Sunnylands: America’s Midcentury Masterpiece
Janice Lyle and Michael S. Smith
With its pastel green and yellow interior, its dazzling collection of Impressionist paintings, and long, low sofas that look like vintage Cadillac convertibles, Sunnylands was a Versailles for the Space Age. In Palm Springs, the mecca of midcentury modern architecture, this immaculately preserved estate is considered the undisputed masterpiece, envisioned by A. Quincy Jones, one of California’s most important architects; and furnished by California’s great decorator-to-the-stars, William Haines. Built by media moguls, art collectors, and diplomats Walter and Lenore Annenberg, Sunnylands became a seat of power, where politicians, movie stars, and corporate leaders could meet, relax, reflect, make deals, and run the world – all with nobody watching. For four decades, an invitation to New Year’s at Sunnylands was the ultimate social prize. Exquisitely illustrated and with a foreword by Architectural Digest contributor Michael Smith, Sunnylands is a must-have for every fan of midcentury design.
Janice Lyle, the Director of Sunnylands Center & Gardens, has been at the estate since 2008, when Leonore Annenberg was still alive. She has deeper knowledge of the house and its contents, and more access to the Annenbergs regarding Sunnylands, than any other nonfamily member. Michael Sean Smith is an American interior designer responsible for the 2010 makeover of the Oval Office and the private living quarters of President and Mrs. Obama.