Maison Bleue Moderne

Oh, just another magnificent modernism maison.

Entrance to beyond la Porte Bleue.

I love observing how other people live. Very nice of the owners to open up their homes and let others take a peek inside and make them feel terribly envious by doing so.  I was feeling very Bleue in this home…but in the most positive way.

This home is like stepping into a vacation.  It’s a nod to the owners’ appreciation of beauty and being by the ocean with a modern nautical theme (despite being in the desert) as variations of water colors flow throughout, from vibrant turquoise to rich navy blues.  It’s just gorgeous.  I’m aware that I overuse this word but I just can’t think of another better word to describe this house and many others on the modernism open home tours.

Michelle Boudreau (pic below) recently re-designed the 1958 William Krisel originally designed Alexander Company home. She seamlessly merged materials and new spaces with modern technology while respecting the existing mid-century cherished design details.

The philosophy of the renovation was to establish a good relationship with the existing structure as it had beautiful bones.” Boudreau states.  I did notice that she herself has beautiful bone structure.  Just had to add this tidbit of info.

To create a poetic home that embraces the Palm Springs lifestyle, Boudreau selected from brands such as Brizo, Dunn-Edwards Paints, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting, Hunter Douglas & Tidelli.

Check out that wall paper!

The 2,400 square foot artful interior space boasts four bedrooms & four bathrooms.  And lots of gorgeous attractive coffee-table books which I adore. The home and the books are inspired by the owners’ colorful personalities and passion for sailing and travel.

Check out that bedding and wall paper!

The home is nestled below the San Gorgonio mountain range in Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs.

Simply breathtaking!

All photos: d. king

Modernism week is on until February 27th.  Get tickets for events while they last here:

https://modernismweek.com/

 

Modernism Week – 70’s Featured Home

Welcome to the start of Modernism week here in Palm Springs…home to the largest concentration of Mid-Century Modern architecture in the United States. Modernism week is an annual celebration and appreciation of all things midcentury modern. Think design, architecture, art, fashion and culture.
This is one of the busiest times of year for tourism in Palm Springs when hundreds of events take place that include the modernism show & sale, fabulous signature home tours, films, lectures, premier double decker architectural bus tours, nightly parties, live music, walking and bike tours, fashion shows, classic cars, modern garden tours and even more. Of course numbers to events are a bit more limited now and keeping a safe distance is still in place, however it feels like things are getting back to normal.

Today I toured the stunning 1975 Palm Springs residence referred to as the “Seventies Sackley” home, as it was designed by noted architect Stan Sackley. The home was recently reimagined by interior designers Michael Ostrow and Roger Stoker of Grace Home Furnishings who purchased it in 2012.

Located in the prestigious Indian Canyons neighborhood, the house boasts deep mid-century roots and a distinctive architectural style.  Situated on nearly a quarter acre lot, the 3,044 square foot home contains three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a beautiful saltwater pool and spa. It has brilliant mountain views, high ceilings, clerestory windows and walls of glass. The formal entryway is expansive and the dining area leads to a step-down living and media room, while walls of glass line the back of the house that open to the pool with a wondrous view of the San Jacinto mountains.

A favorite feature for the couple is the combo living room and media room which is separated by one of Sackley’s signature touches, a see-through fireplace with stacked stone detail.

The house’s custom glazed floor tiles were another coveted element, as they’ve believed to have been designed for the house by Sackley himself. 

Stan Sackley is described by Ostrow and Stoker as an architect who left a great body of work but has remained somewhat under-appreciated until recent years.  Ostrow shared that following Sackley’s death in 2001, his work archives were sold at a yard sale.  “Soon after, someone would go up and down the street asking people if they wanted to buy the floorplans to their house,” he says.  “We’re lucky to have it so we can see how the kitchen was configured.”  When they gutted the kitchen, they located a piece of laminate that was from the old cabinet and found the old countertop, a walnut laminated material and a matte white glazed tile. “What we put back in makes it almost look like the original kitchen,” Ostrow says.

When it came time for an update to the home, Stoker and Ostrow decided to implement changes that remained sensitive to the architect’s original design. Eventually, the pair decided on a modest renovation of the kitchen and bathroom with no structural changes.  Luckily, the couple got their hands on Sackley’s original furniture floorplan.

The interiors now feature a classic modern take on Palm Springs style, with a bold green and blue color palette.  Vintage pieces are used throughout the home alongside contemporary pieces from Ostrow and Stoker’s own Grace Home Furnishings Collection and showroom lines.

All photos: d. king

For ticketshttps://modernismweek.com/

“Real” Estate: doing the Can Can

Try to contain yourself as you have a browse through some luxury lifestyle homes for those who like to think “outside the box”  for price souring housing solutions.

Numerous shipping containers are artfully arranged in a starburst pattern for this Joshua Tree Home – the brainchild of London based Whitaker Studio.

These home are made from shipping containers. That’s right. Some ranging from small “tiny house” structures featuring a single container to larger, more ambitious projects that combine numerous containers that result in opulent luxury homes. These shipping container spaces offer something for every budget and lifestyle.

Affordable Housing – two shipping containers built on a low budget.
California-based Kubed Living offers multiple different shipping containers such as this 160 sq. ft. studio built from one container.

I just spent a little time in a winery built out of two shipping containers with windows cut out large enough to have a view of the vineyard.  I couldn’t believe it!

Canadians looking for a chic container home can contact Alberta based Honomobo . Built from rigid steel to provide durable, efficient living space.
Toronto based Storstac is in the business of selling new and used shipping containers. This one is made from two containers.
The main floor includes two shipping containers that saddle bag a wedge-shaped space .  I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one.

Every time I see a container now I envision what the inside would look like if I wanted to make it into a home.  The way things are going you just may see them becoming more mainstream.

Intriguing; No?

 

 

Elements of Design – Residential Art & Architecture

If you love style, architecture & design, here’s a unique and fun way to kill a little time while getting a luxurious dose of total home inspiration…

T. Jones Groups – Elements Estate, Vancouver

Focusing on the residential sector, we step into the world of luxury and extravagance to celebrate the best in design, outstanding architecture, interior design and product designs.

I loved perusing through all the categories of the International Design & Architecture Awards and then placing my vote for “best of” in each respective category.  You can too, until March 19th (link below).

Who are they?

The International Design & Architecture Awards, are hosted by design et al, a leading UK interior design magazine. Their aim is to commend design, recognize talent, create opportunities and quite simply to offer inspiration.  That to say the least, is an understatement.

These Awards are not judged by a panel. Shortlisted entries are presented online, and voting is open to industry professionals as well as design et al readers, clients and customers. Only 16 projects are shortlisted per category. A unique part of their voting system is that votes have to be cast in every single category, which in turn, gives all shortlisted projects maximum publicity from international industry professionals.

T. Jones Group – Elements Estate,  Vancouver

I’m delighted to learn that Amanda & Cameron Jones (friends of mine and my sister from T Jones Group) have received 5 nominations for their @elementsestatevancouver project.  Looking through the photos we can see why.

Amanda & Cameron Jones

Elements Estate has received 3 Interior Designs Category nominations;
Cat. 13 – Kitchen over £150,000
Cat. 18 – Best Living Space
Cat. 29 – Residential Project Value over £5 million


Plus 2 Property Category nominations;
Cat. 4 – Luxury Residence
Cat. 19 – Residential Value £10 million +

A bit more on T. Jones Group and some of their amazing projects:

T. Jones Group. Elements, Vancouver

T. Jones Group represents their clients From Conception to Completion.

When you are surrounded by beautiful scenery, the standard for every project is raised. Vancouver, British Columbia pushes that standard to its absolute limit. The sights are breathtaking. Inspiration is everywhere.

And yet, the T Jones Group builds homes that set them apart from their neighbors. The passion brought to every project is sustainable because the goal remains the same: Learn what the client truly wants, and build it better than they ever imagined.

I love this…

The T. Jones Group has built a foundation dedicated to philanthropy. The Jones Family Foundation.

A project most near and dear to us has been building a four story residency in Tanzania for young women in school in the medical field. We also funded the building of fresh water for the town.

See link below for more info. on Tanzania project:

International Design & Architecture Awards Voting is NOW open until this Friday MARCH 19TH

https://www.thedesignawards.co.uk/category/design-architecture-entrants-2020/

Home

 

Mod Monday Mood

The Next Best Thing to Being There…

Looking for something different to do this week?  Check out these streaming programs that take you into the private spaces and historic places that make Palm Springs a true “Mecca of Modernism.

Architectural Driving Tour of Palm Springs: a fun and informative “top down” architectural tour of Palm Springs from a 1966 convertible Mustang. Get a sneak peek inside a few of the best MCM homes in town! (45 min):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4VaTZdv1cM&feature=youtu.be

The popular video series returns with a brand-new edition, just for the Modernism Week Online Experience!

Come inside some of Palm Springs’ most significant homes. The video series will take you into *5 fabulous Palm Springs homes, where you will walk through the interiors, gardens and grounds and see what makes Palm Springs desert architecture and lifestyle unique. You’ll learn about important architectural and design details, unique furnishings and meet the homeowners or other special guests knowledgable about the property. Your host will be the curator of the selected homes, Modernism Week Board Member Maureen Erbe.

*The houses include The Morse Residence (by Hal Levitt, 1961), The Cahuilla Hills House by O’Donnell + Escalante (by Lance O’Donnell, 2009), The Southridge Glass House (by William Cody, 1963), Trina Turk’s Ship of the Desert (by Erle Webster and Adrian Wilson, 1936), and Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s Villa Grigio (by James McNaughton, 1963). Special thanks to presenting sponsor Dunn-Edwards.

The homes will be located in various neighborhoods in Palm Springs, all with unique architectural character and featuring a variety of architectural styles.

Thank you to our presenting sponsor Dunn-Edwards Paints.  Cost: $45 – A digital keepsake tour program is included with your ticket purchase.

The organizer of this program is Modernism Week. This program is streaming through March 31, 2021.

Check out the 53 minute sneak peek below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ySHDRXTHK8&feature=youtu.be

Previous Post on one of my Modernism home tours (a peek behind the hedges):

https://girlwhowouldbeking.com/2017/02/22/lifestyle-a-peek-behind-the-hedges/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Springs Places: The Monkey Tree Hotel

This week on an unusually windy day, I had the pleasure of checking out another unique hotel.

I was told that the vista looks much more inviting when the umbrellas are opened up, however how lovely is this?  Photo: d. king

Kathy, the gracious owner, escorted me around her delightfully large one-acre property and filled me in on the history surrounding the private 16 room boutique hotel nestled against the backdrop of the dramatic San Jacinto Mountains.   After all, what’s a good hotel here without a story?

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

A bathroom in one of the rooms. btw, all the rooms are different.   Photo: Jake Holt Photography

Originally designed by renowned modernist architect Albert Frey and built in 1960, the hotel re-opened in 2016, after a restoration by its current owners, Kathy and Gary Friedle, to its original mid-century modern design.  The space is very charming and makes you feel at home.  I think you might want to stay for more than one night. The outdoor space includes a lovely heated saltwater pool, the only Scandinavian Spa in the area including dry sauna, hot tub, seating areas and a Smeg retro fridge where guests are welcome to help themselves to the contents. A complimentary continental breakfast and sangria happy hour every day for guests.  What’s not to love?

Bonus: I love that Gary concocts his own teas which guests also have the privilege of sampling from the cart. There’s even a Palm Springs blend which smells heavenly.

Make your selection.  Just a few samples here.  All teas are carefully created in the property kitchen by Gary.  Photo: Jake Holt

The Monkey Tree is located less than a mile from the hustle and bustle Charlie Farrel’s famed Racquet Club. The hotel is a classic example of mid-century modern design and was a get-away for the celebrities who wanted to have some time away from the public.  Palm Springs lore has it that celebrity guests at The Monkey Tree Hotel have included: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Eric Clapton, Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder, and even a JFK and Marilyn visit (guarded at the private entrance of their suite by the secret service).

Entrance to the boutique.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

In 1995, Albert Frey contacted the then owners of the hotel to ask if he could come by for a visit.  At the time, Frey was 92 years old and said that he had not visited the property since it was built.  He rode his bike the four miles from Frey House II where he was living to the hotel in a white polyester pantsuit and burnt orange shirt, arriving dapper as always.  As he toured the property, he shared his inspiration for the layout and design of the hotel with the current owners.  Frey was fascinated by the San Jacinto Mountains and found great inspiration in them. He intended the dramatic slanting roof lines to be in harmony and pay homage to the mountains and the Indians.

Photo: Kathy Friedle

ABOUT THE OWNERS (Kathy & Gary):

After obtaining her Master of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis in 1992, Kathy began her architecture career in New York City.  She worked for Gensler for 20 years in both design and management roles.  Her clients in New York included many prestigious law firms, a well-known California based talent agency and numerous advertising agencies.

Gary has been in the field of financial management for 25 years. He started his career working on a trading desk in New York City then worked with private wealth clients and most recently was the Chief Operating  Officer of a private wealth management firm.  Gary has a passion for long distance running and has participated in several (100-mile) ultra-marathons.

In 2015 an opportunity arose to purchase a boutique hotel in Palm Springs, and the timing and career change seemed right for them and their two teenage sons to try a new adventure on the west coast.  After seeing the great architectural bones of The Monkey Tree hotel they dove in to the restoration of the mid-century modern property which had been largely closed to the public since 1988.  Their first decision was to re-establish the original 1960 name of the hotel and to re-brand, and re-invigorate the property.

Outside the entrance.  Photo: Kathy Friedle

They did just that. I would definitely recommend this hotel.

For bookings:

https://www.themonkeytreehotel.com/

 

Monday Mood: Mission Inn

HISTORY AND BEAUTY AROUND EVERY CORNER

I had the unexpected pleasure of visiting the unique and magnificent Mission Inn Hotel and Spa during this holiday season along with a splendid Festival of Lights that light up the hotel and surrounding areas.  Located in Riverside, California (about a 90-minute drive from Palm Springs with little traffic) and with only two more days until Christmas, let’s just say that this helped get me into the spirit. These photos barely do it justice.

Photo: d. king

The Cornerstone of Downtown Riverside

It is the most unique hotel in America. It’s a monastery, a museum, a fine hotel, a home, a boardinghouse, a mission, an art gallery and an aviator’s shrine. It combines the best features of all of the above. If you are ever in any part of California, don’t miss the famous Mission Inn of Riverside.” – Will Rogers

Photo: d. king

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, is a historic landmark hotel in downtown Riverside, California.  Many presidents (including President Kennedy) stayed there and Richard Nixon married Pat at this hotel.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

The story of the Mission Inn stretches over more than a century and began with the Miller family, migrants to California from Tomah, Wisconsin.  In 1874, civil engineer C.C. Miller arrived in Riverside, began work on a water system, and with his family, began a small boarding house in the center of town.

The Mission Inn’s rise to greatness began in the late 1800’s when wealthy Easterners and Europeans flocked to Riverside in search of both a warmer winter climate and also a way to invest in the area’s profitable citrus industry. By the 1890’s, Riverside was the richest city per capita in the United States. The consistent influx of tourists to Riverside made Frank Miller, the Master of the Inn, recognize the dire need for a grand resort hotel.

It was in that moment that the evolution of The Mission Inn began. Frank Miller opened the first wing, The Mission, of his new hotel in 1903, which was built in Mission-Revival style architecture and incorporated different structural elements of the 21 California Missions. Mr. Miller went on to add three more wings to his hotel: the Cloister, the Spanish and the final addition, the Rotunda wing, in 1931.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 1996, dates back to 1876.

Horse drawn carriages for a fairytale ride. Where’s my Prince?  Photo: d. king

 

Happy Holidays!

References:

https://www.missioninn.com/

https://missioninnmuseum.org/contact/careers/history-mission-inn-hotel-spa/

Header Photo (red ribbon on building) – d. king

Hidden Paradise: The Mesa

Hidden Paradise is the very appropriate tour name given by the Palm Springs Historical Society to refer to The Mesa; an eclectic and beautifully secluded hillside neighborhood.  I took all of these photos two days ago, on the last day of the tour for this season.  It was a hot one….and I’m not referring to just the tour.

Beyond this gate was the home of actor Joseph Cotten (Citizen Kane, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte among many other well known films).

I was invited to go on this relatively new tour, not being aware of how incredibly close in proximity The Mesa is to where I reside. I’m really happy I chose this walking tour from several the society offers because it’s another hidden jewel that I’m told many locals don’t even know about.  Even though some of the homes you can see from a distance, you may not know how to get there.

As they say on their website it is truly a slice of paradise. The amazing variety of architecture  ranges from the romantic Spanish Colonial Revival of the 1920’s to today’s dramatic contemporary styles.  Even one original mid-century modern home that stands out.

Max Factor (the makeup maven) family mansion.  The gate was open; it felt somewhat inviting.

With a glamorous past it has long been home to the Hollywood elite (Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Cher, Joseph Cotten, Henry Mancini, *Johnny Mercer, Jack Warner of Warner Brothers Studios, among others). Many have been celebrities from the World of Music – singers, composers, lyricists and musicians.  Even the cartoonist Lee Holley, known for Denis the Menace and comic strip Bugs Bunny who passed away in his home here just last year.  Our guide told us that he was so friendly he’d give away some of his original cartoon drawings.

Home of cartoonist Lee Holley – a fairly modest home here.

There are many vacation rentals here now too.  One home had no outside windows at all in the front to keep passersby from peering inside.  But I’m telling you; never judge a house from the outside.

Unless you’re lucky enough to get an invite to one of Barry Manilow’s fundraising shindigs, you can see his home and that of his friend Suzanne Somers from the outside only.  However the area itself which is larger than it appears is striking just to walk around and  see the gorgeous gardens.  In fact, it was really more of a garden/landscape tour than home tour – walking around for 2 hours+.

You can see the home of Suzanne Somers in the distance.  She said she can see Barry Manilow in one of the rooms of his home (which is a compound) – way up on the opposite side of the hill.

A crown jewel of desert architecture, Ship of the Desert, is located here.  Designer Trina Turk (love her clothes) resides here.  I’ve seen this home from afar many times. I know a few people who’ve been to a cocktail party inside (there are no hallways) during Modernism week.  They referred to Turk as a lovely and gracious host.

Ship of the Desert. d. king

This home appeared in this magazine in 1936.

and many years later

Michael, our patient tour guide was very knowledgeable about the homes and the people who lived/lives here and entertained us with some anecdotes and juicy gossip.

I highly recommend one of the walking tours (only $20) when visiting or even living in Palm Springs.

Other tours the Historical Society offers are Golden Era (Hollywood Homes of Old Las Palmas), Inns, Architecture and Glamour, The Tennis Club (Celebrity Haven), Rat Pack Playground (and Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood in the Movie Colony), among Private Tours (Architecture gems and Palm Springs Highlights).

See the 3 guard dogs? As easy as it appears to jump this fence…I don’t think so.  I wonder what lies behind that door….Narnia?

*Johnny Mercer wrote 1,500 songs and won 4 oscars.  He’s probably most famous for writing Moon River for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Also the Days of Wine and Roses, Autumn Leaves, etc.  He was a big fan of Barry Manilow and near the end of his life he donated all of his songs to Manilow.

I plan to go on other tours next season.

https://pshistoricalsociety.org/collections/walking-tours

 

 

 

 

Monday Mood: MODERNISM

It’s that time of year again….Palm Springs hosts it’s 14th annual signature event featuring midcentury modern architecture, interior, and landscape design, art and vintage culture from February 14-24, 2019.

Photo credit: Bethany Nauert

Join us for modernist tours, talks, shows, exhibits, films, parties, and much much more.

Photo credit: Christopher Kennedy

Grace Home Furnishings

Photo credit: Lance Gerber

Tickets still available:

https://www.modernismweek.com/

I’m telling you folks….if you’ve never been….it’s something not to be missed.

 

 

 

 

Monday Mood: Martinis on the Mountain

What could be better than sipping martinis in a fabulous home with a view? On a Monday no less!

As part of Modernism Week and a love limit for martinis,  I’m finally going to Martinis on the Mountain.  I’ve heard about it, but every time I’m here it’s always sold out.

Tonight I’m prepared to step back in time at the historic O’Donnell House nestled high above Palm Springs with magnificent views of the valley below.  Looking forward to live entertainment featuring the sounds of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, fab hors d’oeuvres and who knows what else.

O’Donnell House (party 2017)

The evening is also a fundraiser to benefit the Meals On Wheels Program and other programs and services of the Mizell Senior Center.

A bit of architectural history:

The house was built in 1925 for oil tycool Thomas O’Donnell and his wife.  The home originally known as Ojo del Desierto (Eye of the Desert) was designed by architect and artist William Charles Tanner. The 4,200 square foot Mediterranean Revival-Monterey style home features four bedrooms and six fireplaces. In 2000, The O’Donnell House was acquired by its present owners who began its restoration to its former glory. The City of Palm Springs recognized it as a Historic Site in 1986 and in 2000, and in 2011 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Dontini

Specialty of the House (my house)

Everyone agrees that my husband Don made the best martinis.  He specialized in the dirty kind.  Into a chilled martini glass he strained high quality vodka, a splash of vermouth (optional), a bit of olive juice (brine) from the largest olives available which gave it a bit of a cloudy appearance and lastly, three olives on a toothpick.  And my limit was always one two.

ETC:

It’s a Mod Mod World.  I went to the Modernism Preview Party at the Convention Centre the other night.  With a glass of wine in hand, amidst a collection of mid-century modern furnishings, art, jewelery and such,  there was the crowd. I was too enthralled to even take photos.  You’ll just have to use your imagination….but I’m not sure you can even imagine the getups many were wearing.  And I’m referring to mostly the men.

I’m curious…what kind of martinis do you favor?