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The Gillman Residence: A 2020 Modernism Week Showcase Home

Design Trends

Hidden on a side street in the Palm Springs enclave of Little Tuscany sits The Gillman Residence, an historic home designed by Mid-century modern architect Herbert Burns. This 1948 residence of Dr. George Gillman and his wife Sadie was featured in the January 1951 issue of the Los Angeles Times Home Magazine and referred to as a “Sophisticated Sun Seeker.”



The Architect: Herbert Burns
Burns made a name for himself during the heyday of Palm Springs’ Mid-century modern creative expressions in architecture and design. His trademark work was displayed throughout several hotel projects in
Palm Springs, including the Hideaway (originally the Town & Desert), Holiday House and the Orbit Inn. His approach to design has been described as the “fundamentals of good living” — emphasizing function, space and light.



The Architecture
The Gillman Residence architecture was inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier in the style of Late Moderne, a precursor to Modernism. With that in mind, Burns designed the home to take
advantage of the surrounding desert landscape, as well as the seamless indoor/outdoor living that is a hallmark of Palm Springs.


After the Gillmans left the home, it languished for years, abandoned and partially demolished in several botched remodels. Recently, Thomboy Properties stepped in to save the day! Lovingly restored to reflect the
elements that Burns originally intended for the property, Jackie Thomas and DeeAnn McCoy brought this pinnacle of historical Palm Springs design back to life.


The one-story home encompasses slightly more than 4,700 square feet on a half-acre lot — and is fronted by a swimming pool and surrounding landscape perfectly suited for outdoor living. The Burns architectural elements that have been restored include strong horizontal lines with a flat roofline, cantilevered overhangs, floating soffits, grids of ribbed obscure glass, and vertical piers and planters of Arizona stone.



The Color Palette


Dunn-Edwards, as the exclusive paint sponsor of Modernism Week, supplied the paint and historic color assistance. We're proud to have been a participant in this historical renovation.

All images with permission and courtesy of Lance Gerber