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1958-early 1960s: Swiss Miss Houses

Architects Experiment With the A-Frame Form


A-frame "Swiss Miss" houses combine the charm of a Swiss chalet with the tropical flavor of a Polynesian hut.
Swiss Miss House in Palm Springs, California

Swiss Miss style house, Palm Springs, California

Photo: Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism
Swiss Miss is an informal name given to a variation of the A-Frame house style. Created by draftsman Charles Dubois, a Swiss Miss house resembles a Swiss chalet with tropical, Tiki details.

The Alexander Construction company built fifteen Swiss Miss houses in Palm Springs, California. Other firms built similar homes elsewhere in the United States, but Swiss Miss remained a rare, novelty style, mainly associated with Palm Springs.

Features of the Swiss Miss house style:

  • An enormous central gable dominates the front facade
  • The gable eaves often (but not always) extend almost to the ground
  • Narrow rectangular posts may be used to support the gable
  • In some homes, an overlapping second gable may rise above the central gable
  • An open living area is placed beneath the central gable
  • Roofs over adjacent rooms may be flat
  • Post-and-beam construction
  • Wooden tongue-in-groove or board-and-batten exterior
  • Stone walls by the main entrance
  • Stone chimney
  • Enormous windows
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