Vibrant colors, retro furnishings, fresh artwork and modern updates give this 1959 Krisel home in Palm Springs new life while preserving and honoring the beauty of its original architecture.
When Los Angeles designer Danielle (“Dani”) Nagel took a trip to Palm Springs’ Modernism Week nearly four years ago, little did she know that not only would she discover a newfound love of Mid Century Modern design, she would also purchase her very own MCM marvel—a cute, 984-square-foot desert Krisel home.
“I’m a fashion and interior designer and was invited to attend as a guest in the ‘Mod Squad,’” Dani says. “We did a bunch of tours, attended talks and were simply fascinated with the rich history behind MCM design.”
After getting her start in the fashion world, Dani decided to break out and start her own brand—Dazey LA (@dazey_la).
“My design aesthetic across all mediums ties in a ton of color and vintage design,” she says. With an eye for bold and exciting hues, patterns and art, Dani gave the Krisel home a much-needed refresh that balances past and present and highlights the best of mid-mod style.
The house that would become “The Dazey Desert House” was love at first sight for Dani.
“Its charm and character made my heart jump when I saw the listing,” she says.
The house hunt started in Los Angeles, where Dani and her fiancé, both entrepreneurs, reside. After many failed attempts to find a home, they checked Zillow while driving home from Palm Springs.
“When I saw this house on our way back from Modernism Week, I got the idea, Hey, what if we buy our ‘second home’ first?” Dani says.
The three-bedroom, one-bathroom home was in great condition. While she isn’t aware of all of the changes made by previous owners, a contractor gave her an idea of the renovation work he’d done to bring the home back from a dilapidated state.
Thankfully, the home still retains many original features. The exterior, bathroom and kitchen, as well as the overall architecture, are original, especially the kitchen, which is a blast from the past. The appliances, tile countertops and pegboard cabinetry are all original—complete with hairpin legs.
Throughout the home, the windows are unaltered and let in ample desert sunlight to brighten the interior naturally. From the front of the home, you can see the windows taper off into the roofline, which gives the home a sleek and dynamic curb appeal.
“I am drawn to the unexpected, and this home is just that,” Dani explains.
Because the home was practically turnkey when Dani came across it, she and her fiancé started using it as an Airbnb rental shortly after purchase. As a result, Dani has continued to change and add to the interior design of the home over a period of three and a half years. And, in addition to furnishings and finishes, Dani has had to contend with plumbing and electrical challenges.
“We have been, and are still, fixing up certain things as we go,” she points out.
While the changes might be gradual, Dani’s guiding goal stays constant: Create a home that stands out.
“Palm Springs is filled with beautiful, extravagant homes, but many of them tend to feel sterile when it comes to the design,” she says. “I wanted a lively, dynamic design that will transport anyone who enters into a different world.”
Her background in fashion and graphic design fuels her desire for creating unique spaces. In fact, some of her own artwork is featured in the home, such as the mural in the office room.
Bring in the Color
Sleek lines, original features and eye-catching art aren’t the only elements of the design that make this home special. Color plays a big role in making this small home feel larger than life.
“It had an orange door that we decided to keep and design the whole house around because it made me so happy,” Dani says. “Orange is such an underrated color!”
A major way Dani achieved her colorful design was by replacing the gray, painted flooring with tile throughout the main gathering areas of the home.
“One of our biggest investments and renovations was the floor: We retiled over half the house with gorgeous, orange-and-cream-checkered handmade tiles by Fireclay tile,” she says.
All in all, Dani’s use of a bold palette, retro furnishings and fun artwork combine with classic mid-century architecture to make this Palm Springs Krisel build shine with a fresh, hip glow.
Designer’s Tips: Get Colorful
Incorporating color into your mid-mod home can be a little tricky. However, achieving a fun, retro vibe without feeling too “over the top” isn’t as difficult as you might imagine.
Here, designer Danielle Nagel shares her tips about how to use color in your home for a vibrant take on Mid Century Modern style:
Make a statement. Create a focal point for your space by selecting an item or feature you want to highlight and let that inspire your décor and styling choices. “I usually pick one statement piece for each room. It can be a piece of art, furniture, wallpaper, etc. Then, I start to design the color scheme around that,” she explains.
Keep it simple. “My pallettes usually consist of two or three main colors and then some small accents that are different shades of the main ones,” she says. She suggests taking a peek at photos of vintage mid-mod homes for some palette inspiration.
Create cohesion. Once you’ve selected your colors, incorporate them throughout your home. “Be sure to tie in the main colors as much as you can in a room to really build a cohesive look that makes sense,” Dani says.
Spread it out. Be creative when adding color to your design, and make sure it’s evenly distributed. It doesn’t have to be only large pieces; sometimes, the details really make a huge difference. “I spread the colors all around the room so it’s not too concentrated in one area,” Dani says. “Sometimes, you can even loop in a lesser-used color by simply adding pillows or a frame.”
Tell a story. Have fun by adding an extra layer of meaning to your décor. Not only does this help you create better cohesion in your design, it also allows you freedom to play with different options to see what conveys your meaning best. As Dani points out, “It’s all about telling a story with your colors and staying consistent.”