Photo Credit: Jim Riche

No longer “the other desert city,” Rancho Mirage has blossomed into a coveted, architecturally significant neighborhood favored by celebrities, politicians and modernist enthusiasts alike.

Thanks in part to the creation of the now legendary Thunderbird and Tamarisk Country Clubs in the 1950s, what was once a barren expanse of scattered ranches and pre-war homes in the desert east of Palm Springs is now one of California’s toniest neighborhoods. It was here, in Rancho Mirage, where the trend of building luxury homes on fairways was born, inspiring the rich and famous to embrace a new style of desert living. The clubs became an "oasis of influence," with the who’s who of Hollywood—including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz—flocking to the desert mecca, commissioning architects such as Paul R. Williams, E. Stewart Williams and Donald Wexler to build them modernist masterpieces of their own.

Mod Mirage - The Midcentury Architecture of Rancho Mirage is a thoroughly researched account of some of the neighborhood’s most important midcentury homes and communities by two of its own, writer Melissa Riche and her photographer husband Jim Riche. Among the storied residences and enclaves featured in the book is the esteemed Da Vaal Estates, often referred to as “the Desert-X of midcentury resorts,” and the personal residence of The Agency’s Jeff Kohl. It is the first publication to focus on the impressive architectural legacy of Rancho Mirage.

Today, homes at these clubs and in the communities that surround them are coveted for their privacy, style and prestige. The city even bears the nickname “Playground of Presidents," most recently reinforced by President Obama’s regular visits to Sunnylands and the home of friends Michael S. Smith and Ambassador James Costos in Thunderbird Heights.

The Agency currently represents an exceptional assortment of homes in Rancho Mirage, from sleek contemporaries to classic golf course estates. Here's a look at three properties available in the tony desert enclave.

18 JILL TERRACE: Located in the distinguished, guard-gated community of La Residence, 18 Jill Terrace is a beautifully reimagined and fully updated custom desert contemporary represented by Gregg Fletcher and Richard Bartholomew. Situated on nearly an acre, the sophisticated estate features four bedrooms, five baths, an open-concept living room with fireplace and chef’s kitchen. Sliding walls of glass lead to an outdoor loggia and patios overlooking a pool and spa surrounded by majestic mountain vistas.

14 STEPHEN TERRACE: Also represented by Gregg Fletcher and located in La Residence, 14 Stephen Terrace offers a contemporary take on classic modernist architecture. Showcasing stunning mountain vistas, a bold pivot door opens to soaring, light-filled living spaces masterfully designed for entertaining. Fleetwood sliding walls of glass foster an effortless indoor-outdoor flow to entertainer’s patios and the pool, while a private casita with a secluded patio serves as the perfect retreat for family and friends.

8 WHITEHALL COURT: Nestled within the prestigious Morningside Country Club, 8 Whitehall Court, represented by Loran Arvizu, is an expanded Shaughnessy model home showcasing over 5,000 square feet of living space. The home’s private courtyard leads to a vast living area with a large saltwater aquarium, soaring, wood-beamed ceilings and skylights that bathe the living area in natural light. The master suite boasts dual baths with skylights and walk-in closets, a fireplace and sliding glass doors to the pool and spa, complete with expansive views of the greenbelt, fountains and the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountain landscapes.

For further information about book events and signings, go to the author’s website or visit the publisher’s website. Mod Mirage is available wherever books are sold, including Amazon