When it comes to naming some of the most iconic singers and actors in Hollywood in the last century, Frank Sinatra is at the top of that list. Ol’ Blue Eyes gained widespread recognition for his acting and his music. With two Academy Awards, 11 Grammys, and selling more than 150 million records worldwide, Sinatra is nothing less than legendary. The crooner’s thriving career in Hollywood resulted in investing in some beautiful real estate, some of which still today inspire homeowners who love midcentury modern style.
Here’s a look at Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs home.
Where is the Frank Sinatra House?
The most popular house that belonged to Frank Sinatra is his Palm Springs estate, Twin Palms in Central Palm Springs. Located at 1148 East Alejo Rd. in the famed Movie Colony neighborhood.
Inside the Frank Sinatra House
The Frank Sinatra house, Twin Palms, is a one-floor residence measuring 4,500 square feet. It takes its name from the two palm trees standing next to the house.
The house has four bedrooms and seven bathrooms. It was built around long horizontal lines that are framed with steel and aluminum, with windows that go down to the ground. Twin Palms also has a piano-shaped swimming pool.
The History Behind the Frank Sinatra House
In the late 1940s, Frank Sinatra started coming to Palm Springs after his friend, composer Jimmy Van Heusen, told him about the city. Van Heusen stopped for fuel in Palm Springs on his way to Los Angeles. When Van Heusen told Sinatra about Palm Springs, Sinatra insisted that they travel there on the same day.
On May 1, 1947, Sinatra approached E. Stewart Williams and requested to build a Georgian-style house as his weekend home. At the time, Sinatra signed a film contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer and made his first $1 million. However, Williams felt that the style did not suit the desert environment of Palm Springs. Williams proposed two architectural drawings, one of which was the Georgian design and the other was a one-floor modern house.
Sinatra ultimately chose the modern design, and it became Williams’ first residential commission. The crooner demanded that they finish building the house in time for a Christmas party he planned to host. It was eventually completed before the new year, costing $150,000. Sinatra lived in the house from 1947 to 1954, eventually selling it by 1957.
Before he ultimately the house, Sinatra rented it to Moss Hart for him and Judy Garland to rewrite A Star is Born.
Twin Palms became the standard for Hollywood glamour for its time. It was also the place of celebrity gatherings. It was also famously photographed by famed architectural photographer Julius Shulman.
The Drama That Unfolded in the Residence
Frank Sinatra’s time living in Twin Palms wasn’t without drama. According to Sinatra’s valet, the crooner’s family life started falling apart due to his public infidelities. His tumultuous marriage with his first wife Nancy Barbato also worsened and they divorced in 1948.
Soon after, Sinatra married his long-time lover Ava Gardner in 1951, and this marriage was just as tumultuous as his first. Sinatra and Gardner’s marriage was known as the most turbulent in the history of Hollywood, with all the drama taking place in Twin Palms. The pair were married from 1951 to 1957.
In her autobiography, Gardner said Twin Palms was where they had the worst fight in their marriage.
“It was the site of probably the most spectacular fight of our young married life, and honey, don’t think I don’t know that’s really saying something…Frank’s establishment in Palm Springs, the only house we really could ever call our own has seen some pretty amazing occurrences,” wrote the actress.
It was in Twin Palms that the Hollywood crooner’s temper was exposed for being unrestrained. One of the original bathroom sinks in the residence features a crack in the basin. The crack was caused by the champagne bottle Sinatra threw at Gardner. Sinatra also threw all of Gardner’s things out onto the driveway, kicking her and actress Lana Turner out.
During its heyday, Twin Palms was only accessible to Hollywood’s elite. However, it made a cameo in Joan Crawford’s 1950 movie The Damned Don’t Cry. Sinatra repaid a favor he owed by allowing his house to be filmed but had demanded that only the exterior shots be shown.
Frank Sinatra House Today
A couple from Texas had occupied the Frank Sinatra house for 43 years until it was sold in 1997 for $135,000. It was sold in 2000 for $1.3 million and in 2005 for $2.9 million. In 2010, Twin Palms was on the market again for $3.25 million.
Today, Frank Sinatra’s house in Twin Palms is open to the public and is available as a luxury vacation rental. Managed by Natural Retreats, the Frank Sinatra house is available for corporate events, commercial use, weddings, private events, and even luxury vacations. Most of its midcentury modern style is intact, but it is updated with the latest technology.
Visitors can also take a look at all the Sinatra memorabilia and the original recording system that the crooner used to record his iconic hits.
Frank Sinatra’s Other Homes
After purchasing Twin Palms, Frank Sinatra would look to other properties. Sinatra bought another house in the Palm Springs area, on Wonder Palms Road. The award-winning singer wanted more space from the glitz and glamour where his Twin Palms residence is located. The residence is known as “The House I Live In,” after Sinatra’s 1945 short film.
“Having secured privacy with a fence between his house and the golf course, he added a pair of two-bedroom cottages, one off either end of the pool. Each bedroom had its own separate his-and-her baths,” according to David McClintick of Architectural Digest in 1998.
During Sinatra’s Rat Pack years, he also rented a house in the Los Angeles area in the 1950s. Known as Byrdview, Sinatra rented the place for nearly 10 years. Sinatra rented the house from Chase Bank heiress Dora Hutchinson.
Byrdview didn’t just have Sinatra as one of its occupants, The Chairman of the Board sublet the estate’s guesthouse to Marilyn Monroe. The swimming pool of this house was allegedly where one of her final photoshoots took place before her untimely death. Byrdview was also allegedly where Monroe and President John F. Kennedy had their infamous affair.
In 1967, Sinatra commissioned architect Ross Patton to build a chalet-style home. It’s named Villa Maggio, after his Oscar-winning character Angelo Maggio in From Here to Eternity. The 7.5-acre property is located in a suburb of Palm Desert and has a swimming pool, helipad, tennis court, a three-bedroom guesthouse, and a one-bedroom pool house.
Sinatra also had two residences in New York, an apartment in the Upper East Side and a penthouse at the Waldorf Astoria. He would reside in his penthouse in his later years.