Mid Century

Palm Springs: The Best of Mid Century Modernism

Take a look inside the architecturally glamorous and luxurious houses of the mid-century era, located in the heart of Palm Springs.
Palm Springs: The Best of Mid Century Modernism

Last week we took you on a city tour around LA’s Case Study homes and loved it. So, as part of our City Tours edition, we’re off to Palm Spring for a slightly different take on mid-century modern, known as Desert Modernism.

Palm Springs is home to a number of architecturally glamorous and luxurious homes of the mid century era. Today, Palm Springs is known for welcoming people from all over the world for holidays and festivals, but the history is rich when it comes to the mid century era. All of the residential homes in Palm Spring could not be built any higher than one story, for the beautifully simply reason that nobody is blocking anyone’s view of the mountains as well as nobody being able to see into your backyard.

Mid Century Homes in Palm Springs

For anyone that loves the clean lines, thought through spaces, and a mix-use of materials of mid century modern, Palm Springs is certainly a place to have your list to visit.

Desert Modernism: Kaufmann House

One of the most loved and revered examples of mid-century architecture. Richard Neutra designed the Kaufmann House is 1964 for Edgar J Kaufmann, who was looking for a holiday home in the hills of Palm Spring. The house was designed on Neutra’s principle of “ready-for-anything” and allowed for open, multi-use spaces that could evolve and change over time.

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Abernathy Residence

Focused on year-round outdoor living, the Abernathy Residence was designed by William F Cody in 1962. The L-shaped home features many characteristics associated with mid century modern; its floor-to-ceiling glass walls, white exterior, geometric construction, and detail in the landscape surrounding it makes this home as much as a piece of art as it is architecture.


Retro Modernism: Steel Houses

All-steel homes that were designed to provide a housing model that was low-cost, replicable, and suited to the desert climate. Designed by Donald Wexler in 1961, in collaboration with U.S. Steel, the project was initially intended to build 107 homes. Seven homes were built until the project was abandoned when the price of steel rose. Nevertheless, the homes represent what simple yet ambitious architecture and design can achieve.


Sinatra House (1947)

Inside the Twin Palms estate of Palm Springs is the iconic Sinatra House, designed by E Stewart Williams for Frank Sinatra. The tales of this home reflect the backdrop of Hollywood stars gravitas towards the desert hideaway, Palm Springs. Undoubtedly gorgeous and filled with Sinatra charm, today the home is a mid century treasure.

Elrod House

On the edge of a hill sits Elrod House, famed for its monumental designs and its debut in James Bond. Designed by John Lautner in 1968, who was one to design his homes to be at one with nature. The volcano-like structure makes the Elrod House one of the most unique, and slightly obscure, homes in Palm Springs.

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Palm Springs Modernism Week

Every February, there’s a week marked out in the calendars of design and architecture enthusiasts to celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week. The week-long series of events are made to indulge in and enjoy the mid century modern design and architecture that’s made the Californian oasis a place of inspiration and glamour. Every February you can enjoy the best of what the desert town has to offer, all at the comfort of your own home (ok perhaps I would rather be there, but make the best out a tricky situation). Sign yourself up here with tickets starting at $10.

Photo credits: Cover image by Lance Gerber for Ridgemore Residence

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