Martinis in

by Liz Dowling

January gloom brightened up considerably this year with an impromptu trip to Palm Springs!

I love to visit Palm Springs during Modernism Week, but missed it this year, so was thrilled to cash in my JetBlue miles and jump on a direct flight to this sunny California haven.  We still did a tour of the fab homes, but it was a lot less crowded.

Styles to memorize: Butterfly Roof, Swiss Miss, Brise-Soleil, Pattern Block, Clerestory Window.

Neighborhoods to browse:  Little Beverly Hills, Twin Palms, Old Las Palmas, Movie Colony East, Tennis Club.

Architects to know:  Albert Frey, Richard Neutra, Donald Wexler, William Cody, A. Quincy Jones, Charles Tanner.

Palm Springs is all about the appreciation of midcentury architecture and design.

There are amazing tours of historic homes, parties, lectures and education about all things midcentury modern.

1946 Richard Neutra

1946 Richard Neutra

You might recognize this house from the famous Slim Aarons photo “Palm Springs Gossip.”

"Palm Springs Gossip"

“Palm Springs Gossip”

The current owners have restored this beauty back to its original condition.

IMG_4952  P1070774
Mr. Frank Sinatra would hang a flag between two palm trees on his property (on right) to let his Hollywood peeps know he was having a party.

Frank Sinatra home / 1947

1947 Frank Sinatra home, designed by E. Stewart Williams

His “Twin Palms” estate set the standard for postwar Hollywood glamour and the ever-important cocktail hour.

1964 Dinah Shore home, designed by Donald Wexler

1964 Dinah Shore home, designed by Donald Wexler

Dinah Shore and many of her LA friends lived close together with secret backyard entrances between their homes.  Leonardo DiCaprio owns her home now.

1935 William Tanner

1935 Charles Tanner Community Church

The historically significant Palm Springs Community Church, designed by Charles Tanner, was considered avant-garde at the time.  It was destroyed in a September 2013 fire, but is slated for renovation and reuse in a collaboration between an LA design firm and the Palm Springs Architectural Advisory.

1966 Robert Alexander

1960 Robert Alexander

This pink “House of Tomorrow” is a midcentury modernism icon.  Elvis Presley leased the home in September 1966 for one year as a retreat from his activities in LA.  He and Priscilla honeymooned here in May 1967 and had Lisa Marie nine months later.

1947 William Cody

1947 William Cody

The Del Marcos Hotel was designed in 1947 by famed desert architect William Cody.  The 17-room hotel is the perfect midcentury modern place to stay in Palm Springs!


My trip was a lot of fun in the sun.  DELICIOUS drinks with fresh squeezed oranges and grapefruits from Julie’s back yard.

This time of year means you can go for a hike because the temperature is a perfect 50 degrees. We went on a great hike through the mountains one morning.


You can see the snow on top of the mountains in January – so beautiful!

My friend has a classic mid-century modern house and has done an amazing job in the four years since she bought it.  Here is a quick outside view.

Thanks to my Palm Springs hosts and all the fun things they organized!

the wry home

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Phyllis January 24, 2019 - 11:40 am

Fabulous piece about Palm Springs – and excellent photos!

Mindy January 26, 2019 - 9:33 am

Thanks for this!! We have ever been and are finally going in early April to visit friends! Very excited!! We’re heading to the ferry to check on things. Hope all is well with you!!

Elizabeth Dowling January 27, 2019 - 4:58 pm

Mindy – I have restautant recommendations too!

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