Sunnylands, a 200-acre estate in Rancho Mirage, California, was the winter home of Ambassador Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Here the couple hosted U.S. presidents, other national and international political leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as well as legendary figures from the worlds of entertainment, business, philanthropy, and education.
The Historic Estate
Sunnylands, designed by A. Quincy Jones, a pioneer of midcentury modern architecture, was completed in 1966. The 25,000-square-foot house, with interiors by William Haines and Ted Graber, is surrounded by magnificently landscaped grounds that feature 11 stocked fishing lakes and a private nine-hole golf course designed by the legendary Dick Wilson.
In March 1990, the city of Rancho Mirage declared Sunnylands a historic site in recognition of an official dinner hosted at the estate by President George H.W. Bush in honor of Japan's Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu.
Sunnylands Center and Gardens
The new Sunnylands Center was designed by Frederick Fisher and Partners. The architects incorporated sustainable elements into the project, achieving for it a LEED gold rating. The Center’s interior furnishings are by Michael Smith, known for designing the private quarters of the Obama White House.
Created by the Office of James Burnett, based in San Diego County, the nine-acre gardens feature more than 50,000 low-water-use plants. The selection of plants was made to provide a year-round garden experience and massed to evoke brush strokes on a canvas, reminiscent of the Annenbergs’ collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. There are walking paths, a labyrinth, green lawn, and a natural wildflower area .
The Sunnylands Center utilizes a solar field for electrical power generation while the landscape, maintained by advanced irrigation technology, will consume no more than 20 percent of the water permitted under Coachella Valley Water District regulations.