Photography by Bethany Nauert
Brent Zimmerman and Cyril Gaultier spotted potential in a 1964 tract home in south Palm Springs while shopping for properties in 2012. The couple, whose primary residence is in Los Angeles, had owned two previous homes in the Indian Canyons neighborhood in Palm Springs and decided to make this particular home their third. Featuring a unique layout with the pool in the front of the home behind a wall, the living room offers views of both the front and the back of the home.
The property, originally constructed by builder and developer Harry Kelso, had been neglected over the years and then remodeled as a flip by the previous owner, who had purchased it in foreclosure. Zimmerman, a designer specializing in home remodels, knew that the property needed a major overhaul, and set out with Gaultier to complete a nine-month, “gut to studs” renovation. The original floor plan was largely maintained, with the exception of opening up the kitchen and removing an unnecessary closet in the master bedroom. All of the windows and glass doors were replaced, with some windows expanded to better capture the views of the mountains that surround the home.
Every surface and cabinet in the home was replaced, with upgrades including custom cabinets made of cerused oak, a material often seen in 1960s furniture design. A custom, built-in screen was added to the front entrance, the design of which was based upon a similar detail in another 1960s Kelso tract home. Tile flooring made from recycled porcelain is reminiscent of midcentury terrazzo floors.
The interior design, done by the couple, is eclectic and intended to keep the home’s white walls from looking sterile. Zimmerman and Gaultier, who celebrate their 26th anniversary this year, love to travel, collecting décor, textiles and art from around the world. “My husband is actually the one who buys a lot of stuff when we travel,” says Zimmerman. “I’m glad he does, because I tend to overthink it and then regret not having bought something after we get home.”
They also mix in pieces from contemporary stores like CB2, which Zimmerman cites as “one of the best, affordable designs stores out there right now,” alongside treasured finds from their favorite local vintage stores like Hedge in Cathedral City and Bon Vivant in Palm Springs.
When it comes to art, “we have more than we can use,” says Zimmerman, “and we don’t always agree, so we have what I call the ‘closet gallery,’ which holds our orphan artwork until it is switched out for another piece.” The couple’s diverse art collection is amassed from resale shop and gallery purchases, both at home and while traveling. The large paintings over the fireplace and in the dining room are on loan from a good friend of the couple whose partner, now deceased, was a prolific painter. Near the front door, a large photo collage installation was created by Zimmerman using printed photos that are tacked to the wall with map pins, framed by a “floating” black thread.
The overall effect is a contemporary take on midcentury style with an international flair, which makes perfect sense in a place like Palm Springs, which Zimmerman aptly describes as a “small town with people from all over the world, so it really doesn’t feel small.”
Images © Bethany Nauert for Palm Springs Style; may not be used without express permission.