Which way should your home face in Palm Springs? Most of the mid-century neighborhoods in Palm Springs, have overhead utility wires and telephone poles – it's a fact of life, unfortunately. We at the Paul Kaplan Group, often joke with clients that the overhead wires are part of the mid-century character of a neighborhood, since they never had underground utility lines in the '50s and '60s when these homes were built! If you like mid-century homes, you'll have to like mid-century technology too. Some neighborhoods, such as Deepwell, had worked with the City of Palm Springs to bury the overhead wires. However, after the recession economy and budget cuts, that project was put on hold – so in the meantime, we just have to live with the wires!
In Palm Springs, the direction your house is oriented does make a difference regarding views, so I wanted to share what I've learned and experienced over the years regarding views and house orientation. Living in the desert full time, orientation becomes even more important with respect to your comfort level of living in your home and enjoying your backyard. Every orientation has an advantage and disadvantage.
If your house is on the west side of a north-south street, you do have a direct mountain view typically for your backyard. However, most likely you'll be looking at the view thru the power lines. If you're on the east side, the front of the house has an amazing view and from the back yard tanning deck, you're looking at the view without the wires in the way. Typically when your back yard faces east, you don't really see the wires from the house when looking in the back yard, because you really don't look up, your view is in the opposite direction.
With mid-century homes, typically there are clerestory windows that would capture the west facing view dramatically – it almost looks like framed art. Another option is that some west facing front yard owners have created courtyards in the front of the house to take advantage of the view and sunsets.
From personal experience, a west facing view in the spring and summer is not so great...the afternoon sun is so intense, you rarely ever get a chance to actually LOOK at the view because the sun is always in your eyes. Additionally, with the heat, your pool will cook and it will be uncomfortable to lay out in the back yard. If your back yard does face west, you may want to build a large overhang to block the sun and provide shade – but by doing that, you lose the view anyway from the house because it will be blocked.
If you're in the Racquet Club neighborhood, if your back yard faces west, you'll get more wind during the windy season. With it facing east, the house will block some of that wind and make it a little more tolerable. What many people have done with an east facing back yard is build a courtyard in the front yard and open the bedrooms to that. There's typically a huge set back from the street, so there's plenty of room.
South facing back yards are ideal because you'll get sun on your pool all day long. In the summer the sun is high in the sky and won't beat into your windows; in the winter, the sun is lower and will heat up your house nicely – however, you'll most likely still have wires in your view! Typically the mountain view will be sideways.
North facing back yards get the least amount of sun in the house from this direction, but the light is most consistent throughout the year. Again, you'll have wires at the back of the house typically, but your views will be to the west and usually unobstructed. North-facing back yards have the most consistent interior light in the house, throughout the year.
Like any house, there are always pros and cons regarding the orientation – these are just a few additional items to consider when buying a mid-century home in Palm Springs. When you're searching for a house with the Paul Kaplan Group, as your agent, we'll be happy to point out all the advantages and disadvantages of the properties that you are considering to help with your decision process!