Some of the best MCM designs are located in Palm Springs. And Modernous, an interior design boutique with offices in the California MCM hotspot and Seattle, has done some of its best work revitalizing classic Mid Mod Palm Springs homes. In fact, the interior design boutique specializes in creating modern spaces, with an emphasis on Mid Century Modern style. And so, over the years, Modernous has racked up quite the list of stellar interior spaces in the California hotspot. Here are the top three Modernous design projects in Palm Springs right now.
The Team’s Favorite Designs
“The first home is a Hugh Kaptur that had been remuddled over the years and was almost unidentifiable,” says Sally Julien, owner and principal designer of Modernous. The second, The Pebble Beach house, was designed by Donald Wexler as part of the Green Fairway Estates neighborhood. “Both of these homes had a lot of original character that Modernous was able to highlight, stripping away modifications that never should have happened,” she says. Instead, the team underscored the original intention of the architecture and updated the functional elements.
Built in 1935, the third home is The John Porter Clark house. But unlike the other two, this abode didn’t need a restoration as much as a refresh. The current owners did an excellent job of using the architectural backdrop to showcase modern design from the 20s and beyond, like designs from the Bauhaus era, says Sally. “It was the first house in the Deepwell area,” she says. “The house started to show Porter Clark’s modernist tendencies, while maintaining the layout of a ranch house.”
Pops of Color
All three homes share the inclusion of white walls, chosen to focus on a color story and special, mid-century pieces that the homeowners wanted to highlight. “The white background creates a minimal palette for a riot of color,” Sally says. “This allows the objects in the room to be the focus.” But the color choice has another utility that goes beyond design preferences. “In Palm Springs, where it can be so hot in the summer, the white reflects light and helps the rooms feel cool and comfortable,” Sally says.
For example, Inside the Wexler home, pops of brilliant yellows capture attention. In the primary bathroom, pops of gold tones add a bit of color to the starker white space that allows the eye to then drift outside to the rocks in the courtyard, a landscaping feature that drains hold in moisture for plants. Meanwhile, in the home’s living room, a huge mid-century sofa, reupholstered in a vibrantly yellow pattern was selected by Modernous to add to the rich color palette. The designers at Modernous spotted the piece on eBay in LA and had it trucked to Palm Springs. The massive sectional just fit the right scale for this large room, says Sally.
Original Features Remastered
Also in the Wexler home, the team at Modernous made sure to revive important MCM features. “The original fireplace had been removed, and Modernous had it remanufactured for the centerpiece,” says Sally. This fireplace was added to the living room, where the original rock wall remained. “By talking to the neighbors, we realized that all of the homes had the same Wexler designed fireplace,” Sally says. “We called a dozen places throughout the country looking for a vintage one with no luck, so we hired someone to take the measurements off the neighbor’s fireplace, and had it manufactured in Mexico and powder coated to the original colors.”
Yet at the same time, Modernous knows when to blend MCM with other eras. In the John Porter Clark house, Modernous took the main living room in a different direction other than strictly following Mid Mod style. The architecture lent itself to this, says Sally. “All modern design works together,” she says, “whether it is Bauhaus from the 20s or the Droog 85 lamps chandelier designed in 1995, to pieces with modern lines designed today.” Of course, the home has a lot of pieces of mid-century modern furniture, as Sally points out, like the Cherner counter stools or the Pearsall sofa, but it also contains modern pieces from other eras.
Because the design boutique thus has an eye for the nuances of MCM, each of its three favorite projects reflect a different spirit of Mid Mod. Depending on the homeowners’ preferences or the vibe of the classic home, the project can espouse a purist atomic era look or take on a wilder, outlandish design. Regardless of the exact expression of Mid Mod fashions, however, Modernous brings modern flair to each of these three pedigreed architectural properties.
For more house tours by Modernous, check out this post.