Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House, widely considered the crème de la crème of Palm Springs’s sizable stable of desert modernist homes, is for sale with an asking price of $25 million. While listed Neutra homes in Southern California and further afield aren’t exactly a rarity, the Kaufmann House marks the second time this year that one of the architect’s more famous—and famously photographed—works have hit the market, following the Lovell Health House in Los Angeles in January.
As noted by the Los Angeles Times, if the 3,162-square-foot International-style residence does manage to find a buyer in the ballpark of $25 million, it will be the biggest residential sale in Palm Springs history. The current title-holder is the John Lautner’s volcano-esque Bob Hope estate, which sold for $13 million in 2016 following a dramatic price drop from $50 million.
Completed in 1947, the Kaufmann House was commissioned by Pittsburgh-based department store magnate Edgar J. Kauffman, who, just a decade earlier, sought out Frank Lloyd Wright to design a family weekend escape in rural Fayette County, Pennsylvania. That home, of course, is Fallingwater. Both Fallingwater and the Kaufmann House—also referred to as the Kaufmann Desert House—are frequently ranked as among the most architecturally significant homes in the United States although the latter has long remained in private ownership while the former has operated as a museum since 1964.
The listing of the Kauffman House, a boxy glass, metal, and sandstone structure that emerges from the craggy desert landscape in the craggy foothills just north of downtown Palm Springs in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood, comes following a painstaking five-year restoration project that was overseen by Marmol Radziner and completed roughly a decade ago. The L.A-based firm worked alongside homeowner and architectural historian Brent Harris to bring the celebrated cruciform-shaped property back closer to its original size and shape following a series of additions and alterations—many questionable—carried out over the years by previous owners. Flanked by the San Jacinto Mountains on a nearly 3-acre parcel, the home in its current state features five bedrooms and six full bathrooms and was last listed for sale for just under $13 million in 2008, although that listing was short-lived.
A rare Palm Springs residence that’s more well-known for its architectural pedigree than for having a celebrity name attached to it (sorry, Barry Manilow), the Kaufmann House as mentioned, has been immortalized in photography, first by Julius Shulman in 1947, and then by jet-set documentarian Slim Aarons in 1970 in Poolside Glamour. Coincidently, a curated selection of ready-to-hang prints of some of Aarons’ most famous photographs, Poolside Glamour included, just recently became available from Fine Art America. Along with correspondence between Neutra and Kauffmann, Shulman’s photographs proved instrumental in the aforementioned $2.5 million restoration in the absence of original design plans.
“After looking at the archives of Julius Shulman, it led us to better understand that it was quite a work of sculpture and much richer than really anyone knew, because nobody had seen Julius’ archives,” Harris told Dwell in a 2019 profile of the restored landmark home.
You can view the full listing for this “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a family or institution to further define their legacy and lifestyle” at Sotheby’s International Realty. And if pursuing such an opportunity simply isn’t in the proverbial cards, there’s always a print.