Ride the WaveAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Stayner Architects restores the iconic Wave House designed by American modernist Walter S. White.
During Modernism Week 2020 Stayner Architects unveiled the newly-restored Wave House, an iconic mid-century modern home designed by architect and inventor Walter S. White in 1955 for the artist and local lothario Miles C. Bates in Palm Desert, CA.
Recently approved to be added to the National Register of Historic Places, restoring the 900 square foot home for modern architecture enthusiasts to enjoy was top of mind for the firm’s founder Christian Stayner. “We are so pleased to give the Wave House back to the public,” said Christian Stayner. “For us, historic preservation is not about ‘turning back the clock.’ Preservation is a way to honor the original design as well as the life the house has seen throughout its 64 years. It’s about allowing the house to exist across multiple time periods rather than making it an archive of the past. The Wave House is not so much a time capsule as it is a timeless space.”
The process began in 2018, with a major overhaul of the countless bad renovations that left even the iconic roof unrecognizable. The team’s goal was to respect the home’s roots while creating an updated mid-century interior that didn’t scream 1950s movie set. They researched the archives at the University of California Santa Barbara to maintain historic elements while improving efficiencies with modern technology.
While the home’s most striking feature is the renowned roof, the new, custom interiors present a perfect combination of respect to the past with a nod to the future. “Good architecture stands the test of time,” added Stayner. “We foresee the Wave House becoming a destination for fans of the midcentury, but also a space for cultural discourse and exploration. We want it to be a place that people will enjoy for years to come.”
The Wave House is the first structure of the future Desert Wave compound to be completed. The Desert Wave is a micro-boutique hospitality experience that will celebrate regional history, culture, and midcentury design and be available for select events, artist residencies and group stays. Stayner Architects will break ground in 2020 on two new structures that will add 1400 sf including four guest suites, a commercial kitchen, and a shared pool and courtyard area. Desert Wave is anticipated to be completed in 2021 and will be designed, run, and managed by Stayner Architects.