Vintage SoCal: Studio head Jack Warner created his own oasis in Palm Springs

A 1920s studio rule — that actors be able to get to L.A. in less than two hours for reshoots — put Palm Springs on the map as a getaway spot for Hollywood. Ever since, the resort community has been a draw to those in the entertainment industry.

Warner Bros. President Jack Warner decided to create his dream house in the desert oasis in 1958, buying a piece of property in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood. Within two years, his Villa Aujourd’hui was completed.

The film mogul’s modern estate was infused with classical touches by L.A. designer and onetime actor Billy Haines. Maltese falcons, a nod to the Warner Bros. hit film, flanked the gates. Columns, Roman-style urns and Greek statues graced the grounds.

The compound would become a retreat for singing and film sensation Elvis Presley and surrealist artist Salvador Dali. Actress Marilyn Monroe visited to have photos taken of her lounging by the swimming pool.


Today the exterior and interior have a contemporary vibe, although one detail from designer Haines’ time greets visitors at the door. Solid brass doorknobs adorned with the heads of pharaohs recall the original Egyptian Revival motif.

The sleek kitchen features birch cabinets and a center island that can seat five.

Sliding glass doors and walls take in views of the San Joaquin Mountains, a fire pit area and the modernized swimming pool, flanked by lawn.

A guesthouse contains two master suites and a wet bar. The nearly 5,300 square feet of living space includes seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms.


The asking price of the half-acre property is $3.495 million. The Hollywood history, priceless.

Marc Lange and Carl Blea of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty are the listing agents for 285 W. Via Lola, Palm Springs.

This occasional feature celebrates Southern California’s architectural heritage through residences built before 1960. Submit candidates for Vintage SoCal to