Icons in Palm Springs: The Alexanders

Palm Springs has become synonymous with vibrant desert mid-century modern architecture and design. In fact, Palm Springs is known to have one of the largest concentrations of preserved mid-century modern architecture in the world. From Albert Frey to Donald Wexler, many renowned architects made their mark on this desert community—creating homes with clean lines, expansive windows, flat planes or roofs, and split-level spaces that blend indoor living with outdoor beauty by integrating nature throughout the homes. Their successful designs stamped Desert Modernism into the history books!


The mid-century modern landscape of Palm Springs is immortalized by iconic figures like internationally renowned psychoanalyst, Dr. Franz Alexander, and his artist wife, Anita Venier Alexander. The arrival of “America’s foremost psychoanalyst” generated a great deal of interest—particularly in Hollywood. As Dr. Alexander was a close personal friend of Sigmund Freud, he obtained several high-profile clients quickly and immediately started working. Splitting his time between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, Mrs. Alexander began forging her own path by growing her reputation as an artist in the area—where she was well-received. The Alexanders were quickly welcomed into Palm Springs social circles and frequently hosted parties at their residence with a wide range of friends, including celebrities.

In the main house, The Alexander Residence opens to an expansive great room, flooded with light from floor-to-ceiling windows. [CITY OF PALM SPRINGS #4398]

The home itself appears to emerge from the rocky boulders adding even more dramatic views of the Coachella Valley below. [CITY OF PALM SPRINGS #4398]


Welcome to the Alexander Residence, a stunning piece of Modernism history! Designed by Walter S. White, a local up-and-coming architect who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, this 1956 dessert estate is perched upon a hill in the private Little Tuscany neighborhood of Palm Springs. As the name suggests, houses in this part of town tend to be more Mediterranean, though many homes, like the mid-century modernist Alexander Residence, are dispersed throughout this community.

The home’s façade appears to emerge from the rocky outcrops and boulders behind it, famously fusing the natural landscape with its timeless design. Rising above the floor bed, nothing quite stands out like the curved rooftop that appears to peel back and open up to the sky. The swooping tongue and expansive wraparound balcony create a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living.

The Alexander Residence offers a 2-story main house that opens to reveal a luxurious great room with redwood-paneled siding, grooved ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The ultra-modern décor with custom furniture and V-shaped steel supports gives every corner of the house a unique contemporary flair, while a double-height atrium binds it together with an airy and open atmosphere. With modern, chic decor continuing throughout the home, the adjoining dining room and remodeled kitchen area feature a one-of-a-kind indoor fire pit designed by White himself—another distinct aspect of this magnanimous residence!

The lower-level bedrooms are connected to the upstairs via an incredible black steel staircase designed by the famous Albert Frey. Both bedrooms feature a California king-sized bed, a private bathroom, and a private entrance to the back garden and swimming pool through the sliding glass doors.

Enclosed by a leafy privacy wall, the backyard features manicured lawns, a zero-scaped desert garden, and stone walkways. Relax in the elevated rock-clad sitting spa before cooling off in the 28-foot-wide circular swimming pool adjacent to a large patio with exceptional alfresco dining. Take in the stunning mountain and desert views before heading into the detached guest house, complete with a California king-sized bed, 2 additional bathrooms, a fireplace, and a full kitchen.

With resort-style amenities, glamorous architecture, and a famous past, the Alexander Residence is where historical significance meets timeless architecture. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, its clean lines, geometric forms, and breathtaking sky views are all akin to this era's distinctive style and innovative design. One could imagine attending parties with high-ranking officials and Hollywood’s elite while sipping cocktails on the back balcony or dancing the night away on the patio.

Less than five minutes from downtown Palm Springs, the estate offers dramatic views from a setting of total seclusion with modern amenities. [CITY OF PALM SPRINGS #4398]

The Alexander Residence is a lovely estate with plenty of privacy that permits weddings and other events. [CITY OF PALM SPRINGS #4398]


The Alexander Residence is full of mid-century modern elements that add layers upon layers of sophistication to an already awe-inspiring space. Book now to step back in time and experience the heyday of Modernism while enjoying the conveniences of today in this lovely home.


Natural Retreats is a proud platinum sponsor of Modernism Week, a yearly celebration that fosters an appreciation of mid-century architecture and design. Modernism gave us clean lines, organic curves, and a juxtaposition of unique textures with uncommon materials—a design so ageless, it remains the style of our times. It was an iconic movement that now, decades later, designers, architects, and connoisseurs of the practice gather annually to honor.

Planning a trip for Modernism Week? Share your favorite moments with Natural Retreats on social media by tagging @naturalretreats and using #TravelOn.