“This is organic architecture at its sublime and also at its most dramatic.” – Architectural Digest
Radical and beautiful, inventive and original. Designed by architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg in the 1980s, the Kellogg Doolittle House is an incredible example of Organic Architecture. As a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright, Kellogg expanded on Wright’s foundation of Organic Architecture – a style appreciated by Bev and Jay Doolittle, who originally commissioned Kellogg to design what has become one of the desert’s most iconic residences.
The Doolittles were every architect’s dream client; so sensitive to the artistic process, they provided Kellogg with well articulated briefings, plenty of resources and decades of patience. All of this allowed Kellogg, and his design accomplice John Vugrin, to be completely unrushed as they proceeded to make everything inside and outside of the Joshua Tree home by hand over the course of three decades.
John Vugrin is the unsung hero of the home and Kellogg’s protege. Discovered in his teens by Kellogg, John would work around the world for Kellogg almost his entire adult life, and was responsible for much more than the interiors. As an expert craftsman in marble, wood, stone, glass, copper, bronze, and steel, his skillset allowed Kellogg’s original vision to come to fruition with the quality and artistry that a project of this scale so deserved.
From its hand-laid stone path to the custom marble, copper and glass work inside, every detail throughout the home is impeccably designed. Form and function dance in harmony, existing as a living work of art that offers practical shelter from the elements. There is playfulness between some of its Brutalistic forms and its opposing Organic Architectural nature. The light plays with and through the home all day, and then in the evenings, when lit up, it captures the quiet excitement of an opera house minutes before a performance.
For a home with so much glass and concrete, it is surprisingly warm, intimate, and inviting. A half-moon curved kitchen is both jaw dropping and great to cook a meal in. The fireplace in the sunken living room is breathtaking. The circular master bedroom sits at the top of the house, in the clearstory, with the perfect floating view of the night sky. Kellogg masterfully designed the home to appear as though it naturally existed among the surrounding rock landscape, with boulders inside and outside the home that have not moved in millions of years.
Hailed by the New York Times as the “most unsung great residence in America by one of architecture’s least-known major talents,” a visit to the Kellogg Doolittle House is an experience unlike any other.
We are honored to offer an inaugural High Desert house tour of this exclusive property as a part of the Best of Modernism Auction, live at modernismweek.com from December 4-12, 2021.
The limited tour will allow 50 people to experience first public tour in the home’s history. Each invitation includes VIP mini-coach transportation to and from Palm Springs, a private tour of the house and grounds, and an elegant reception on the terrace, with hors d’oeuvres, wine, cocktails and other refreshments. Guests will have the opportunity to visit with John Vugrin and the current homeowner. Also joining the tour is author, architect and architectural historian Alan Hess, who wrote the book Organic Architecture (which features the Doolittle House on the cover). The inaugural tour is valued at $1,000 per person ($500 is tax deductible from each ticket).
Sneak a peek at more Best of Modernism Auction items here.
The auction, which includes tickets to The Inaugural High Desert House Tour (The Doolittle House) by Ken Kellogg, will be live at modernismweek.com from December 4-12, 2021.