Pools & Pads
in Palm Springs

by Liz Dowling

I was in Palm Springs for Modernism Week last week.  A fiesta of midcentury modern architecture, furniture, interior design and parties.  It was FABULOUS!

Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms
I went last year and took the touring very seriously.  I visited Sunnylands, Frey House II and neighborhoods in Palm Springs with important architectural homes by famous midcentury architects.

Casita in Frank Sinatra's "Twin Palms" home

Casita in Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” home

This year I took a “looser” approach.  I toured Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms estate and a couple of other fabulous homes on a house tour.  Don’t you love the big leaf wallpaper on the ceiling in Frank’s guest casita?  A reminder not to ignore the ceiling!

Noguchi Table
A signature terrazzo floor (chips of marble, quartz, granite and glass) with a Noguchi coffee table.

Twin Palms in Palm Springs  Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms (the twin palms above) has all of the classic midcentury elements.  Built in 1947 by E. Stewart, it is glass, steel and simplicity.  Sinatra lived here for ten years, six of them with his second wife Ava Gardner.

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A sink in the master bathroom still has a crack from a domestic dispute involving Ava and a champagne bottle!

Wall of pictures in Sinatra House

Wall of pictures in the Sinatra House

Sinatra living room

Sinatra living room

Open air walkway at Twin Palms

Open air walkway at Twin Palms

Lucite dining table

Fabulous lucite dining table with a view

One of my favorite midcentury design elements is the emphasis on bringing the outside in.  This integration with nature is a key architectural piece from this period. Large, unobstructed windows.  Sliding doors.  Rooflines and terrazzo floors that run from the interior, straight outside, creating a seamless line.


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See how the terrazzo floor (above) continues outside to create the deck and dining area?

Palm Springs pool
and the pools….

Palm Springs pool
A design feature that will get everyone out of the house to enjoy the beautiful Palm Springs weather!

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There are wonderful restaurants in Palm Springs.  We ate fish tacos at the Ace Hotel, had a fabulous dinner at ARRIVE.  Grabbed fresh pastries and baguettes every morning at the authentic French Peninsula Pastries.  Check out Sparrows Lodge and L’Horizon hotels ~ beautiful!

Trina Turk stools
Fun lectures and parties all weekend.

Gracious courtyard

Gracious entry courtyard

Fabulous midcentury modern front door

Fabulous midcentury front door

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Lucite chair
I love the simplicity and clean lines of midcentury modern architecture and interior design.  It is a real escape from what I have at home.  Which is a problem when I get back to the Northeast and want to throw everything out.

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Palm Springs is west coast cool at the highest level.  Throw on some Dave Brubeck or Shorty Rogers, sit back and pretend you are sitting on a terrazzo deck sipping a cocktail by the pool.

Nancy Baron, The Good Life, Palm Springs
the wry home

*special thanks to my crazy hosts and our Palm Springs “squad” for a memorable midcentury weekend of FUN


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Didier le Chef de table October 27, 2016 - 12:10 pm

Your crazy hosts loved their crazy friends. Come again next year!

Elizabeth Dowling October 27, 2016 - 4:17 pm

Oh yes, I will be there with bells on!!!!

Amy Harden November 5, 2016 - 6:56 am

What a great trip! The older I get the more I admire mid century modernism and sparseness in design. Need a few more homes in my future to get all looks in!

Elizabeth Dowling November 5, 2016 - 9:31 am

It is such a fun style! Harder to do in the Northeast, but pieces here and there are great.

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