Home #Hwoodtimes America’s Most Famous Modern Home & Tom Clancy’s Penthouse

America’s Most Famous Modern Home & Tom Clancy’s Penthouse

“Palm Springs’ Desert House”

Edgar J. Kaufmann made architectural history twice. First when he hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design his home, Fallingwater, in Pennsylvania in 1935 and again in 1946 when he commissioned Richard Neutra to create his famed Desert House in Palm Springs. After undergoing a five-year restoration by Marmol Radziner, the Desert House is on the market at $25 million.

Kaufmann, the owner of Kaufmann’s department store in Pittsburgh, which later became Macy’s, was a patron of the arts in the Steel City and contributed heavily toward their advancement. A prominent leader in the retail world, Kaufmann took over the family business at age 28 and quickly tripled the flagship store’s sales, eventually expanding the number of stores to 59 across five Midwestern states. Kaufmann led the good life of great wealth which allowed him to give back to his city by making large financial contributions to develop its cultural offerings including opera, building the city’s Civic Center, and supporting local artists by commissioning their work.

After Kaufmann died in 1955, the home went through a series of owners including singer Barry Manilow and Gene Klein who was one of California’s most successful used-car dealers and owner of the San Diego Chargers. After some questionable renovations and years of neglect, the home was purchased in 1992 by an architectural historian and her husband who spent years restoring the home to its original design.

Measuring 3,162 square feet with the San Jacinto Mountains as its background, the Desert House was one of Palm Springs’ earliest modern-style homes that has now grown to the largest collection in the U.S. including John Lautner’s Hope Residence for Bob and Dolores Hope and his Elrod House as seen in the James Bond flick Diamonds Are Forever, Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms, the Elvis Presley honeymoon home, and the Dinah Shore Estate that is now owned by Leonardo DiCaprio.

The five-bedroom Desert House became a celebrity only a year after its completion when architectural- photographer Julius Schulman created a black-and-white photograph of the house, which gave it international attention and praise. Over twenty years later, society-photographer Slim Aarons’ photo “Poolside Gossip” of two women talking by the home’s pool has become a classic as popular today as when it was taken. Constructed of steel, glass, and stone on an open floor plan, almost all Desert House rooms open to attractive outdoor scenery. The living room has a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and the entertainment lounge has a bar and is also open to the outdoors, all in California style with vanishing thresholds between indoor and outdoor living space. In addition to a desert garden, the back opens to emerald green grass and plantings surrounding the large pool terrace with stunning mountain views, all sited on over two acres.

The Kaufmann Desert House, having undergone a five-year restoration by Marmol Radziner, is now for sale at $25 million. It is listed by Gerard Bisignano, a partner at Vista Sotheby’s International Realty, Palos Verdes Estates.

“Tom Clancy’s Ritz-Carlton Triple Penthouse Going to Auction”

Tom Clancy was enthralled by all things military-related. After joining the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp in college, but turned down by the service after graduation due to nearsightedness, Clancy retained the military connection through his best-selling novels. His very first novel, The Hunt for Red October, and the film that followed put Clancy’s name in the literary spotlight. That novel and equally successful later books put him in a position to live a fabulous lifestyle. Born and raised in Baltimore, he chose a Ritz-Carlton Residence penthouse on the waterfront and increased its size by combining it with two more penthouse units. The finished product took two years and $15 million to create, which is now going to auction on December 12th with no reserve.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences are known for their chosen locations, amenities, and white-glove service. The five-acre waterfront location is in the heart of Baltimore’s Federal Hill with two acres of gardens with paths, fountains, benches, and a wide walkway along the water’s edge. The building provides 24/7 front desk attendants, concierge, free valet parking, dry cleaning pickup and delivery, available maid service, and six residential suites for guests. Porters deliver packages and groceries to the apartments and residents have use of the game and billiards room, lounge, 30-seat theater, and boardroom.

The triple-sized penthouse was reconstructed for Clancy with huge rooms and 10-foot ceilings. At 12,000 square feet, it includes four bedrooms, six baths, a kitchen-sized to accommodate caterers or family, and expansive formal living and dining rooms. There are two offices with built-in bookshelves and four balconies and two corner terraces for boat watching or the sparkle of light across the city at night. The master suite has his-and-her baths with separate large dressing rooms. There is also a full gym and a home theater.

Clancy, who died in 2013, was one of the world’s best-selling writers whose thrillers such as Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Hunt for Red October, and The Sum of All Fears were also made into major hit movies. His financial success also made it possible for him to buy into his hometown Baltimore Orioles Major League baseball team as a part-owner.

Tom Clancy’s elegant former Baltimore waterfront penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton Residences will be going to auction on December 12th with no reserve. Clancy combined three penthouses over two years for upwards of $15 million into an elegant, contemporary residence. Many of the city’s sporting, cultural, dining and shopping venues are within walking distance.