Thursday, April 28, 2011

Palm Springs On My Mind

Bougain Villa designed by William Burgess & Albert Frey

 Kaufmann House designed by Richard Neutra 

There is something so comfortingly familiar to me about
Palm Springs.

I feel as though the idea of Palm Springs is indelibly stamped into my memory, and I keep wanting to return although I have never been.

Is it because I am a child of the 1960's?

  Is it because my parents were in showbiz during the 1950's and '60's and the memories of their little showbiz world
 in Sydney Australia
and their love and admiration of all things American
 somehow echoed
 the glamorous heyday of
Palm Springs that they only heard about?

Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra

Is it a reminder of my childhood homes? 
 Our Australian version of the 'Californian Bungalow' 
which later morphed into a two storey 
Mansard/Cape Cod hybrid around 1972
 Or the 1960's sun room with its cane saucer chairs,
 the faux bamboo screens sliding across 
the Neutra style glass windows
 with their crisp white wooden frames 
looking out to my mother's succulent pebble garden?

Loewy Residence by Albert Frey

Is it the memory of the reel to reel tape which recorded not only my parents singing songs of 
Sinatra and Martin
but me at the age of six belting out
  Barbra Streisand's "My Man"
from the 'Funny Girl' soundtrack.

Is it the memories of the Rat Pack,
  Shirley Maclaine and Sammy Davis in "Sweet Charity"?
Or watching Laugh In and the Carol Burnett Show?

Miller Fong Lotus chairs 1968

Or growing up on Australia's Gold Coast during the 1970's
where our very own waterfront suburbs such as
  Miami, Palm Beach, Coral Gables, Florida Gardens and Rio Vista
were developed and flourished.

Poolside at the Kaufmann House Photo by Slim Aarons circa 1970

I have had a love for all things mid-century modern
ever since I was lucky enough to acquire my
 Grant Featherston armchairs from an upholsterer friend
 back in the 1980's 
who passed them off as his own wacky designs
 reupholstered in 
"1980's doing 1950's"
 printed lime green and orange fabric.

This was way before we were even talking about Australia's
 own mid-century designers,
 and I had not even heard of Grant Featherston

 I was only then learning about Mies and Eames!

Del Marcos Hotel designed by Albert Frey

Bougain Villa by Burgess & Frey

For whatever reason, Palm Springs and the mid-century style 
has somehow been transposed into my psyche from a young age.

Neutra's Desert House gardens at the Kaufmann Residence

Palm Springs Condominium

Palm Springs style and mid-century modernism
 will always evoke a feeling of "going home" for me.

  That feeling of familiarity, leisure time, perceived comfort,
 hope and innocence of times past. 
 And the excitement and glamour of modernism! 

 The memories and the legacy that these times encapsulate,
 will always energise and inspire me.

Viceroy Hotel

William F. Cody home designed for Bill Butler

words  J. Watson-Evans
 The Decorator

all images via 'Palm Springs Style' by Aline Coquelle 2005


  1. fabulous collection of the lotus chairs! enjoy your birthday weekend. xx

  2. Memories, from the corners of my mind
    Misty watercolored memories of the way we were!

    What a gorgeous trip down memory lane.
    Great Blog! Loved it!
    Thank you decorator!

  3. I'm so glad I found your blog. I just found out that I'm accepted to an interior designer course yesterday and I intend to feed on your knowledge of design! :) xxx -your newest follower!

  4. Thank you the message ^^ I found out today that I've been accepted at an interior design course! I'm so excited! Can't wait to get started! :)

  5. The images are so wonderful and I want to be in Palm Springs with Trina!

  6. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this post with it's food for thought and fab images to prove your point. Perhaps the Palm Springs architectural style appeals to Australians so much because it shares our love of indoor-outdoor transitions and obsession with light.

  7. I am really impressed with the content of your blog. It is easy to see that you are passionate about your writing. If I had your writing ability, I know I would be successful. I have bookmarked your site and look forward to more updates.

  8. I googled 'Palm Springs photos circa 1970' and got your page. Reading your thoughts was like reading my own - except that I grew up 2 hours west of Palm Springs in Palos Verdes Estates, and our family often 'vacationed' in Palm Springs. But regardless of that detail difference, I echo your thoughts and I so enjoyed the photos.

    1. Hi Jennifer

      Isn't it amazing that people can feel similar emotions about 'place'? To me it's the concept of Palm Springs which so inspires me and yet I have never been. For you it is the memory of family vacations and the iconic location which is Palm Springs ......

      Thanks for stopping by...

  9. I was able to find good advice from your content.
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