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Go Mid-Century Modern in Palm Springs: Architecture, History, and Shopping

by: Welk Resorts | September 4, 2018

If you like to enjoy the finer things in life with a modernist twist, Palm Springs is the place for you. Homes with stunning, angular lines and sweeping curves dominate the architectural landscape here. Swimming pools in unique, memorable shapes grace backyards, and sleek “period” furniture is still in vogue. The mid-century modern vibe is very much alive in this Coachella Valley community where architectural tours, vintage stores, and cultural events evoke the spirit of a more glamorous time.

Soak up the Atmosphere

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs: House with classic car

During Modernism Week, style and design aficionados enjoy the stylish beauty of Palm Springs homes with their classic cars. Photo by nine.com.au

Fans of mid-century modern architecture flock to Palm Springs for the swoon-worthy homes set against a gorgeous desert backdrop. The stark beauty of these modern houses is a perfect match for the four mountain ranges bordering the community. You’ll find plenty of architectural tours to indulge your love of the design style and, during Modernism Week in February, you can even see the insides of classic houses rarely open to the public.

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs: Kaufman Desert House

Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House: Photo by Mid-Century Home

A tour conducted by a knowledgeable guide is one of the best ways to appreciate Palm Springs’ mid-century modern offerings. Whether on foot or by bus, you’ll find a wide range of guided tours to help you appreciate the town’s stunning homes. Join other modernist enthusiasts in admiring Donald Wexler’s steel houses, take in the many area homes designed by William Krisel for Alexander Construction, and learn about Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House, the architectural landmark once owned by Barry Manilow.

Unique Mid-Century Modern Attractions

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs: City Hall

Palm Springs City Hall: Photo by Julius Shulman

Focused primarily on modern and contemporary art, the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Center is worth a visit. A permanent exhibit was made possible through the gift of architectural documents, photos, blueprints, and other artifacts from iconic modernist architect Albert Frey. The building itself fits beautifully into Palm Springs’ mid-century modern architectural landscape. Even City Hall merits a look. The municipal building, designed by Frey, greets visitors with an unusual entrance. Frey designed a corrugated metal canopy with an opening through which palm trees peek out.

Go Glam in Palm Springs

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs: Frank Sinatra with his dog

Frank Sinatra playing with his dog Ringo in Palm Springs. Photo by Coachella Valley

Not only does Palm Springs boast a bevy of stylish mid-century modern homes; it’s also infused with the glitz of celebrities who’ve lived—and partied—here over the years. Twin Palms was Frank Sinatra’s first getaway home in Palm Springs; and it’s equally well-known for its gorgeous design by E. Stewart Williams and the celeb-studded parties hosted there by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself.

Palm Springs: Frank Sinatra's Twin Palm Estates

One of the bedrooms inside Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate. Photo by Natural Retreats

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs: Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms Estate

The pool and backyard at Twin Palms Estate. Photo by Natural Retreats

Today, you can capture some of this old-time charm by renting the Twin Palms estate. This home has become an elegant location to host events—even weddings!

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs: Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball in Palm Springs. Photo by Coachella Valley

If you’re hoping a little of the show-biz glamour of the past will rub off on you, start with a celebrity tour. You’ll get a glimpse of the second homes of film stars, singers, radio personalities, and jet-setters. From the Rat Pack and Lucille Ball to Liberace and Sonny Bono, the rich and famous helped make Palm Springs America’s capital of laid-back luxury.

Shop the Uptown Design District

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs: Gypsyland vintage store

Gypsyland Palm Springs is a great spot for vintage furniture and design pieces. Photo by Greater Palm Springs

Once you’ve satisfied your craving for old-Hollywood gossip and had an eyeful of mid-century modern architecture, head to the Uptown Design District for some serious shopping. Boutiques and vintage shops are stocked with everything you need to inject a bit of Palm Springs style into your own decor.

In addition to beautiful mid-century modern furniture and accessories, both new and vintage, shops here offer unique gifts that are sure to impress. Contemporary art, accents for the home, and chic clothing accessories are all available alongside striking, aesthetic pieces. And don’t forget to pick up a little something for your wardrobe!

Go mid-century modern shopping in Palm Springs

The Fine Art of Design in Uptown Design District. Photo by Greater Palm Springs

In addition to beautiful mid-century modern furniture and accessories, both new and vintage, shops here offer unique gifts that are sure to impress. Contemporary art, accents for the home, and chic clothing accessories are all available alongside striking, aesthetic pieces. And don’t forget to pick up a little something for your wardrobe!

Get Away in Palm Springs

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs: Desert Oasis by Welk Resorts

Mid-century modern design lovers have more ways to enjoy their favorite architectural style here than almost anywhere else. From checking out the luxurious homes designed by E. Stewart Williams and other architects of the era to shopping for vintage housewares in the Uptown Design District, you’ll have no problem filling your schedule during your stay. No matter how much you enjoy pursuing your passion, you’ll need a quiet retreat to come back to at the end of each day. Book a stay at Desert Oasis by Welk Resorts to stay close to all the mid-century modern action and find your home away from home to truly relax.

 

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