The couple relaxes on the couch in their retro Palm Springs living room.
Neutral tones and timeless vintage pieces like the grand server coffee table make this retro Palm Springs space both relaxing and classy.

From the front exterior, this retro Palm Springs home looks rather unassuming. For the homeowners, husband and wife Joe O’Hara and Lizbeth Scordo, the true moment of impact comes after walking through the front door to see the entire back wall of the house made up of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors.

When you open up the front door and there is this wall of glass,” says Joe, “that’s what I just fell in love with.” For the couple, the home is a desert escape from the grind of life. “On a nice day, when you open up all the sliders, it’s really just kind of indoor-outdoor living;” says Lizbeth, “it adds that feeling of being away.”

The yellow front door surrounded by white brick walls.
The couple redid the front landscaping with more desert plants and succulents to match the surrounding landscape.
The sunny backyard with palm trees and yellow accents.
With views of the surrounding mountains, this stunning yard is truly a retro Palm Springs oasis.
The dining room has a shaggy orange rug and a metal starburst light pendant.
The dining area and living room blend seamlessly together.

Making It Their Own

Lizbeth and Joe bought the house in 2011 to use as both a vacation home and a rental. Built in 1955, the home doesn’t have a known builder or architect, but rumor has it that Hollywood singer Ginny Simms lived there at one time.

The couple chat in their minimalist retro Palm Springs kitchen.
The more we started spending time there, the more we got into learning about the neighborhoods and the architecture,” says the couple.

The space is Joe and Lizbeth’s second Palm Springs residence, but their first mid century home, a purchase inspired by the design culture they encountered in the area. “The more we started spending time there, the more we got into learning about the neighborhoods and the architecture and mid century homes,” says Lizbeth. “We really wanted a house like that.”

A small bar station has two stools and a retro bar cart.
This stunning bar is one of the most recent additions to the home. Lizbeth and Joe found the piece while shopping in Venice, California.

With views of the surrounding mountains, the backyard is one of the couple’s favorite areas to spend time and host guests. Almost every room in the house has a slider to access the yard; the aesthetic appeal is just as important as functionality. After the couple redid the pool and added features like an outdoor kitchen, shower and covered seating area, the home is truly a secluded oasis.

Making It Pop

The couple painted a wall in each of the bedrooms a bright color. “We just thought that in doing fun accent walls, we could really go bright,” says Lizbeth. They kept the main living areas more neutral for balance but included other bold elements throughout the home.

A bedroom with an orange accent wall and two large retro lamps flanking the orange bedspread.
Lizbeth found this set of diamond-shaped mirrors at a yard sale. the seller wanted her to pay one price, and she wanted to pay another. They flipped a coin for it, and she won.
A large bed with a teal patterned bedspread has a white brick accent wall.
Furnishing the house took time, as the couple relied on Craigslist, estate sales and yard sales for period pieces.
A lime green bedspread with gray walls and an abstract modern artwork.
The dresser has a view-master, which was first created in 1939. Did you know you can order custom reels online these days, to show your own home and yard?

“I always wanted that yellow door,” says Lizbeth of the main entrance, so “that was never even a discussion.” In the backyard, they painted both the existing fireplace and the added screen block the same bright yellow for consistency, and a yellow chair in the master bedroom has become a favorite location for renters to post on social media.

Making It a Retro Palm Springs Home

Lizbeth and Joe have filled the home with one-of-a- kind vintage pieces, but doing so was not a quick process. “We would do estate sales and yard sales every weekend,” says Lizbeth, “I would look on Craigslist, and we slowly found ourselves filling the house.”

The bathroom tiling is multiple shades of blue and has a retro owl statue on the counter.
A retro owl well represents the retro Palm Springs spirit of the 1950s and ’60s in the bathroom.
A large 9-drawer dresser has alternating white and green drawers in front of a light green wall.
One of Lizbeth’s favorite pieces, this vintage yellow-and-white dresser completes the bright color scheme of the spacious master bedroom.

One piece they looked long and hard for was a coffee table. “We waited and waited, and eventually, in 2014 at the parking lot sale at the Fall Modernism Preview weekend,” says Lizbeth, “we found this amazing coffee table.” The kidney-shaped Grand Server coffee table with a swivel top graces their living with elegance and class.

Other favorite pieces are a set of Danish lamps that Lizbeth’s dad pulled out of storage; the standing bar they discovered in Venice, California; and the yellow-and-white dresser that perfectly finishes the master bedroom.

The backyard is lit by light coming through the retro Palm Springs home's floor to ceiling windows.
A wall with brise soliel blocks adds definition to the retro Palm Springs backyard space.

“We’ve tried to, over time, curate key pieces and certain accent pieces so it could have a kind of time-capsule feel,” says Joe of the space that has grown into the perfect Mid Century Modern getaway.

Inspired by that quintessential Palm Springs front door? Read on here for how to get the look.

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