Herbert W Burns, Architectural Designer & Builder


Described by architectural historian and author Steven Keylon, as one of Burns’ “more lavish homes.” Having been partially demolished and sitting neglected for many years, this 1948 home of Dr and Mrs Gillman is being restored for Modernism Week 2020.


Inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier in the style of Late Moderne, a precursor to what would later be termed “Modernism”, Mr Burns grounded the design of this home squarely in that vernacular: horizontal lines with flat roofs, cantilevered overhangs, vertical pylons, screens, grids and planters.



The Gillman house was designed to take advantage of the natural beauty of the desert as well as the appealing climate. Burns captured the indoor-outdoor lifestyle by seamlessly running his trademark Santa Fe block from the outside all the way through to the inside of the home. He also added easy accessibility to the outside with wide horizontal overhangs for shade and sun protection. To further blend into the Palm Springs environment he used natural materials such as wood and Arizona sandstone.


Located in Little Tuscany, this 4700+ square foot house sits on a generous 1/2 acre lot with a main house that encompasses 3 bedrooms and 3.5 baths and a 2 bedroom, 1 bath guest house. In addition to his residential commissions in Palm Springs, you can see Burns’ trademark work in several apartment hotels including the Hideaway (originally the Town & Desert), Holiday House, and the Orbit Inn to name a few.


Join us as we and our Modernism Week sponsor partners, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery, Jenn Air, Brizo, Dunn Edwards Paints, Corian Design, FLOR and California Closets, pay homage to the incomparable Herbert Burns.