Mid Century Icon: Chemosphere House

We have always been fascinated with The Chemosphere house, designed by American architect John Lautner in 1960. The iconic MCM building, which the Encyclopædia Britannica once called “the most modern home built in the world”, is admired both for the ingenuity of its solution to the problem of the site and for its unique design.

The house stands on the San Fernando Valley side of the Hollywood Hills, just off Mulholland Drive.

Modern Bear Trivia: the house was dramatically featured in the 1984 film “Body Double,” directed by Brian De Palma. We also like to think it was the secret inspiration for the Jupiter 2 from “Lost in Space” 😉

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Mid Century Modern Porn: Hotel Lautner

This is a Modern Bear favorite! An iconic desert hideaway once known as the Desert Hot Springs Motel has been re-imagined today as Hotel Lautner, an award winning, stunning modern day oasis in the desert.


The owners purchased the famed modernist architect John Lautner’s mid-century property in 2008 and spent 3 ½ years on its meticulous renovation. To bring this resort successfully into the 21st century, the owners/designers were careful to remain tastefully true to the gestalt of the original design. It has been accurately described as a “hybrid” between luxury vacation rental property and micro-boutique hotel.


Guests are encouraged to live the Mid-Century Modern “Lautner Lifestyle” in their own private flat equipped with all the creature comforts of a “home away from home”. One can also rent out the entire compound for the ultimate retreat with family and friends. We recently attended a friend’s wedding ceremony and reception there, a magical setting featuring candle lit tables at twilight surrounded by the desert mountains.

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The hotel is comprised of four ingenious interlocking structures. The dramatic play of light throughout the day and night is achieved with the thoughtful use of skylights and glass walls. An impressive succulent garden wraps each unit on three sides giving the guest the magical feeling of living in a terrarium.


The outdoor patios and garden areas are four steps up giving the room a feeling of being nestled in the desert earth. Each of the four units is remarkably spacious and is uniquely appointed with luxurious vintage modern furnishings and boutique hotel amenities.


We loved the Saline Plunge Pool with built in seating, large enough to accommodate 8 people, and the adjacent lounge area and outdoor shower. There is also a dramatic Communal Fire Pit Lounge with cushions and pillows, with an Infrared BBQ and dining area located next to the fire pit lounge. Classic butterfly chairs are located throughout the compound.


Hotel Lautner is located just 10 minutes north of downtown Palm Springs where guests can enjoy fantastic restaurants, vintage modern shopping and mid-century modern architecture. If you’re looking for a unique get-away from crowds but still want to be close enough to drive to clubs, dining, and shopping, we highly recommend this fabulous modern gem in the sunny California desert!