Palm Springs Modernism

By Kate Riley February 26, 2020

Earlier this month, I spent 48 hours in Palm Springs. I was there for two reasons, first, I was craving a quick getaway to somewhere sunny to escape winter. Also because I’ve always wanted to drive around and look at the architecture that Palm Springs is famous for and I finally had a chance to do it! Palm Springs is major mid century eye candy. Its neighborhood homes possess cool roof lines, breeze block walls, desert landscaping, mod house numbers, and painted doors. I also stopped by a few of the iconic hotels to check out their own unique vibe.

My cousin Danny is an architect and he lives 90 minutes away so he met up with me and off we went to check out the architecture scene. First stop, the Parker, it has a famous tall breeze wall entry and a bohemian interior lobby.

 

 

 

Next, a walk around the Saguaro Hotel, a visual feast! This one is known for its rainbow colored exteriors, metal installations, and quirky cool lobby.

 

Finally we popped into the tiny Korakia mediterranean pensione, recommended by a friend, it had a more laid back bohemian vibe. I couldn’t resist a brief swing in the macramé hammock.

 

Modernism Week just ended, it’s an annual event hosted in Palm Springs celebrating all things mid century modern and hoards of architecture loving people come to live it up with swanky style. There are several famous homes that are open to the public for a fee. I was granted a press pass, which was kind of the committee, but instead opted out of Modernism Week and flew in a week early to avoid the crowds and higher hotel prices.

Based on the drawn out schedule of events, there was no way I could see them all in a 48 hour window, so I did some research and was delighted to find many of the iconic homes on the tours have been featured online. I rounded up the virtual tours I found, click on the name of these homes for more of their history and a look inside.

The Guggenheim House, built in 1967

 

the recently restored Wave House, built in 1955

 

 

The Morse House, built in 1961

 

the recently restored Cree House, designed in 1955

and this contemporary home, the Axiom House, designed for a “Palm Springs lifestyle”

And of course if you’re like me and just like to drive around cool neighborhoods looking at architecture, then you’ll enjoy the Palm Springs door tour. I snapped a few photos and I’ll be making an illustrated art collection to release in my new art shop soon.

They have locals that offer these tours and there are bloggers before me who have drawn up maps so you can drive or ride around to see these. Kara at Whimsy Soul drew a map for a self guided tour, and Andrea at Salty Canary shared another fun map of the famous Palm Springs doors.

So, those of you who have visited Palm Springs, tell me what did I miss? Give me a reason to return.

11 comments

  1. I have been planning a long weekend in Palm springs for our 35th anniversary. I am a sucker for anything mid century!

  2. YES!!! My favorite blog lists my 2 favorite places in PS!!! I live in Phoenix, and can’t wait to head over to stay again at the inexpensive Saguaro. This allows for my Lyft to the Parker, for a nice drink, and tapas at Counter Reformation.

    Thank you for this reminder to go again! I tried the Modernism scene a few years ago, when living in L.A., and really appreciate your online tour! Would not deal with the crowds again. This blog post brightens my day!

  3. I was at the Parker a year ago for a wedding. It was definitely a fun place to be! I sent pics to my other designers of the guest rooms, too!

  4. Make sure you do the hike (easy) to the waterfall & or the tram on your next visit. Do the tram in the summer when it’s nice and warm because it’ll be about 50 degrees at the top of the mountain. We live in “OC” and visit Palm Springs at least 4 times a year. Especially in May/June when the coast is cool & cloudy.

  5. What a fun and inspiring post! Beautiful pictures!

    Jonathon Adler designed the interiors – bedrooms and all – of the Parker. I LOVE his quirky style!

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