By Katy Carrier // Photography by Bethany Nauert
Brent Zimmerman and Cyril Gaultier spotted exciting, untapped potential in a midcentury 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 Palm Springs’ Indian Canyons neighborhood and ultimately decided to make this particular home their third after falling for its unique layout with the pool located in the front of the home behind a wall.
The property, originally constructed in 1964 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 views of the surrounding mountains.
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 built-in decorative screen was added just inside of the front entrance, the design of which was based upon a similar detail in another 1960s Kelso home. Tile flooring made from recycled porcelain is reminiscent of midcentury terrazzo floors.
The interior design, completed by the couple, is eclectic and intended to keep the home’s white walls from reading too sterile. Zimmerman and Gaultier, who celebrate their 26th anniversary this year, are frequent world travelers, collecting décor, textiles and art along the way. “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 vintage finds from their favorite local 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 shops 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 dear friend of the couple whose partner, now deceased, was a prolific painter.
The overall effect is a contemporary take on midcentury style with international touches, which Zimmerman says feels right for Palm Springs 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.