|Location||Palm Desert, California, United States|
|Area||84 m2 (900 sq.ft.)|
The Wave House was originally built by architect Walter S. White in 1954 for artist Miles C. Bates. The house is known for its iconic “wave” roof which appears to levitate above the structure. White patented and built this unique curvilinear roof by creating wooden dowels with concave elements.
After being vacant for several years, Stayner Architects bought the one-bedroom house from the City of Palm Desert for $360,000 in a public auction during the Palm Spring Modernism Week in 2018.
By the time Stayner Architects acquired the property, Wave House had been vacant for years and renovated almost beyond recognition over the years. While their overall goal was to preserve traces of its 64 years history in homage to and with respect to the roles of Walter White and Miles Bates, this young studio was very careful to ensure the house stemmed away from a reminiscence of a 1950s movie set. “Historic preservation for us is not about ‘turning back the clock’ as much as producing an atemporal condition in which one can exist across multiple time periods.” The result is not a mausoleum or a time capsule, but rather a timeless space featuring midcentury attributes.
By carefully utilizing archives at the University of California Santa Barbara, Stayner Architects was able to improve less efficient or successful parts of the original design and make use of new technologies that utilize less resources. All replacements were custom fabricated and installed. Any original materials that were removed were put to use elsewhere in the home.
Inside, original wood paneling revealed itself after removing layers of thick textured drywall mud and countless layers of paint and is now one of the homes most remarkable features. Doghouse outlets, lighting details, and the wood roof have all been restored. Steel windows and doors were intact at the time of purchase, but were re-built to match the original profile. Outdoors will include an intimate seating area, fire pit and fountain and deck area.
This year, Stayner Architects will break ground on two new structures that will add 1400 sf including four guest suites, a commercial kitchen, and a shared pool and courtyard area – to a compound called Desert Wave, a micro-boutique hotel that will celebrate Coachella Valley history, culture, and midcentury design.