Kaufmann Desert House: Palm Springs home made famous by Slim Aarons on market for $17m

This International Property of the Week is a showcase of American Mid-Century Modern design

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Images of this Californian archetypal Mid-Century Modern property feel like postcards from Palm Springs.

The Kaufmann Desert House inspired the work of famed architectural photographer Julius Shulman and Slim Aarons, who was known for his images of the American high life.

Here, we spotlight the stunning Kaufmann Desert House located in Palm Springs, California, as part of The National's International Property of the Week series.

The key details

The property was designed by Richard Neutra, considered one of the 20th century's most prominent Modernist architects. Photo: Daniel Solomon for Vista Sotheby’s International Realty

The Kaufmann Desert House is a sleek split-level five-bedroom, six-bathroom family home spread across 3,162 square feet. Located in Palm Springs, the property boasts mountain views and has a swimming pool on its 0.9 hectare plot.

It is on the market for $16,950,000.

What's the story?

Designed by Richard Neutra, considered one of the most influential Modernist architects of the 20th century, the Kaufmann Desert House was originally commissioned and owned by Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J Kaufmann, Sr. The property was built in 1946 as somewhere to retreat to during the cold Pennsylvania winters.

However, images taken by Shulman in 1947 and the 1970 image Poolside Gossip by Aarons have ensured the property has an enduring legacy in the photography world.

Silm Aaron's image 'Poolside Gossip' taken at the Kaufmann Desert House in January 1970. The image shows Lita Baron approaching, while Nelda Linsk and Helen Dzo Dzo talk in the foreground. Slim Aarons / Getty

After Kaufmann's death in 1955, the property cycled through a number of high-profile owners, including Barry Manilow and former San Diego Chargers owner Eugene Klein. In 1992 it was bought and renovated to its original design by couple Brent Harris, an investment manager, and Beth Edwards Harris, an architectural historian. They worked with Shulman in the restoration of the property.

Also on the plot is a swimming pool and tennis courts. Inside, there are five bedrooms, six full bathrooms and a media room, which was added in the 1990s.

In 2008, the property was named as one of the best houses in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Times.

What the broker says …

The Kaufmann Desert House designed by Richard Neutra is regarded among the most important and iconic houses of the 20th century," reads the listing by Sotheby's International Realty.

"The home that inspired the iconic images of Julius Shulman and Slim Aarons is an investment in one of the world's most important treasures of modernism."

Updated: October 18, 2021, 5:03 AM