The Househunter 10/6/16

A treat for you today: a tour round a proper Bond villain house that is on the market for $8m but that’s probably small change to yer average villain these days. Some of you will recognise it as the house of Willard Whyte in the 1971 movie Diamonds are Forever. And no I know you can’t remember what he looks like either – all those villains blend into one – although you might remember those lissome bodyguards Bambi and Thumper beating up Sean Connery…


Anyway, we’re all about the houses here so you can google them if you need to and in the meantime let’s go in shall we? I found it via The Modern House . The house was designed by John Lautner for the interior designer Arthur Elrod and sits in the hills above Palm Springs.


The 60ft wide round sitting room is based around nine roof “petals” that fan out from the centre and were designed to draw in the light and keep out the punishing heat. When Lautner came across the huge boulders on the site, he simply incorporated them into his building, which he regarded as timeless.

elrod house

The glass walls are retractable to make the most of the views. And, should you need to know this, there are five bedrooms, a gym, a heated pool and guest house – the details are here.


I did find a couple of other images which show it in all its early 70s glory, which I thought you might like and you can see the rest of them here.

elrod house 2

Feast your eyes on all those warm oranges and browns and you know instantly which decade you are seeing don’t you? Finally, because no-one buys a house without checking out the kitchen, here you are. Surprisingly modest isn’t it.

elrod house kitchen


Right, that’s enough villains for one day. Now for something completely different. This is also for sale but it’s also a sort of gallery of products that have been styled in a Mayfair house. It’s been called a Squat but it’s unlike any other squat you are ever likely to come across.

It’s a collaboration between interior designer Shalini Misra and gallerists Mehves Ariburnu and Nina Yashar, who has created three previous squats or pop-up apartments and is open to the public for four months (from June 2016).


The house has been completely renovated – ceilings and cornicing reinstated, parquet flooring restored and they have installed wardrobes and bathrooms before filling it with Yashar’s blend of contemporary and retro pieces, several of whom are either represented by Yashar or her protegees.


It’s been conceived as a new kind of exhibition combining art, design and architecture, but it’s also a great way to show off some really amazing furniture that looks better than it would in a straightforward gallery. Think of it as the ultimate lifestyle shoot.

Everything is functional and everything is for sale. Although the dream is that someone will wander in and write a cheque for the whole lot – reckoned to be about £10m (minus the Warhol, Schnabel and Matisse). To see more images visit


If you want to have a look around it’s open from midday to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday and it’s Flat 1, 70 South Audley Street, Mayfair, W1K 2RA.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Oh fab, I went to the Palm Springs house (not inside) a few years ago and it’s remarkable, even just from the outside. If you’re at all interested in residential mid-century architecture, Palm Springs is the holy grail. Google Robert Imber; an architectural historian – he’ll take you out to all these extraordinary homes by Lautner, Richard Neutra, Donald Wexler, Albert Frey, all the prominent architects of the era, and his insight and stories are fascinating. And then there are all the retro hotels and gazillions of homeware stores…. swoon. It’s a dream destination for design/interiors freaks, but leave your credit card at home.

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