Tiny Lautner Hotel Just About Done

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Hotel Lautner, still under construction. (photo by Sam Lubell)

Now THIS is what we call a hotel. On March 4 interior designer Tracy Beckmann and furniture maker Ryan Trowbridge will open the Hotel Lautner: their painstaking renovation of John Lautner’s Desert Hot Springs (CA) Motel, originally built in 1947, and still one of Lautner’s masterpieces. We stumbled upon the renovation this weekend on a trip to Palm Springs and bring you the details.

Beckmann and Trowbridge bought the motel in 2007 after its owner, Steve Lowe, died unexpectedly. Their work—held up significantly by recent flooding, which left over a foot of mud on the site—included tearing out the motel’s aging materials to the foundations and replacing them as meticulously as possible. That includes impressive Redwood beams, large expanses of glass, exposed steel joists, and lots of smooth concrete.

As per many of Lautner’s works, the project is structurally ambitious (its low angled roofs are reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West, where Lautner studied) and provides privacy and protection from the elements, but still fills the interiors with light, a connection to the outdoors, and a sense of warm coziness. Each of the four guest rooms has its own patio and garden.

Better book your reservations soon!

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