We did it. We finally visited Palm Springs –California’s desert modernist mecca…and for Modernism Week, no less. Big thanks to our fabulous friends, Karen and John @DestinationEichler for inviting us, organizing the trip, and driving us down. This was the kind of view we expected…
We got it, but we had to wait a while. Our journey coincided with one of SoCal’s worst storms for years. At points, the travel weather was laughably bad, and what was already a long drive became a very long drive –still, we enjoyed some impressive (albeit gloomy) roadside scenery.
Before reaching Palm Springs, we stopped by Post-War Modern, in Redlands –an Instagram fave we just had to check out. The store was predictably packed with vintage treasures –lots we loved, including a couple of sweet chairs, but not really practical to take back.
Thankfully, the rain eased-off when we reached Palm Springs. And though it was cloudy for much of our stay, we’ll take it. Main downside was a shortage of blue-sky photo-ops, and little chance to enjoy the pool in our dream vacation home –probably a good thing, or we may not have left the house. Recognize these striking yellow double-doors?
We posted this home when it was for sale –expertly restored by our good friend, Blaine, who just gets it. You might also recall Blaine’s dreamy Eichler, which blew the ceiling off Concord’s market. Anyway, this place is flawless. The decor style is right up our street –minimal but playful, and all the details are spot-on. If you want to see in-person, you can stay there.
But we were really here to see Palm Springs –to get a feel for this magical place, the homes, and the ‘hoods –among them, Racquet Club Estates, featuring around 550 homes, mostly Alexander-built/Krisel designs. We took an organized tour, then returned the next day, for a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood.
We snapped plenty of pics, warranting a dedicated future post. In the meantime, enjoy these two classic butterfly-roof models. Interesting how landscaping, paint (and sky) colors, and minor alterations completely change the feel of identical models, much like in Eichler ‘hoods.
We took a short departure (in multiple ways) to the Christopher Kennedy Compound show house –a massive home, with rooms assigned to renowned designers, all competing for attention. The result (in our opinion) was an overload of color, pattern and texture. While we liked some of the details/materials, it just wasn’t our thing. This grill was cool though. And the banana mural.
We toured several other homes, scattered across Palm Springs –a great way to see a range of neighborhoods, and variations within the modern aesthetic. Here’s one of our favorites, in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood. Actually a new-build, but so well executed.
We also loved this 1964 stunner, in the Indian Canyons neighborhood. Check out that spider-leg beam entry –so good. We must have taken twenty pics of that alone. And despite imperfect weather, the palm tree. mountain, and sky combo makes the perfect backdrop.
We also managed to catch “On the Road” –a talk (at Ace Hotel) on the making of Sam Lubell’s Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide, featuring Darren Bradley’s superb architectural photography. They recounted tales of traveling the country, in all weather, to reach seemingly unreachable vantage points. Fascinating stuff. We bought a copy of the book, naturally.
And no Palm Springs visit is complete without seeing the Kaufmann House, Richard Neutra’s 1946 modernist masterpiece. We took a short morning diversion, and managed to get there ahead of the tour bus (it arrived just as we were setting off) enabling us to snag a few tourist-free pics. Shame it was cloudy.
Our visit was brief, and we barely scratched the surface of Palm Springs –still, we had a lot of fun, and even managed a meetup with Instagram friends. We’ll post more of Palm Springs here soon. In the meantime, see more on Instagram. Unsurprisingly, we’re already planning our return –we welcome your input on neighborhoods, ‘can’t miss’ homes, and anything else we should see.