28 October 2016


The midcentury prize of the United States today was the vision of Walter and Lee Annenberg. Selecting a desert landscape, the Annenberg's Sunnylands was an elite oasis for political titans and Hollywood stars— the Reagans, and Sinatra to name two. Sinatra was married at the estate. The house, called Sunnylands, was designed by A. Quincy Jones and decorated by William Haines.

The Sunnylands Atrium and Living Room is a tour de force laid out by Hollywood master designer William Haines. Celadon covered chairs and upholstery on marble floors are surrounded by Impressionist masterpieces, along with Qing and Tang Dynasty treasures.

Sunnylands America's Midcentury Masterpiece is a beautiful book that chronicles the inception, the high life, and the style of this low slung mansion. Filled with beautiful photographs—past and present, director of Sunnylands Center and Gardens, Janice Lyle shares her insights on Sunnylands. The home has been pristinely preserved, original fabrics have been copied to the letter to maintain the integrity of Sunnylands.

Leonore LEE Annenberg in the rooms of Sunnyland, preserved in a scrapbook.

The book includes letters from the Haines design firm to the Annenbergs along with drawings, plans, and notes from the extensive  archives of Sunnylands.

The Annenbergs New Year's Eve parties were legendary and often attended by their close friends Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

"I love being so spoiled—but it makes going back to being a pumpkin hard."- Nancy Reagan writing on her visits to Sunnylands.

The Reagans lounging by the pool on New Year's Eve, 1981.

The Sunnylands estate is open to the public. The book Sunnylands is truly stunning. It is a must-have for architects, designers, and anyone that adores beautiful homes, and this house is like no other in the country.

Many thanks to the publishers of Sunnylands Vendome for a copy of the book.


  1. It's a gorgeous compound...we had the luxury of visiting with a very small group a couple of years ago, no one was there but us. The Art unfortunately has been replaced with copies, it would have been amazing in its heyday to just meander thru with Monets, Renoir's etc...all in the desert with unobstructed mountain views...lakes with fountains, Flora Danica China...and tons of Billy Haines. One element that stands out is the magnificent entrance tower fountain...Mayan inspired as is the home...but a true mid century jewel.

  2. I love that house. It must be in Palm Springs. I guess it doesn't really feel like 130 degrees when you're in a house like that. Oh, I hope it comes with the furniture.



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