”) while her counterpart was a creature of the night and thus occupied the west residence (the “Sunset Suite”); in homage to this history, the owners continue to use these names.
According to the many rumors still in circulation, good times were enjoyed by many at 436 Olancha during this time. Alas, at some point in the following years, the wife discovered the existence of 436 Olancha (and the two mistresses!), and her husband decided to close this chapter of his life. In 1955, the land was subdivided and the property sold.
Sadly, the end of this chapter marked the beginning of a far less glamorous era for 436 Olancha; from 1955 through 2013, the property suffered at the hands of numerous near disastrous remodels and nearly 60 years of neglect. When the current owners first viewed the property in 2013, this diamond was so rough that it more resembled a lump of coal than the original gem it once had been. However, amongst the clutter and mayhem, most of the original details still somehow survived and the majesty of the San Jacinto mountain range continued to inspire the same humbling awe as it had in 1948. Emblazoned by the history of what 436 Olancha once had been, the current owners undertook a 1.5 year “down to the studs” restoration of the property, upgrading all systems to the modern era while maintaining and paying tribute to its architectural origins. From the light fixtures and furnishings to the artwork and patio furniture, the property has been extensively decorated with exquisite vintage pieces from the owners’ private collection in harmony with its original design.
They invite you to indulge in the renaissance of this special mid-century modern home as it embarks on a new chapter in its storied life. Take a nap amongst the swaying palms, enjoy a shower beneath the stars, and perhaps (responsibly) imbibe one cocktail too many at the outdoor bar … you won’t be the first to do so.