The former first family is staying at the Rancho Mirage home of White House decorator Michael S. Smith
Credit: Roger Davies; Inset: Theo Wargo/WireImage

After handing over the keys to the White House to President Trump on Friday, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama retreated to this stunning 11,000-square-foot stucco home in the Palm Springs area of Southern California for a little time off.

Built in the early 1970s by architect Howard Lapham, the home (nicknamed Icha Mayapan, or “exclusive estate”) is a standout example of Mayan Revival design, a popular midcentury style influenced by several Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes from the 1920s, including the Hollyhock and Ennis houses in Los Angeles. Its current owners, James Costos, ambassador to Spain and Angora under President Obama, and L.A.-based designer Michael S. Smith, who also redecorated the White House while the Obamas lived there, restored the home several years ago. It was featured in Architectural Digest in 2015.

Credit: Roger Davies

As the highest elevation home in Rancho Mirage, the building—and the keystone-shaped pool—offer panoramic views of the entire valley. The home also overlooks Sunnylands, the former estate of Leonore and Walter Annenberg that’s hosted several past presidents, including Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.

With a year-round temperate climate, pristine golf courses, and sweeping vistas of Southern California’s San Jacinto mountains, it’s easy to see why the Coachella Valley, which includes the cities of Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, has lured so many presidents to visit when they leave office, including President Gerald Ford who lived in Rancho Mirage from 1977 until his death in 2006.

The Obamas have visited the Palm Springs area several times over the past few years, fueling speculation that they will eventually purchase a home here. For now, though, they plan to remain in Washington, at least until their youngest daughter, Sasha, finishes high school. (See photos of the Washington home where they will live here.)

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