Long gone are the late nights of rockstar carousing detailed in Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum’s 2022 memoir, Double Talkin’ Jive. During the pandemic, the Grammy-winning drummer and his wife Ace Harper, fashion designer of an eponymous brand and a former professional dancer for Duran Duran, Britney Spears, and Lenny Kravitz. left LA to build a home for their family in Palm Springs. “We’ve always called it our happy place,” Harper says of the location. “Palm Springs was originally invented for stars to come from Hollywood to play tennis, golf, and chill out, you know?” Sorum adds. “So that’s what we’re doing.”
Sorum and Harper were married at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs back in 2013—a surprising pick for both parties. Harper had never been to the establishment, which the Guns N’ Roses star had discovered on a songwriting trip, before visiting it as a prospective wedding venue. In the years since, the couple found themselves frequently returning to the luxury estate to celebrate special events, birthdays, and anniversaries.
Once, while renting bikes from the Colony Palms, they stumbled upon Vistas Las Palmas, an enclave of midcentury-modern architecture, untouched by contemporary design trends. “We ventured into this neighborhood, and it just takes you back to this moment in time, the ’60s, where everything was just beautiful,” Harper says. “We manifested living here. We’re so grateful. It brings us so much calm.” In 2020, they found a home built in 1961 by architect Charles Du Bois (who designed nearly 330 homes in the Vistas Las Palmas neighborhood) and took the plunge, calling on designer Ryan Saghian to help. After about a year of renovations—including pandemic delays and six months of landscaping—the house was completed in mid-December 2021, just in time to celebrate the first Christmas for their baby daughter, Lou Ellington Sorum.
Their ambition for the home was to stay true to the vintage beauty of the setting while letting their personal tastes as creatives help inform their surroundings. “I kept returning to the word artistic,” Harper says of their vision for the house, which they have lovingly dubbed “La Maison de Lou,” after their child. “I wanted our home to be bold and daring, to stay true to the midcentury [style] somewhat, and to have it feel peaceful and serene. That’s why a lot of the colors are light and airy, like the white oak in the kitchen. The Taj Mahal leathered stone [countertop] mimics the movement of the desert.”
“Ace and Matt are very eclectic,” Saghian says. The designer worked on the home and also helped the couple renovate their 1920s Spanish style six-bedroom and four-bathroom Los Angeles house, which was sold last year. They are “very high style, very rockstar glam.” Their City of Angels home was all “velvet drapes puddling on the floor; a lot of darkness in a very Chateau Marmont, sumptuous way,” he says. This abode was a fresh start: “earthy, organic elements that softened their quintessential midcentury-modern Palm Springs home,” but still with the couple’s edge, Saghian says.
To avoid the “lime green, bright orange, yellow, Palm Springs 101, on-the-nose thing,” as Sorum describes the cliché design features that can sometimes be found in the city, the couple focused on more subtle features, like the original Wausau Tile that blankets each room of the house. This detail makes the property feel more expansive, and also keeps it cool in the heat of summer. They kept the low-slung lines of their classic Palm Springs home and hired PSI Construction to open the kitchen and the side of the house, installing a larger slider to promote a relaxing indoor-outdoor feel. Certainly, it’s a versatile new home base.
“As a musician, it was hard for me to leave [LA],” Sorum says. “I always felt like it was, ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ I was fearful of it. . . but we became permanent residents of Palm Springs; and it’s spectacular.”