Poggenpohl, the oldest and best-known luxury kitchen brand in the world, which has been at the forefront of kitchen cabinetry design for over 123 years is now proudly featured in the historic President and Mrs. Gerald Ford Estate located in Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. The 6,900 square foot home, a showcase for mid-century American architecture and design was purchased in 2012 by Bill Damaschke, an independent Film/Theater Producer along with John McIlwee, a prominent Entertainment Business Manager. Its highly celebrated renovation now features a Poggenpohl Segmento kitchen. Marmol Radziner Architects and Darren Brown Interior Design led the interior and exterior project of the historic estate.
“Having the opportunity to play a role in this historical restoration has been a thrilling experience for Poggenpohl,” states Mark Donnell, Designer and Showroom Manager of Poggenpohl Los Angeles. “Darren Brown was very careful to keep the spirit of the original house intact while updating it with new colors and fixtures.”
“One of the challenges was to take a space that was functional, but dated and closed in,” Donnell continued. Darren Brown Interior Design expanded the kitchen into an adjacent room. They were able bring the windows down to the countertop to give an appearance of the kitchen continuing into the outside space. The cooking appliances were placed on and under the countertop to provide a long open workspace and minimize tall cabinets.
When the Fords owned the estate the kitchen was an eclectic space, but it needed to be updated with modern fixtures and appliances ensuring a large enough space remained to congregate and meet. The new owners kept the unique feel using elements from when the Fords lived there, like the reception mirror where guests would primp prior to meeting with dignitaries. Poggenpohl’s handle-less Segmento system created a clutter-free kitchen with plenty of storage while keeping the entertaining area intact. A quartz teak décor finish was selected with high gloss lacquer tall cabinets. This combination offered a sense of elegance that went well with the desert landscape.
In 2012, Bill Damaschke, who was at the time Chief Creative Officer of DreamWorks Animation and President of DreamWorks Theatricals along with John McIlwee, a prominent Entertainment Business Manager, purchased The Ford Estate in a highly publicized sale. The sale included the property as well as historic contents from the former First Lady’s estate. The glorious home currently plays host to many culturally significant events for the Palm Springs Film Festival, Palm Springs Art Museum and the Hammer Museum.