Known as the Kaufmann Desert House, the Palm Springs property was designed by Neutra in 1946, the Wall Street Journal first reported. In the 1970s photo “Poolside Gossip,” Aarons captured two socialites overlooking its pool in a photo that has been reprinted and recreated countless times.
Such a multi-wing design is known as the international style of the 1940s and was considered an innovative design for its day. It boasts five bedrooms built on a single level in an open floor plan, along with an open-air patio on the second floor.
Neutra, who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright before branching out on his own in the 1930s, was commissioned to build it by Edgar J. Kaufmann, a Pittsburgh department store tycoon.
Kaufmann had also commissioned Wright’s iconic Fallingwater and would come to the Palm Springs property as his escape from Pittsburgh’s winters. After his death in 1955, it stood empty for a number of years. Businessman Gene Klein and singer Barry Manilow owned it at different times before financial executive Brent Harris and his then-wife Beth bought it in the 1990s.
The Harrises then commissioned the firm Marmol Radziner to undertake a major renovation to preserve what Leo Marmol called “one of the seminal definitions of modern architecture in California.”
While the floor-length glass windows and stone walls make it an early example of California’s indoor-outdoor design, the home’s pool is perhaps its most distinguishing feature. Aarons’ “Poolside Gossip” photo appears in photo collections, posters and various other reprints.
If sold for its $25 million asking price, Kaufmann Design House would nearly double the record as the most expensive property sold in Palm Springs. Currently, the record — $13 million in 2016 — belongs to a home once owned by comedian Bob Hope.