Palm Springs Modernism Week Fall Preview 2017

Palm Springs Modernism Week is one of my very favorite events right up there with TCM Film Fest and Last Remaining Seats. Although it’s a 10 day event I usually can only go for a day so I end up making the most of it and stuffing as many mid-century modern activities as I can into 24 hours. In addition to the main event there’s an annual Fall Preview every October and this year I was invited to check it out. Because it’s a little quieter and hotel rooms are much cheaper I decided to make a weekend of it and spent three days basking in mid-century bliss.

I headed out mid-day Friday and arrived in Palm Springs just in time to meet up with fellow writers for a press luncheon at the Kaiser Grille. I’d long passed by the downtown institution but this was my first time stepping inside. The restaurant is situated in a historic Art Deco building that they are the process of restoring and I can’t wait to see the finished product. Currently, the restaurant is the epitome of dessert elegance and I had a delicious meal capped off by a deconstructed banana split.

As I had a busy weekend lined up I decided to relax on Friday but I managed swing by the convention center for the Modernism Show & Sale. A staple of Modernism Week, it features various vendors offering mid-century inspired works as well as vintage pieces.

I saw so many beautiful objects but, sadly, they were all out of my budget so I headed back to my hotel to rest up.

Bright and early I headed out to the Salton Sea but that’s a whole adventure on it’s own that I’ll be sharing at a later date. I spent much of my day in the far reaches of the Coachella Valley and returned to town just in time to attend the Framed Spaces Home Tour.

Benefiting the Palm Springs Animal Shelter the self guided tour featured 7 distinct homes in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage. I was able to make it to four of the homes and each was was stunningly decorated and entirely unique.

I absolutely loved this tour from start to finish. Since the tour was self-guided I could take as little or long as I wished at each location. The locations themselves were true gems – decorated beautiful and clearly well-loved by the owners. I wish I could have visited all 7 but I had to head to the Canyon Estates neighborhood for a party hosted by Dunn-Edwards to celebrate their 2018 Color of the Year – The Green Hour.

The party was held at an ultra-luxe Thomboy Property that was recently redesigned. I can’t say I loved every inch of it but it did have several features that I wouldn’t mind in my own home.

I think I need to add that golf cart to my wish list!

From there I headed to the re-opening of the Shag Store one of my favorite spots in all of Palm Springs. A few months ago it had experienced a destructive fire and now was re-opening even bigger and better. Apparently, it’s everyone’s favorite store because it was PACKED.

The store looks great and I can’t wait to explore it more when it’s not so crowded.

The next morning I headed back out for another busy day. My first stop was the Cul-de-sac Tour where a charming street in the Canyon View Estates was transported back to the 1960’s for the day.

This distinct neighborhood, designed by noted architect Willaim Krisel is a true gem in a city filled with mid-century masterpieces. The small family homes are the epitome of dessert cool and, from the outside, appear just as they did on opening day.

Inside they are beautifully appointed and reflect the distinct design styles of their owners.

In all the Modernism Week events I’ve attended the Cul-de-Sac Tour ranks as one of my very favorites. Everything about it was pitch perfect from the period sales office to the vintage advertisements to the classic cars to the lovingly cared for homes.

Soon enough it was time to return to the present and I headed off to The West Elm House.

The house is a super-luxe vacation rental completely appointed in West Elm merchandise. In the land of vintage it’s a uniquely modern take on the mid-century home.

I would rent the house in a heartbeat but I’m not sure I could afford the price tag!

Though the area is home to many wonderfully restored mid-century masterpieces not all have received the TLC they deserve. Such is the case with the Palm Desert Miles Bates House, the last stop on my visit.

The 1955 house designed by famed architect, Walter S. White, is a one-of-a kind home with a distinct wave roof. Sadly, over the years it’s fallen into severe disrepair will be auctioned off next February.

The city and the Historical Society of Palm Desert are hoping a preservation minded individual will step in to restore this mid-century masterwork. I certainly hope so because the potential is out of this world. It’s a true gem and I hope that one day I’ll return to tour it when it’s completely restored.

All too soon my weekend in the dessert was over and it was time to return home to the suburban sprawl. Once again, the Modernism Week events blew me away and I can’t wait until February when I can return and take part in them once more.





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