MODERNISM WEEK IN PALM SPRINGS
Ever since I was a little girl, I've been fascinated with Old Hollywood. Growing up in LA, I spent lots of after school hours with my grandparents, and we would often take our afternoon strolls down the Walk of Fame, take ice cream breaks on the steps of the then-Kodak Theatre, or hike up to the Hollywood Bowl to watch rehearsals in the daytime, a preview of the magic that would come at that evening's performance. Living in an apartment building, Runyon Canyon was practically my backyard, although I simply knew it as "the dog park," only becoming aware of the coveted place name when I started noticing it pop up in friends' Instagram selfies.
Channeling Rita Hayworth at Greystone Mansion
Even at home, it was impossible to escape the glamour and nostalgia of Old Hollywood -- my grandparents lived in the legendary Montecito Building, originally a stylish 1930s Art Deco hotel housing the likes of Ronald Reagan and Mickey Rooney. I used to love racing down the stairs from the eleventh floor, stopping only to check out the vintage movie posters and Norman Rockwell prints at each landing. Whenever I stayed overnight, I loved choosing an old movie from my grandfather's collection and tucking myself in between my grandparents on the couch to spend the evening in the company of Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and the rest of the gang. Even in the daytime, my grandfather's favorite big band jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Glen Miller played in the backdrop.
Santa Monica, circa 1997. That Lion King purse was everything!
Only when I was much older did I realize how unique of an experience it was to grow up in the shadows of Hollywood's past. One of my first realizations of this was during an episode of I Love Lucy, a show I'm unsurprisingly intimately familiar with, when I recognized the familiar handprints and footprints of Grauman's Chinese Theatre on the silver screen, already iconic even then. Like Grauman's, I recognized the quintessential modernism of Palm Springs during that season of Lucy, acutely aware of how little it had chaged to the Palm Springs I was familiar with from family weekend trips.
Although many years have passed since those days and my family has since traded the traffic and smog of LA for the quieter suburbs of Orange County and the South Bay, I was excited for the opportunity to experience Modernism Week in Palm Springs, this time through the lens of an interior designer.
As soon as the chartered bus dropped us off in front of Albert Frey's iconic Visitors Center, it was as if we had time warped back to classic mid century California. The day was jamb-packed and consisted of four home tours, a keynote speaker, and wrapped up with a cocktail party complete with a retro live band as the sun set over the desert. I could really go on and on, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go!
Vintage vibes at Frey's 'Hidden House,' next door to the Palm Springs Racquet Club
My feet thoroughly enjoyed themselves
The Steel and Glass House, at the crossroads of innovation and classic modernism.
Light play at the Steel and Glass House
The West Elm House, dedicated to the legendary screen siren Esther Williams
Mid century modern design, withstanding the test of time
A streamlined kitchen at the West Elm House features an edge-less sink