Rumor has it…

…that the strange and spectacular Palm Springs, CA residence of Bob and Dolores Hope—now both deceased—may soon become available for the first time ever with an exceptionally elephantine asking price of $45,000,000.

No, babies, Your Mama’s gin soaked fingers did not make a mistake, that really is forty-five million clams.

The torus-shaped house (above), with its dramatically undulating copper sheathed roof, was custom designed in the mid-1970s for Mister and Missus Hope by maverick California architect John Lautner. Missus Hope herself described the unusual residence in a 1999 article about Palm Springs in Vanity Fair magazine as a “contemporary castle.” Less flattering comparisons have been made—a doughnut on acid, a flying saucer, the TWA terminal at Kennedy Airport in New York—but, whatever. Let’s the naysayers nay say all they like. As far as Your Mama is concerned it’s a magnificent and idiosyncratic piece of architecture. We love it and we’d pee our pants over an opportunity to get inside for a look around.

But, children, is it worth $45,000,000? Hmm. Maybe. Maybe no. Ask Suzanne Somers, a long-time Palm Springs resident who, back in 2008 amid much brouhaha and ballyhoo, attempted to sell her very different but no less quirky 73-acre mountainside compound in Palm Springs for $35,000,000 before the asking price was slashed to just under thirteen million, a radical reduction that still didn’t bring in a moneybags buyer.*

Various reports put the Hope house—near the tippy-top top Southridge, a swank, guard-gated enclave of mostly contemporary residences—at around 22 or 25 and even 29,000 square feet however the Riverside County Tax Man shows the avant garde residence sits high on 3.17 ridge top acres and measures in at 17,531 square feet with six bedrooms and four bathrooms.**

Glass walls ring a circular, multi-level central courtyard and more towering walls of glass spill out to landscaped grounds that feature a private motor court and two car car port, vast rolling lawns dotted with putting greens and sand traps, and a squiggly-shaped in-ground swimming pool. The property does not currently have a tennis court, which is a real shame in Your Mama’s book because for forty-five million big one we do not want the extra added expense and hassle of installing a tennis court.

Due to its elevation 200 or more feet above the Coachella Valley desert floor, the Hope house has wrap around views of the rugged mountains and mid-century-modern lined streets of Palm Springs, one of the gayest little cities on the planet where the average age of residents, so novelist Sydney Sheldon once not exactly accurately quipped, is deceased.

Among the approximately 20 homes in the Southridge enclave there are a number of other notable houses including the Cody House—designed by modernist architect William Cody and built in 1964 for Chicago-based industrialist Stanley Goldberg.

Also up in Southridge is the wild, wacky, wonderful and world renown Elrod House, designed in 1968 by John Lautner for interior designer Arthur Elrod. The much photographed and written about Elrod House was briefly owned in the early Aughts by supermarket magnate Ron Burkle who sold it in 2003 to California-based businessman Michael Kilroy for $5,500,000. Mister Kilroy tried in vain to sell the Elrod House in late 2009 when it landed with a much discussed thud on the open market with a $13,890,000 price tag. As it turns out Mister Kilroy also owns the house across the street—and also listed in late 2009 for $2,890,000—as well as the one next door, an interconnected collection of steel-framed glass boxes designed by architect Hugh M. Kaptur for Steve McQueen back in the day when he was hitched to the impossibly chic actress Ali McGraw. Mister Kilroy also listed this house in late 2009, with an asking price of $3,470,000, but also failed to unload it.

In addition to their desert getaway Mister and Missus Hope also maintained—and their estate/heirs still own—a five-plus acre spread in the Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles with a 14,876 square foot main house and several additional outbuildings joined by various driveways and parking areas.

*Miz Somer’s 10 bedroom and 9 bathroom compound is currently listed for $17,500,000.

**At least one data base we consulted shows there are six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.

aerial photo, Palm Springs (top): Google
exterior photos, Palm Springs (bottom left and right): Mossler Properties
aerial photo, Los Angeles: Google

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  1. Raj Nandini says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Rosco Mare says:

    The Annenberg’s Sunnylands is at the intersection of Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra in nearby Rancho Mirage. Estate tours are $35. See for a real treat.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. @Anon November 19, 2012 2:49 PM: and finally, there’s the correct answer. There was a fire befor ethe hosue was finished, the Hopes rebuilt, with Mrs Hope taking the lead, and completely bebuggered Lautner’s original design.

    Amazingly, it’ not the biggest house on that street. That honor goes to A Quincy Jones’ Sunnylands, built for the Walter Annenbergs, which blessedly will never come on the market.

  6. Wheeler says:

    Well the only consolation that a buyer can get in buying this house, is the fact that Bob Hope used to be its owner.I guess that’s why they marketed the property for $45M.

  7. GiltEdgeGirl says:

    Love me some Lautnef!
    I think this place looks great. Mama, take me with you if you ever get to peek inside!

  8. Rosco Mare says:

    A mutual friend of the Hope’s once said that the pool requires frequent refilling because of a slow leak.

    Did the pool originally have a bridge across it? I doubt it because it would look odd, but I heard that years ago.

    The same friend also said that Bob cherished the older house in PS and used it to relax and casually entertain close Hollywood friends; though, I don’t know the time frame. The Toluca Lake house is expected to be listed for sale soon.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Kill it with fire!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yes— this is the second build. The house burn to the ground shortly before completion. The Hope’s then rebuilt it and took many depatures from Lautner’s design… this is where Lautner began to distance himself from the project.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I seem to remember it burned to the ground once. Anyone remember this?

    Doen’t look very cozy.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I read somewhere that there was a dispute over the roof Lautner wanted exposed concrete and Hope wanted wood so the compromise ended up covering the roof.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have been in the house about 10 years ago. Very badly decorated floral Chintz interiors. The fireplace is so huge ten people could stand in it. The swimming pool needed resurfacing. I wish them luck.Palm Springs has many other properties I would choose over this.

  14. l'il gay boy says:

    Bite me, Amir.

  15. Amir jamil says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If one looks at the aerial photo on google maps, there are two huge tacky water tanks directly adjacent to the property.

  17. Eddie Paws says:

    Mama, I have been to the house & it is even more amazing inside. The view is the best in the entire desert. My best friend was a relative & the Hope family absolutely loved the house, contrary to what someone posted above, that’s why it has never been for sale. My friend a “relative” tried to broker a deal with some Saudi connections in the 80’s in the 20 million range but they would not sell. The house has a gigantic fireplace in the middle of the atrium. Large stone’s from the site are incorporated into the flooring, decor like in other Lautner house’s. It was decorated very traditionally but beautiful. But probably dated now. Their old house in down in the “movie colony” was kept as a guest house for the family to use & I’ve stayed there many times.

  18. Anonymous says:


    seriously! the best house in the world in my opinion(neutra kaufmann) couldnt sell for 15 million. why would this sell for 45? It will languish on the market with price chop after price chop until it will be delisted and turned into a party rental. Just like the frank sinatra house… just watch, you’ll see.

  19. Anonymous says:

    There are almost no buyers willing to pay over $10M for a house in Palm Springs. Indian Wells, maybe. But definitely not for this.

  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “,,,from an aerial view looks weird and kinda creepy.” But how many people would arrive by air? I presume it is being sold by his widow’s estate. She died, according to Wikipedia, in Toluca Lake, not PS.

  22. farrah 927 says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  23. property says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. Angelo says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I don’t talk French and don’t know what Rodney is trying to say. I keep thinking it would be cool for the Russian billionaire’s Srar Trek Enterprise house to dock with Bob and Dolores Hope’s Palm Springs space station.


  26. Anonymous says:

    Studly visualizes the Hope house engaged in flagrante delicto with the Vladisov Doronin- Naomi Campbell spaceship house.

    Rodney Hardwood
    Teenton NJ

  27. Wheeler says:

    Well personally I think the whole house looks like an alien space ship headquarters or something. Although the pool looks.The whole property is not that attractive so I don’t think it would sell for $45M. Since they tried slashing the price down to $13M and still it didn’t sell, so that means it’s not that marketable at all. I guess the house would probably sell around $5M to $8M or so. The architectural design from an aerial view looks weird and kinda creepy. Not sure what the inside of the house looks like. Interesting post…thanks for sharing!

  28. Petra's says:

    Everyone should go look at the Bird’s Eye View of this fabulous monstrosity and look how it dwarfs all the other homes around it. Even the pool is super-sized.

  29. l'il gay boy says:

    It is a Lautner, after all.

    Given the Hope provenance, you just know some over-ambitious, over-zealous, and underfunded cowboy will come riding in to “save” it — and go belly up in the process…

  30. Your Mama says:

    Simmer down child.

    The deletions were a mistake.

    We accidentally grouped them with spam that we deleted. We’ll try not to do that anymore.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Rumor has it that, after the Hopes moved in and ruined the architectural showplace with wall-to-wall traditional, staid furnishings that in no way, shape or form complimented the unusual home, Mr. Lautner distanced himself from claiming it as one of his designs.

  32. Anonymous says:

    first my tip about hadids old place and then my comment earlier asking if anyone knows why so many places in southridge are for sale? genuinely curious why you keep deleting them…

  33. Anonymous says:

    why do you keep deleting my comments?

  34. Anonymous says:

    Oh Mama, check out the latest WSJ article on Mohamed Hadid. The Journal is reporting that his $58M house on Crescent is in escrow!

  35. Anonymous says:

    Love it but personally I much prefer the exterior of the Elrod House anyday.

  36. Anonymous says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  37. Anonymous says:

    As the story goes, Mr. Hope was one of Mr. Lautner’s most difficult clients. When the project was completed Mr. Hope hated the house and never spent a night in it, he only used it for entertaining. After the party was over they would leave and go to their other longtime palm springs home.
    There is a rumor that I heard that you are supposed to be able to land a helicopter in the center of the house. Make of that what you will.

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