Discover Holiday House and Sparrows Lodge

Meet the Owners of Holiday House and Sparrows Lodge

Posted By: Monday, February 18, 2019

By Kevin Perry

Palm Springs is built on reverence and revelry. The glamour of a golden age shimmers across decades and reverberates into a stylish celebration rooted firmly in the here and now.

Holiday House and Sparrows Lodge stand as towering examples of our hometown’s regal past, as well as its resplendent future.

“I think that’s what really attracted us to Palm Springs,” recounts owner Richard Crisman. “It’s not only its beauty in and of itself, with the mountains and the desert, but the community that’s here. It’s a very nurturing community.”  His partner Jeff Brock concurs. “The people that come and visit and live here are so diverse that it’s really such a melting pot of people. And the place itself is diverse. That’s what’s exciting and fun.”

Sparrows Lodge
Credit: Sparrows Lodge

 

Richard and Jeff characterize the aesthetics of Palm Springs as a beloved neighbor, discussing the city’s charm as if it’s a personality to be exalted and respected. “Midcentury is what we seem to be known for the most, but there are lots of other influences. There’s Spanish architecture and there’s this ranch architecture that we have, so there’s definitely a mix. Midcentury is kind of the hero of it.”

Breaking it down more granularly, Richard assesses, “I think Holiday House is obviously part of that aesthetic, midcentury. It was built in 1951 and it’s a Herbert Burns building, so it definitely has that vibe. Then on the other side of the scale, you have Sparrows, which is much more of a ranch feeling. It was also built in 1951. We have only enhanced what was there originally.”

Holiday House
Credit: Zeke Ruelas

 

Eschewing the spotlight, Jeff credits his friends Doug and Josie Smith with the successful renovation of Sparrows Lodge. “Sparrows was really created by Doug and Josie, we just try to do what we think they would appreciate.” One major component of Sparrow’s signature vibe: serenity. “It’s a small property and TVs would be somewhat disruptive. You would see that blue electric light as you walked around the property at night, and we just didn’t want to have that electronic color visible.”

Sparrows Lodge
Credit: Sparrows Lodge

 

So, Jeff and Richard made an executive decision. “Neither one of our hotels have TVs, so the art takes the place of that in a way. It surrounds you.” The walls of both resorts are festooned with an array of paintings and prints, immersing guests in a parallel yet elevated consciousness. “Just being surrounded by art is such a cool thing. Sometimes you may not realize that it’s around you, and then other times you’re standing there staring at something, because you enjoy it and it does something to you. We love the idea of exposing our guests to new and different art.”

Sparrows Lodge has been under the loving care of Richard and Jeff since 2014, and then their family expanded unexpectedly in 2017. “We were not looking for another project,” admits Jeff. “However, when our real estate agent Scott Timberlake called and said, ‘you must come see this right away,’ we did. We loved it and knew we could give it the love it deserved and needed.”

Holiday House
Credit: Holiday House

 

Picking up the baton, Richard continues, “We called our good friend Mark Sikes in LA to help us in the renovation. Mark brought classic colors with a fresh feel. It was a very collaborative effort with Mark, our partners David Dittmer and Britt Shuford (previous owners of Colony Palms and current owners of Sands), Jim Cioffi the architect and Bennett Putterbaugh for landscape. We wanted to give it a fresh feel and yet be respectful of the history; part of that was bringing back the original name, Holiday House. We reviewed lots of old photographs of the property and original brochures to understand the original owners vision for their guests.”

That vision becomes reality when a guest first steps foot across the properties’ lavish-meets-rustic threshold. “The lobby at Sparrows – it’s really a barn – it’s where you check in, you’re given a welcome sangria, and there are places to sit and hang out and you can be social and meet with other guests or you can hang in your room or a private space.”

Holiday House
Credit: Holiday House

Richard relies on his trusted staff to extend his haute hospitality to the clientele. “The people who run our hotels are incredible,” he beams. “Jackie, our GM at Sparrows, has been in Palm Springs most of her life. Tara, who’s at Holiday House, has not. So we all have different perspectives.” Jeff echoes these sentiments, adding, “We have an incredible team and none of this would happen without them.”

Their confidence in the squad’s skills frees up more time for altruistic endeavors. “We are supporters of the local community,” explains Richard, “from being founding members in Desert X and the Architectural and Design Museum, to supporting DAP (Desert AIDS Project), The PS Animal Shelter, The Center and Sanctuary among other organizations.”

Extrapolating to the town at large, Jeff bolsters, “We believe in Palm Springs having a bright future, continuing to be diverse while being a hub for modernism and a growing creative and artistic community.  We love seeing the influx of many younger, creative types who have discovered how unique and special Palm Springs is.”

Holiday House
Credit: Zeke Ruelas

 

“As a gay couple of 29 years, it’s a very comfortable place to live,” offers Richard. “There are lots of people, gay straight and otherwise, that we have as friends. And that’s what we wanted: a very diverse group of friends. We really love it. It’s a great place, there’s incredible culture, and that’s getting better and better and better.”

Summoning all the majesty of their surroundings, Jeff concludes, “It is so unique. From the geography of this magical place to the mid-century architecture, from the wonder of the desert to jumping in a pool on a warm day, it is so very special and the people that call it home are proud to live here.”

Holiday House | 200 West Arenas | 760.320.8866

Sparrows Lodge | 1330 East Palm Canyon | 760.327.2300

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