This Palm Springs Showhouse Is a Study in Colorful Midcentury Modern Design
Happy hues and midcentury silhouettes impress at the Modernism Week Showhouse in Palm Springs.
Midcentury Modern Showhouse
For the third consecutive year, Traditional Home traveled to Palm Springs, California, to partner with designer Christopher Kennedy in celebrating the classic design style that is midcentury modern. The 2017 Christopher Kennedy Compound Modernism Week Showhouse was also a renovation. Social media star Kelly Lee, of lifestyle blog Kelly Golightly, and her husband, Klaus, opened the doors of their refreshed 6,500-square-foot villa in the Andreas Hills area to raise money to support preservation, education, and neighborhoods in Palm Springs. More than 20 talented designers, including Kennedy and Lee, shared their interpretations of midcentury modern design. Join us for a tour.
The terra-cotta roof and bold yellow door make this midcentury-style exterior by Bruce Clark stand out. A pink flamingo and large sculpture greet guests on the front lawn.
The entry, by Kate Spade New York's senior vice president of design for home Debs Camplin, serves up a sunny greeting to guests. "The homeowner is a quintessentially Kate Spade New York girl—she's modern, she's playful, she's strong—so we wanted to create something uniquely feminine for her," Camplin says. A chest in an antique mirror finish by Kate Spade New York for EJ Victor provides storage to tuck away purses. Colorful framed abstracts pop against Kravet's sterling awning-stripe wallcovering, while a gilded "bouquet" lamp by Kate Spade New York for Visual Comfort illuminates with whimsy.
Posh Living Room
Charisma radiates in the light and bright living room by Barclay Butera. "Palm Springs has always held such a Rat Pack vibe for me," he says. The designer's posh space pays homage to the golden age of Hollywood. Visual Comfort's alluring chandelier joins other gilt accents (note the coffee table’s sleek linear legs). "I love it when no one's back faces the room," Butera says of the seating arrangement, with armchairs, ottoman, and spacious sectional sofa by Lexington Home Brands. Luxe textiles, such as shag pillows and the designer's own grass-cloth wallcovering for Winfield Thybony, layer on the glamour. The Avenza white marble flooring is by Country Floors.
Colorful Dining Room
Color and pattern converge in the dining room by Christopher Kennedy. "It's the first thing you see, straight ahead, as you enter the front doors," Kennedy says. "So I knew I wanted it
to be a swoon-worthy room that would make guests gasp, and they did." Jim Thompson fabrics and vinyl wallcovering dress the room in dynamic hues. Despite being "a bit risky," the designer says, the 1960s Ibex dining table is his favorite. The head chairs and tufted side chairs are from The Mine. A bar cabinet adds flexibility when hosting intimate gatherings.
"It's the desert look with a traditional aesthetic," Kelli Ellis says of the crisp kitchen. Clean white cabinets from Eggersmann are accented by gold hardware. A custom hood, a midcentury-style orb ceiling fixture, and backsplash tile from the designer's collection with TileBar continue the glitzy scheme. "It illustrates that all metals really can be mixed," Ellis says. A marble farm sink imbues charm while a large island affords ample space for entertaining. Bar stools with salmon-pink upholstery and polished gold-tone legs lend pizzazz.
Michel Smith Boyd went muted and masculine in the office. "This is what a destination work space looks like for a contemporary desert dweller," he says. With the exterior views as his inspiration, Smith Boyd set out to create a calming atmosphere conducive to thinking. The desk (a marble slab top and four solid marble bases) is the designer's favorite piece while the brass stool and vintage chair with blue upholstery are close seconds. A club chair and coordinating ottoman offer a more relaxed place to work. Contrasting Crossville floor tiles form a chevron pattern. The inventive chandelier is available through Ferguson.
Pretty Pink Powder Room
A Marilyn Monroe photo by Milton Greene inspired Keith Fortner to create this feminine powder room. The 3-D-printed faucet from DXV was the first piece Fortner selected. "The faucet had never been seen before, and I wanted the rest of the space to elevate it as a unique showpiece," he says. "Chrysanthemum" crystal sconces from Fine Art Lamps accent a floral hemp wallcovering from Phillip Jeffries. A curvy-frame mirror echoes the AlysEdwards tile flooring's stainless-steel inlay.
Bright and Happy Guest Room
Just like her home decor collection, Oh Joy! for Target, the colorful guest retreat by Joy Cho exudes happiness. "It's like a party in your bedroom," the designer says. A daybed upholstered in an imaginative fabric perches under the window. The "YAY" vases and "OMG" bookends are part of the designer's Oh Joy! line. Cho created the DIY pom-pom draperies and the gold-dot decals applied to the walls. The sculptural ceiling pendant is from Visual Comfort.
Bold Color and Pattern
Custom tile panels by Allison Eden Studios served as the jumping-off point for the guest bath by Meg Caswell. "I love the mix of mirrored and colored glass," Caswell says. To highlight the
tile, she laid it in strips accented with orb sconces. Thibaut's arresting orange sisal wraps the small space in texture. An oval mirror offsets the angles of the rectangular marble vanity. The vintage cactus containers were discovered in Palm Springs.
Fun Patio Design
You could say the west patio by Jean Liu is a bit bananas. "Our catchphrase for the showhouse design was 'We're bananas for Palm Springs,' so bananas play a central role in the design," Liu explains. A quirky custom mural by Craig Grimston introduces excitement to a long, white stucco wall while Bolon's striped floor covering conceals the ordinary concrete slab. Clean-lined outdoor furniture by Stori Modern flaunts the brand's signature colors of yellow, black, and gray. Potted cacti and beautiful mountain views complete the energetic escape.
Michael Ostrow and Roger Stoker of Grace Home Furnishings introduced tropical flair to the lounge. "We wanted the room to have the feeling of a grand tented cabana," Ostrow says, calling attention to the dramatic Osborne & Little wallcoverings on the walls and pitched ceiling. The duo kept most of the larger pieces in solid colors (note the green leather swivel chairs). In this pass-through space to the main living areas, the seating needed to float in the middle of the room. "There are no square corners, making the walkway more comfortable," Stoker says. The bar area with acrylic stools also serves as the main entrance off the pool. An open console stores floor pillows beneath. The modern gas fireplace is by Malm.
Room to Kick Back
"I envisioned this sunny spot inviting you to kick back with a book and a martini while a record plays in the background," homeowner and designer Kelly Lee says.
Vibrant and Upbeat
The family room's upbeat palette was inspired by the vibrant front doors in Palm Springs (note the framed prints by Fred Moser). A wallcovering with silver flecks introduces glitz to the back wall. Lamps Plus provided the arc lamp and yellow chaise. A disco ball, fanciful pillows, and a faux-fur throw augment the inviting corner. The plush patterned carpet is by Stanton. "It's colorful, cozy, and glamorous—Palm Springs to a tee," she says.
Just want to hang? Cynthia Spence equipped the indoor-outdoor atrium with everything you need, including a fringed hammock. "In my head I saw someone taking a catnap in the hammock," Spence says. The weatherproof room, featuring a sisal rug, two large skylights, and Perennials outdoor upholstery, withstands inclement weather in style. White Roman shades with subtle pattern provide privacy. Stori Modern's handwoven wicker ottoman offers an extra place to sit. The white gesso chandelier is from Paul Ferrante.
Patterned Guest Bedroom
"I pushed the boundaries on pattern, scale, and finish in order to excite with a bit of sensory overload," Sarah Sherman Samuel says of the east guest bedroom. "Pink Agate" wallcovering from the designer's own collection wraps the space in organic pattern, which Samuel counterbalanced with a wide-striped rug. A lavender chair and fuzzy stool afford comfortable seating. Natural wood pieces, such as the large dresser and cerused-oak coffee table, juxtapose shiny brass elements. An original drawing by The Cartorialist joins an oversize mirror to accessorize the walls. "I wanted the room to have the feel of a high-end boutique hotel," Samuel says.
The "Bubble" Bath
Dawn McCoy teamed with Möet to fashion the ultimate "bubble" bath. "The room bubbles over with effervescence, understated glamour, and unabashed whimsy," McCoy says, noting the tub, lined and filled with bottles of rosé champagne. Tilework by AlysEdwards on the bath wall and floor evokes a spa-like aura. The gilt polka-dot wallcovering by Kate Spade New York through Kravet mimics the fizzy beverage. A faux-bois table ensures a phone (and cupcakes) are within arm's reach while taking a soak. Audrey Hepburn art, fresh roses, and a shaggy pink rug finish the feminine retreat.
Closet and Office Combined
Dubbed the "Cloffice"—a hybrid between a closet and an office—this wardrobe-meets-workstation by Natasha Minasian marries utility with style. Utilizing The Container Store's TCS Closets system, Minasian created a stylish sanctuary that displays the homeowner's love for fashion. "I wanted the woman who collected this wardrobe to have a place to enjoy it and enjoy the process of getting dressed," she says. An acrylic desk sits pretty atop Stanton's patterned carpet. A fuzzy stool, a Visual Comfort crystal-spike chandelier, and Dorothy Draper's iconic banana-leaf wallcovering amp up the glamour.
The adjoining bath by Dee Murphy makes an impact while still being soothing. Cole & Son's soft blue flamingo wallcovering references homeowner Kelly Lee's love for the majestic birds. "The photography reminded me of something Lee would wear and picks up the pattern on the black-and-white floor tiles," Murphy says. The designer's own rattan settee gives the room "relaxed, California-girl energy," she says. Chic sconces, a substantial vanity, and a mirror found while thrift-shopping round out the serene bath.
Fun Laundry Room
Rachel Cannon made sure the laundry room is memorable. "They're often thought of as strictly utilitarian," Cannon says. "I wanted to take some of the headache out of the chore of washing clothes." Again, Palm Springs' iconic doors played a role in the design. Cannon had the newly installed storage cabinet doors (re-creations of three famous front door designs) coated in bright colors from Dunn-Edwards Paints. The printed grass cloth suggests a midcentury vibe while remaining current. A burl stool, a white console, and a vintage rug furnish the well-appointed space.
Master Bedroom Oasis
"It's meant to be an oasis that complements the pool views," says Allison Mattison, who designed the master bedroom with her partner at Trellis Home, Liza Sharp. A cockatoo wallcovering by Florence Broadhurst energizes the lively design. The custom bed canopy is garnished with teal tiebacks from the designers' trim collection for Pyar & Co. The headboard, bedding, and flanking bedside tables with lacquered grass-cloth detailing are by Selamat Designs. Stanton's "Hunter Hill" carpet provides comfort underfoot.
Lavish Master Bath
The spacious master bath by Maya Williams beckons with cool colors and lavish materials. "From the shagreen-covered vanity to the crystal starburst fixture over the tub, each item really pops," Williams says. She custom-designed the mosaic shower tile to complement the aqua-and-green wallcovering in a palm motif. Made Goods provided the cane vanity chair that pulls up to the perfect primping station. The shaded vanity sconces are Kate Spade New York for Visual Comfort.
Nostalgic Glamour Terrace
The terrace, also designed by Christopher Kennedy, is ideal for alfresco entertaining. "In Palm Springs we live outside, so I knew it needed to exude the nostalgic glamour for which our town is famous," Kennedy says. A grand dining table from The Mine is anchored by 1970s "Peacock" rattan chairs in bright yellow. A wooden ceiling with painted pale blue inserts supports two Sputnik-inspired chandeliers. The midcentury-style side chairs are also from The Mine. Pool views prompt guests to take a dip after dessert. "It's a Palm Springs dream brought to life," Kennedy says.
Idyllic Pool Area
The pool area by fine art photographer Gray Malin is an idyllic place to catch some sun. "My Tassel Umbrellas artwork evokes a resort-style getaway experience, so the pool was very fitting," Malin says. The outdoor seating and coffee table, including the patterned bolsters and pillows, are by Amalfi Living. An umbrella from the designer's collection for Santa Barbara Designs provides plenty of shade.
"I call it 'Bed, Bath and Beyoncé,'" Salvador Camarena says of the pool bath, which pays homage to the current queen of pop music. The vintage container filled with lemons alludes to the artist's latest album, Lemonade. A statement-making starburst mirror crowns the navy vanity with its quartz countertop. Colorful towels are corralled in a gold wire hamper. Underneath, chevron floor tiles make the small space sing.
Positioned at the property's highest point, Sammy Castro's "Flamingo's Nest" takes in the entire outdoor space. "The lounging area is intended for anyone who enjoys relaxing comfortably outside," Castro says. A sculptural umbrella resembling bird wings shades the double chaise while orange and pink accessories integrate an appropriate palette. Curvaceous lanterns illuminate the stairs to the pool. Planters in varying hues and heights are potted with lush greenery. The turquoise grill is essential for poolside barbecues.