Mid-Century Makeup: The Fontenell in Palm Springs

written by:
February 28, 2013
A mid-century oasis in the desert, The Fontenell, was built in the late '50s for the family of makeup and cosmetics icon Max Factor. Seeking a place his family could relax together, seven fully-equipped bungalows in fashionable Palm Springs fit the bill. A mid-century Melrose Place of sorts, the compound circles a courtyard equipped with a triangular pool. The setup allowed for easy family gatherings, but also enabled an easy escape to privacy if needed.

With the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains providing a breathtaking backdrop, the rooms have been completely restored to their mid-century glory, with carefully selected furnishings and accents. The very colorful kitchens (in pink, yellow, or turquoise) contain original cabinetry, countertops, and appliances—including rarely seen eye-height refrigerator and iceboxes. Surrounded by a plethora of mid-century touches, it’s not hard to imagine The Fontenell playing host to many a martini-strewn after-party following a night of dancing at the iconic Chi Chi Club back in the day.

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  Photo by Dan Chavkin.
    Photo by Dan Chavkin.
  • 
  Photo by Dan Chavkin.
    Photo by Dan Chavkin.
  • 
  Photo by Dan Chavkin.
    Photo by Dan Chavkin.
  • 
  Photo by Dan Chavkin.
    Photo by Dan Chavkin.
  • 
  Photo by Dan Chavkin.
    Photo by Dan Chavkin.
  • 
  Photo by Dan Chavkin.
    Photo by Dan Chavkin.
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  A postcard from 1958 shows the Fontenell in its early days. Photo by Carl Junghans.
    A postcard from 1958 shows the Fontenell in its early days. Photo by Carl Junghans.

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