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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mid-Century Modern

Even though I risk having to fend off the paparazzi for the rest of my stay here, I'll tell you that I'm in Palm Springs for a few days to visit family. Walking around the neighborhood and taking a celebrity homes tour are not separable activities here. And it is not unusual to have to pull my cap down over my eyes and hang my head as a tour bus goes by. You know, so as not to be recognized. It's a real nuisance, trust me (OK, maybe not).

Seriously, within just a few blocks of here, I can stroll by homes that at one time were occupied by the likes of Edgar Bergen (yes, Candice and Charlie McCarthy both grew up there), Elvis Presley, Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra and Liberace. What you see here are single story homes in the "mid-century modern" style. Most are behind low walls, are surrounded by palm trees and all manner of lush, colorful, tropical foliage and have flat or gently sloping roofs; snow loads are not an issue. In fact, not a lot of consideration is even given to rain. Stucco, stone, metal and glass are the primary building materials. All of this is in a desert setting up against a startlingly imposing backdrop of steep, rocky mountains that rise up quite literally at the edge of the city.

Views in the Neighborhood

While I would not have thought this before my first visit here, Palm Springs is not a gaudy, touristy place. Quite the contrary, the architecture and landscaping work well in this setting. There are a few exceptions, of course. Like Liberace's place. It looks pretty much like, well, what you might expect it would look like.

Alan Ladd lived in Palm Springs and while I'll not get into details, his former home is, let me say, "accessible" to me. When you approach it from the street it is, as with so many other places, seen only as an entrance in the wall that hides the house from the street.

Entry to the Alan Ladd House

Passing through the gate, you approach the front of the house which, except for the tease of a view through the living room out into the pool area, seems not altogether that special. A display in the entry introduces Alan.

Front Door and Foyer

As you pass into the living room, you begin to appreciate the light, open feeling that makes the place so appealing. The kitchen and informal dining are just behind the fireplace wall.

Living Room and Kitchen Area

The back walls of both rooms are almost entirely windows, providing views into the pool area.

Pool Area and Mountain Views

It isn't "homey" by any means. But if you are into mid-century modern and art deco, this would be the place for you. And, if you are interested, get in touch with me. I can help you work out a deal. Trust me. No, really. I can. Really.

And, if I may be afforded the luxury of shameless promotion (it IS my blog, after all), when you are in town, you might want to stop by my brother's shop, Dazzles on Palm Canyon Drive, where you can find all the retro furniture, home d├ęcor and jewelry you'll need for those hard-to-find-gifts-for people on your list.


Now, if you will excuse me, I'm off to the Blue Coyote Grill for lunch. Please, don't breathe a word of this to anyone ~ I'm not up to signing a lot of autographs today. Thanks.

At the Blue Coyote Grill


I should mention that the Blue Coyote has a margarita that challenges Rita's for top spot on my list. And, thanks for keeping quiet about my visit there. I wasn't asked for a single autograph. Whew!


Modernesia said...

Nice post! Thanks for highlighting yet another cool Mid-Century home.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful home. Dazzling.

Anonymous said...

Hmm that fish looks familiar!! Jennifer posted pictures on her blog of it! You brothers house, right?