Photography by Bethany Nauert
When Denise Sommers Kading purchased her central Palm Springs home just over two years ago, it had originally been built for and occupied by two men, with a markedly masculine feel to the space. The 4,500-square-foot home, designed in 2006 by architect Reuel A. Young, had great lines and many luxury finishes, but needed some adjustments to help Kading make it her own.
After being introduced by a mutual friend at the Palm Springs Film Festival, Kading enlisted the services of interior designer Gilbert Holmes to transition the three-bedroom, four-bath home to meet her vision. “With this project, my directive from Denise was that she loved pink and that the house needed to be more feminine,” says Holmes.
Many design elements stayed, like the soaring tongue-and-groove plank ceiling made of Santos Brazilian Mahogany, the disappearing Fleetwood glass pocket doors linking the 2,000-square-foot open concept living area to the large patio, and the open kitchen with top appliances and finishes.
The master bathroom, however, had to go. The trough sink, minimal counter space and lack of storage were a deal-breaker for Kading, who requested additional cabinetry, as well as a steam shower and bathtub. The dining room area was relocated to take advantage of the mountain views, with the former dining space transitioned into a lounge with a grand piano. The media room underwent a dramatic mood change, with custom-upholstered walls in cherry-red patent leather.
“The style and design of the house is contemporary with modernist undertones,” says Holmes. “It is completely driven by color and expressions of Palm Springs past and future.” Furnishings in pinks, purples and a riot of other saturated colors bring the playful vibe sought by Kading, helping to soften the home’s hard angles and concrete floors. Each room features a distinct, but complimentary, color story, which entailed “a dance between creating the individuality of each space and at the same time seeing that they worked together harmoniously,” says Holmes.
From the outset, Kading also expressed to Holmes that she wanted to build a fun art collection to fill the home. Playful works from Takashi Murakami accompany an Alexandra Gestin Sumo wrestler sculpture, found by Kading and Holmes while together in St. Tropez. Artwork in the pink and white master bedroom pays homage to the female figure. Artists local to the desert are also well represented in the home, including Steve Maloney, Yvonne Maloney and TAIRA.
“It is a home that Denise loves, and I take great pride in that,” says Holmes. “Nothing is more inspiring to an interior designer than great architecture, environment and phenomenal people.”