Here’s How to Deck Out Your Home Like a Breezy Palm Springs Midcentury

Here’s How to Deck Out Your Home Like a Breezy Palm Springs Midcentury

By Samantha Daly
Cultivate a sunny state of mind with these pieces that channel Palm Springs’ brand of midcentury modernism.

Evoke the timeless aesthetic that the likes of Donald Wexler, William Krisel, and Charles DuBois solidified in this desert landscape with midcentury modern furnishings that privilege clean lines and bold colors.

Living Room

The Buzyn residence features an open-plan interior.

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Knoll Womb Chair and Ottoman
The expressive sculptural forms of Eero Saarinen’s furniture can also be found in his architecture, from the TWA Terminal at Kennedy Airport to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to Dulles International Airport.
Herman Miller Nelson Saucer Pendant Lamp
Architect George Nelson, who was Herman Miller’s design director from 1945 to 1972, once said, “Every truly original idea seems to find its most important expression in a chair.” And then he blew the doors off lighting design.
Finn Juhl Credenza
After studying at the famous Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and working for architect Vilhelm Lauritzen, Finn Juhl set up his own design office in 1945.

"The home has an unusual resonance when you see it," says Kaufmann house owner Brent Harris. "It has a volumetric, spatial beauty that changes throughout the day, particularly at twilight. There are a lot of great Neutra houses, but this has different feel entirely. It's very photogenic."

The home features terrazzo flooring throughout.

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Knoll Saarinen Tulip Armless Chair
When Eero Saarinen designed his Pedestal Collection for Knoll in 1956, he created an alternative to the "ugly, confusing, unrestful world" that he thought tables and chairs had become known for.
Knoll Barcelona Couch
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Couch (1930) was added to his Barcelona Collection in the year following the introduction of the Chair and Stool.
Knoll Barcelona Chair
When Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was chosen to create the furnishings for the German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona, he designed an iconic chair that many may not realize was born with royal roots.

An alternate view of the living space and wood-paneled fireplace.

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Louis Poulsen PH 5 Mini Pendant
The PH 5 Mini Pendant by Louis Poulsen was designed by Poul Henningsen in 1958 to create glare-free light. With multiple finishes to choose from, hanging the pendant anywhere is easy. The pendant uses three shades.
Knoll Platner Lounge Chair
As America entered into the 1960s, modernism started becoming more expressive, and designers began to celebrate more decorative, graceful shapes.
FLOS Glo-Ball Floor Lamp
The Flos Glo-Ball Floor Lamp was designed by Jasper Morrison with elegant, modern simplicity suitable to any contemporary interior. The careful craftsmanship of the blown White glass shade is fully revealed--and enhanced--when illuminated.

The sitting room features a central fireplace framed by marble and warm wood, a wall of glass, and the original terrazzo floors.

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Florence Knoll Sofa
 Florence Knoll Bassett took a holistic view of interior space planning. As director of the Knoll Planning Unit in the 1950s, her "total design" approach embraced everything about a space – including the furniture.
Cassina LC1 Sling Chair
Le Corbusier regarded traditional furnishings, with their structures hidden beneath wads of padding and upholstery, as relics of the past. Partnering with Charlotte Perriand and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, Le Corbusier stripped away all excess to create the sleek, elemental LC1 Chair (1928).
Atlas of Midcentury Modern Houses
A fascinating collection of more than 400 of the world's most glamorous homes from more than 290 architects, the Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses showcases work by such icons as Marcel Breuer, Richard Neutra, Alvar Aalto, and Oscar Niemeyer alongside extraordinary but virtually unknown houses in...

The interiors fully embrace the midcentury aesthetic, with high-beamed ceilings, slate floors, custom wood flooring, and a split rock fireplace.

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Noguchi Table
With its curved wood base and free-form glass top, this accent table by Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi blurs the divide between art and furniture. The now-iconic design was nearly stolen: Noguchi submitted a mockup to furniture maker T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings before...
Herman Miller Nelson Coconut Lounge Chair
George Nelson was known for encouraging his protégés to get playful and to experiment when creating their designs. After finishing his studies at the Pratt Institute, George Mulhauser joined his team and presented a sketch that eventually evolved into the Coconut Chair.
Yellow Eames Rocker by Laura Browning Print
"Yellow Eames Rocker was inspired by the iconic chair designed by Charles & Ray Eames in 1948," says the artist. "Growing up in California, I have long been inspired by the nostalgic idea of the classic California dream from the mid-20th century.


Dining Room

Many of the home’s original finishes could not be salvaged, including the walnut plywood in the dining area and kitchen. The siding was replaced with a fresh veneer of the same wood. Recessed baseboards give the kitchen island, topped with a Whitehall Cambria countertop, the appearance that it is levitating. The gilded hanging lamp by Peill & Putlzer was purchased secondhand in France.   

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Eames Molded Fiberglass 4-Leg Armchair (DFAX)
Charles and Ray Eames believed “design is a method of action,” and they continually updated their work as new materials became available.
Palm Springs Modern: Houses in the California Desert
This classic volume, now available at a lower price, showcases jet-set homes designed by the likes of Neutra, Frey, Lautner, and others. Palm Springs is famous as a mecca for the international jet set.
Knoll Saarinen Oval Dining Table
In a 1956 Time magazine cover story, Eero Saarinen said that “the underside of typical tables and chairs makes a confusing, unrestful world” and he was designing a new collection to “clear up the slum of legs in the U.S. home.” Later that year, he completed his Pedestal Table (1956), whose form was...

Oversized, full-height glass sliding doors provide easy access to the patio and a strong indoor-outdoor connection. The original terrazzo floors flow directly into the outdoors.

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Case Cross Fixed Table
After earning his degree in furniture design from Kingston Polytechnic in 1979, Matthew Hilton opened a design studio in London, and he’s been creating innovative, classic pieces ever since.
Case Narin Folding Chair
If David Irwin hadn’t become a designer, he’d be working as a chef. Fortunately, he kept his focus locked on front of house with his Narin Folding Chair (2016). Irwin was determined to ensure this folding chair would be as comfortable as a non-folding one, and he insisted that it be made of wood.
Case Dulwich Extension Table
Matthew Hilton doesn’t believe in design movements and instead prefers to think of the whole design process as part of the evolution of any object through history. The Dulwich Extension Table (2016) is a fine example of how his products are imbued with feeling and functionality.


Kitchen

The kitchen has been updated with a vintage vibe and seamlessly integrates into the home's clean midcentury style.

The kitchen was restored in 2001 following guidelines from its original configuration.

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Hip Haven Bullet Planter
The original Bullet Planters were first manufactured by several different companies in the 1950s, none of which were able to trademark the design, and the designer has never been identified.
Nelson Platform Bench
George Nelson’s Platform Bench (1946) is one of the great icons of midcentury modernism. For Herman Miller’s influential design director, utility was as important as beauty, and his spare rectangular bench is the result of this belief.
Mid-Century Modern: Icons of Design
This gift book, featuring sophisticated illustrations of classic pieces, is a must- have for lovers of Mid-Century Modern design. Mid-Century Modern remains one of the most popular, collectable, and dynamic styles of international design.

The kitchen updates remain true to the home’s midcentury character. Terrazzo tiles are used throughout the home.

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Cherner Counter Stool
Although a pioneer in prefab housing, Norman Cherner is best known for the molded plywood seating line he created for the manufacturer Plycraft, which he ultimately sued the company over.
Cavaliere-Euro 900 CFM 36 Inch Wide Island Mounted Range Hood
Features: Island Mounted  Low Noise Dual Chamber Centrifugal Motor  Six Speed Touch Sensitive Controls with Blue LED Lighting  Constructed from High Quality 19 Gauge Stainless Steel  30 Hour Cleaning Reminder with Programmable Delayed Auto Shut Off (1-15 Minutes)  4x 35W...
Vitra Eames House Bird
The Eames House Bird rose to stardom in the 1950s when Charles and Ray Eames pulled it from their own living room and positioned it with a group of Eames® DKR chairs for a poster.


Bedroom

The interior of the Menrad residence, with a raised ceiling and glass walls. "The house felt like the ultimate expression of what postwar residential architecture in California was all about," resident Chris Menrad writes in the book.

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Knoll Saarinen Side Table
In a 1956 Time magazine cover story, Eero Saarinen said that “the underside of typical tables and chairs makes a confusing, unrestful world” and he was designing a new collection to “clear up the slum of legs in the U.S. home.” Later that year, he completed his Pedestal Table (1956), whose form was...
Fritz Hansen Swan Chair
Before the Swan Chair (1958), Arne Jacobsen’s architecture and designs were shaped by an assumption of materials’ natural ways of resisting. In other words, he could make them go only so far in becoming the structures he desired.
Design Within Reach Sonno Pillow
If you ask any chiropractor what kind of pillow he or she sleeps on, the answer will most likely be memory foam, the reason being that this material comfortably supports your head, neck and shoulders in a natural position, which leads to deeper, more restful sleep.

The master bedroom.

William Krisel designed the Ocotillo Lodge, a hotel that features a number of his signature design moves: post-and-beam construction, walls of glass, and seamless indoor/outdoor connections. Pictured here is one of the hotel’s bungalows.

Outdoor

The rear patio was refreshed with new concrete pavers. A strip of grass accents the perimeter of the pool and hot tub. The boulders by the hedge are all that remain of a previous owner’s rock grotto.

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Knoll Bertoia Side Chair
Though Italian-American artist Harry Bertoia had long harbored an interest in mesh and metal forms, it wasn’t until he joined the studio of Charles Eames that he developed his signature techniques for working with steel rods. He brought this knowledge to Pennsylvania in 1950, where he designed...
Poolside Glamour by Slim Aarons Art Print
A desert house designed by Richard Neutra for Edgar J. Kaufmann, Palm Springs, California, January 1970. Lita Baron approaches, while in the foreground Nelda Linsk (right) wife of art dealer Joseph Linsk, is talking to her friend, Helen Dzo Dzo.
William Krisel’s Palm Springs: The Language of Modernism
This first major monograph chronicling the work and architectural philosophy of William Krisel features examples and insights from Krisel's own papers, culled from his personal collection as well as the extensive archives of the Getty Research Institute.

A look at the pool area of Steel House #2. Each major room features floor-to-ceiling glass panels and sliding doors that are all eight feet high.

Homeowner Jay Longtin served as the general contractor and performed the majority of the remodel work, aside from the outdoor floors, concrete, and pool, which were done by Architectural Blue.

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Palm Springs Poster Retro Travel by Jim Zahniser Wall Art
Take a permanent vacation to fabulous Palm Springs with this Pop Art print by Red Robot! A great gift for a hometown resident or a friend that's moved away.
Mid-Century Modern Monochromatic Mailbox
The Mid-Century Modern Mailbox - Monochromatic was created by Modern Mailbox to complement the unique characteristics of the Mid-Century Modern home. It is coated in a single powder coat finish--available in a range of popular 1950s colors--to give the mailbox an even more modern edge.
California Captured: Mid-Century Modern Architecture
The style and mythology of Mid-Century Modern California architecture as seen through the expert lens of Marvin Rand.

The vantage point of the famed "poolside gossip" photo that made Richard Neutra's Kaufmann House so well-known.

Exterior

Seen today, it’s hard to imagine that Jessy Moss and Steve Jocz’s glistening white home in Indian Wells, California, was marketed as a teardown only two years ago. Sparing it the wrecking ball, Jessy, an interior designer who used to be a singer/songwriter, and Steve, a realtor who was once a member of the band Sum 41, embarked on a restoration. During the project, they uncovered evidence that the home might be an unrecognized work by iconic architect William F. Cody. The circular pavers in the driveway, replicas of originals, are strikingly similar to those Cody used for another midcentury motor court.

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House Industries Neutra Modern House Numbers
In 2001, renowned design studio House Industries partnered with the estate of late architect Richard Neutra – whose notable projects include the Kaufmann House (1947) in Palm Springs, the Lovell Health House (1929) in Los Angeles and the Kronish House (1955) in Beverly Hills, among others – to...
Desert House Party by Slim Aarons Art Print
Desert House Party art print by Slim Aarons. Our prints are produced on acid-free papers using archival inks to guarantee that they last a lifetime without fading or loss of color. All art prints include a 1" white border around the image to allow for future framing and matting, if desired.
Mid-Century Modern: Icons of Design
This gift book, featuring sophisticated illustrations of classic pieces, is a must- have for lovers of Mid-Century Modern design. Mid-Century Modern remains one of the most popular, collectable, and dynamic styles of international design.

This updated 1957 home in the Twin Palms Estate features the subdivision’s signature palm trees front and center.

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Related Reading:

Here Are 20 of the Best Midcentury Renovations in Palm Springs

This Palm Springs Prefab Is a "Living Lab" for its Designer Residents

Design 101: What Are Alexander Homes, and Why Are They Still So Beloved?

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