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Showcase: Palm Springs Mid-Century Remodel

POSTED BY Audrey McGill COMMENTS

360modern is a community of modernists including architects, Modern furniture and art experts, non-profits, state historical organizations, county historical groups, and contractors. Today, we’re showcasing the people and businesses that make up the Palm Springs Modern community.

Please Introduce Yourself!

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Hello! I’m Wendy; my husband Mike and I are Canadians who have owned a vacation home in Palm Springs since 2009. We have become passionate mid-century modern enthusiasts since we “discovered” Palm Springs during a family vacation in 2007. We had no idea what we were missing!! We love the desert modernism’s clean lines which are in sharp contrast to home design as we previously knew it.

How did you find your home in Palm Springs?

We originally purchased a Canyon Estates property in the Indian Canyons Neighborhood of South Palm Springs. This was a development by Roy Fey designed by architect Charles E. Debois. This property had architectural significance and our love for Mid-Century design took root.

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In 2013 we were hungry for a project and began a search for a new Mid-Century Modern home. We specifically wanted our home to be situated in the Indian Canyons Neighborhood preferably on the Indian Canyons Golf Resort North Course. We love this Neighborhood as it features unique mid-century modern homes many of which were designed by architects Palmer, Krisel and Sackley. There are stunning views of the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains everywhere you look. A fun fact is that the North Course was frequented by Hollywood celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope and a few of the homes were owned by Walt Disney. After several rejections of offers we made on different homes in the Neighborhood, homes which had Mid-Century design appeal, we were finally successful on a home built in 1964, which did not appear to have any of the Mid-Century design elements which we loved! If there were any of these elements in the home they were lost from redesigns in the 70’s and ’80’s. However, we were confident that we could incorporate many of the Mid-Century Modern design elements which we had discovered during our search into our new home. We had our work cut out for us.

What are your favorite Mid-Century design aspects of your home?

We love the flat planes of our home as well as the extensive glass which brings the outside in and which also allows several access points to the outdoors. We opened the home’s interior space as well so that the spectacular mountain views may be enjoyed from several vantage points. All of these aspects of the home represent what we love most about Mid-Century design; straight simple lines, an abundance of glass and an open design concept. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my personal favorite; a Sputnik!!

What influenced your interior design choices?

We sought out recommendations for a designer that we could collaborate with to bring our home back to life! Christopher Kennedy from Christopher Kennedy Design located in Palm Springs was the designer whose name was referred to us. Our request of Christopher was “we are looking for a designer who can bring a light, fresh quality to the interior space of our home and provide it with a current day Mid-Century Modern feel”. Christopher’s response to that request was “I am confident that we can put together a fresh, modern, yet-just-nostalgic-enough look for you”. I believe that our mission was accomplished!! Bringing light into the house influenced all of the design decisions that were made for both the interior and exterior of the home.

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What exterior/interior design projects have you completed? Did you use any local Palm Springs businesses for materials or for the renovations?

Wendy's home before the exterior renovations.

Exterior: Before

Exterior Remodel: After

Exterior: After

Our home was remodeled extensively inside and out. The starting point of this process was to answer the question “how can we improve sight lines from both the front and the back of the home to the mountains”. This began with removing overgrown plantings which surrounded our new home. Moving inside we opened up hallways, re-positioned doorways, removed interior walls and uncovered a block wall behind a wall of glass. We also created an interior Casita for guests from a previous poorly planned addition to the home. New paint and flooring was installed throughout. New light fixtures, cabinetry and hardware which reflected Mid-Century Modern design elements were also installed. One of our favorite design elements was to incorporate a Mid-Century Design divider panel into one of the foyer walls which allows for a “hint of a view” upon entering our home through the dining room right through to the pool and mountains beyond.
The clean lines of the home had been lost in curved stucco build outs more reminiscent of a Spanish design. The stucco was “planed” to achieve a straight flat parapet line and straight lines around the entrance to the home. A curved drive-way in front was removed to allow for the building of a courtyard incorporating Mid-Century Modern breeze block elements to allow us to take advantage of the San Jacinto Mountain vistas. Our front gates and patio support columns were custom manufactured to parallel the breeze block design pattern. In the backyard the pool and decking were re-done and a spa was added which flows into the pool. We also created a breezeblock bar in the area close to a circular pad we designed to enjoy our Modfire fire pit. Finally, simple desert planting was done throughout the yard.

The majority of the building materials for the design projects were sourced from Palm Springs suppliers; specifically Better Built Inc and Modern Home Design. Rejuvenation Hardware and Practical Props in Los Angeles were wonderful sources for Mid-Century Modern light fixtures. Just Modern is an incredible store for Mid-Century Modern finishing touches and is located in the design district of downtown Palm Springs. Our contractor Karl F. Suess Construction also resided in Palm Springs.

What do you love the most about living in a Mid-Century Modern Home?

We live in an area of Canada where much of the year is spent indoors due to a cold climate. What we
love most about our Mid-Century Modern home is the extensive use of glass which allows a seamless transition from the outside in or in essence an invitation to enjoy the beautiful and natural surroundings of Palm Springs. Our ability to accept this invitation has brought immeasurable joy to our lives and has allowed us a sense of freedom apart from the harsh realities of the Canadian Winters. We derive an incredible feeling of accomplishment knowing that we helped our home be “back home” in the Indian Canyons Neighborhood of Palm Spring distinguished by its Mid-Century Modern architecture.

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*Interested in telling the story of your Modern lifestyle? Shoot us a line at tips@360modern.com.

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