Palm Springs 2018

If you are into Mid-Century Architecture and you want to immerse yourself in it like a kid in a candy store, then get in a car or on a plane and head to Palm Springs. Be prepared however for sensory overload – there is so much mid-century – it is mind-blowing. Dare we say it – it is at times overwhelming.

This trip was our second visit, we came in 2014 for our 10th wedding anniversary, and it was not during Modernism Week. This year we were there for Modernism Week as guest speakers. It was busy, and by the time we got organized all the tickets to ‘draw-card’ events [home tours + cocktail parties + design talks] were sold out [at least for the days we were in town]. Not to fear, just driving around aimlessly and exploring, stopping to take in exteriors and garden is entertainment enough. There are so many good: roof lines; breeze block walls; entryways; desert gardens; sculpture; house numbers; mailboxes; and cars, plenty of eye candy to keep you on the move. Inspiration galore.

Not one for crowds – we found it a little suffocating at times as we joined a tour of the Twin Palms Estate. Being purists – we were attracted especially to the homes with largely original features and furniture. We still appreciated, and enjoyed ever so much the renovations that provided a modern interpretation of mid-century-modern. There are times we wish we had ‘new appliances’ at the Frost House, but there is no way we will ever change them.

Anyway, just wanted to share some of the eye candy we captured as we drove around, we were too busy admiring to capture them all. Admire the view.

Morse House – Palm Springs

We first met Joan & Gary Gand through Chicago Bauhaus and Beyond in 2017 when their non-profit organization, which celebrates and promotes 20th century modern architecture and design, did a tour of The Frost House. When we headed out to Palm Springs for Modernism Week they kindly invited us over to their home – the Morse House [1961].

The original home owners where Teddy & Claire Morse. Teddy had selected a ranch model in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs. This area is know for it’s Alexander Homes, and the house model originally chosen is suspected to be a design by William Krisel. Claire Morse, a fan of Harold “Hal” Levitt designs [a modernist architect for Hollywood elite] wanted something fancier than the standard.  So they hired a builder to intervene and add the ‘Levitt’ design effect to the partially finished home.

The previous day to our visit, we had aimlessly being stalking homes, randomly driving up and down streets, we stopped outside one particular home and said to ourselves “OMG – now that house I want to peek inside”. It really stands out from the crowd. Fast forward to the next day, Joan texts their address, we slap it into WAZE and head on over. When we turn the corner, and WAZE announces you have arrived – OH BOY! had we arrived – right to the very house we wanted to peek at. As it stood right before us – we squealed – EEEEeeek! We couldn’t get out of the car fast enough, both rushing to the doorbell, dying for the door to open. WOWZA – what a house.

Nominated by the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation as a Class 1 Historic Site, and it deserves to be, and needs to be on the list – totally AMAZING. The minute you enter – you feel like you are apart of a glamorous MCM moment – walking right into a ‘set’ – it is so mid-century perfect. We gushed over every room – every view – every detail. We are still gushing thinking about it. This home wraps up into one perfect parcel – everything quintessential about Palm Springs Mid Century Modern. The Architecture coupled with the Gand’s impeccable taste in art and collectibles makes this house feel that way. Now – how do we get ourselves invited to the next cocktail party.

Look at that garden. We could be happy here living outside in the pool on a float, where we can admire the garden and be mezmerised by the kinetic sculptures as they dance in the wind. Those windows you see, they are giant sliding doors that open the house up to: the swim-up bar; and the sunken living room.

Back inside – who doesn’t love a Malm fireplace in their master bedroom? A dreamy house – every room is fabulous – see we are still gushing. For sure this is our Palm Spring MCM fave. Thanks for the invite Joan & Gary, and thanks for putting up with our ‘teenage fan club’ behavior. You can read more about the house here and here.

And one last note, that is equally impressive – the living room / pool is the subject of this SHAG piece of art called “The Impostors” you can purchase it here. Gary Gand is sporting a hat on an eames lounger, whilst Joan Gand is looking glam sipping a cocktail – seated on the stairs. Can you see why we want to go to party here – this piece captures the feel of the home perfectly. Cheers!

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