House Tour: Inside a Refined Palm Springs Escape
Lee Stanton and partner Israel Serna have put a distinctive stamp on their modern desert oasis
You won’t find a Lucite console, bright shag rug or chrome lounger at Lee Stanton’s desert home. And it’s no accident. The Los Angeles-based antiquarian and president of the La Cienega Design Quarter dreamed up a weekend home (he also has a residence in Laguna Beach and recently embarked on a new project in Montecito) in collaboration with his partner, Israel Serna, that defies the prevailing Palm Springs look. “The goal was to not look like the rest,” says Stanton.
Instead he and Serna filled the Indian Canyon home with Belgian and French furniture, oil and charcoal artwork, and patinaed leather and linen fabrics, pulling from his incredible collection of eclectic and fine period pieces (highly sought after by boldface-name interior designers). “We wanted to embrace midcentury lines from a raw point of view,” Stanton says. “The sky, sand, cactus and the majestic mountains, it’s so natural. To me…chrome, bright colors and stark white don’t relate to the landscape.”
The interiors unfold in a charming flow of open rooms, with architectural details that have been preserved and reinvigorated thanks to Stanton’s expert mix of European antiques, industrial pieces and artwork—ranging from flea-market finds to selections from his West Hollywood showroom. “I love to showcase antiques in modern settings,” says Stanton. “It’s unconventional and it allows you to see them in a different way.”
The 19th- and 20th-century pieces pop among warm, modern woods and muted artisanal pottery. Rich finishes and subtle textures convey a layered warmth without disturbing the space’s clean lines (a Sydney Harbour paint, for example, is applied to resemble a Venetian plaster). The guest bedroom is inspired by Stanton’s relatives, who were haberdashers. “It started with a painting I found in Paris, this debonair gentleman,” he says. “I added a quilt made of various suiting fabrics and dressed the bed in cotton stripes and gray flannel blanket.”
One of Stanton and Serna’s favorite rooms to spend time in is the den, a cool cocoon in which to nap, read, work or play games. With their days filled with hikes, shopping for vintage finds, and cocktails or lunch at favorite spots including The Parker Palm Springs and Tyler’s Burgers, the pair is thrilled to hide away here on a hot afternoon. Of course, solitude is a rare thing in these surrounds: “We see our friends more here than in L.A.,” says Stanton. “You’ll run into people in the supermarket and say, ‘Let’s have dinner tonight.’”
Photography by HANH NGUYEN.
Written by KERSTIN CZARRA.