After 2 Virtual Years Mid-Mod Swings Again Featuring Tours of Frank Sinatra Estate
Palm Spring Modernism Week
For years Midcentury Modern aficionados have come from ’round the world to gather in Palm Springs, California to experience full immersion in all things Mid-Mod! After two pandemic-forced mostly virtual years, the big one is finally back! And to say Mid-Mod loyalists couldn’t be more ready is at best an understatement.
From interior designers and architects, to movie and pop stars, to everyday people in love with the one-of-a-kind era, Modernism Week is again the official mecca for international lovers of the timeless art, a time and a place to gather and reflect on the futuristic shapes and designs of the not-so-long-ago past. This year, those mad for Mid-Mod will celebrate from February 17-27.
In 2018, an estimated 125,000 people from all 50 U.S. States and 19 countries joined the festivities; and by 2019 the number had grown to 162,000. With Midcentury Modern furniture, architecture, paintings, and fashion, the annual celebration continues to grow each year.
Modernism Week – Featured Home Tours
The 11-day festival that is Modernism Week is, of course, a celebration of all things Midcentury Modern, but the highlight is the tour of iconic homes – designed by renowned architects and owned by celebrities and film stars – that clearly steal the spotlight. This year is no different!
Visitors need to take careful note when perusing the tour schedule: some homes have multiple showings while others are single day occasions; some tours are by bus through neighborhoods and some are on foot through homes. Here’s a short list of some of the expected big-hit tours this year taken from the official event program.
Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” Estate Tour – The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation will host a tour of Frank Sinatra’s storied “Twin Palms” estate, designed by modernist architect E. Stewart Williams in 1947
Midcentury Top Ten Tour: Ten Architects Who Made Palm Springs Modern – Join architectural guide Trevor O’Donnell for an in-depth exploration of the works of ten talented modernists whose careers in the city’s midcentury heyday left a legacy that’s now famous worldwide.
Maison Bleue Moderne – Welcome to Maison Bleue Moderne by Michelle Boudreau Design, a celebration of original architecture, modern technology and midcentury design details in Palm Springs’ Vista las Palmas neighborhood.
Seventies Sackley – Join this architectural home tour in Indian Canyons to experience the seamless blend of contemporary furnishings and vintage pieces on display at the Seventies Sackley by Grace Home Furnishings.
Edith Farnsworth: Fierce and Fearless. An Elegant Afternoon Reception in Support of the Edith Farnsworth House – The iconic Farnsworth House, designed by Mies van der Rohe, recently turned 70, and in honor of its patron, Edith Farnsworth, has officially been renamed the Edith Farnsworth House.
Modernism Week Featured Design Project Tour: Limón – Tour Limón, a colorful seven-bedroom private escape in South Palm Springs inspired by the optimistic era and continental graphics and style of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
Wexler’s Hidden Gem: Twin Springs Home Tour and Cocktail Party – Tour six homes in a unique, Donald Wexler-designed condo community followed by a vintage fashion show and poolside cocktails.
Midcentury Modern Influential Elements to Watch For
If you’re new to the Midcentury Modern scene, then the sheer volume of incredible sights might be overwhelming. In the middle of action-packed days at Modernism Week, you don’t want to miss the forest for the trees! Here are a few cornerstones of mid-century design to observe:
“Midcentury Modern architecture seeks to integrate the home with nature; with an affinity for large windows, earth-inspired materials like wood and stone, and open floor plans that fill the house with natural light. Sharp, clean exterior lines and gentle slopes allow Midcentury Modern buildings to show off futuristic and geometric shapes.
“Then, indoors, this design aesthetic continues to timelessly blend natural light, earthy materials, and bold art pieces. Furniture is often an effortless pairing of woods and glassware; the pieces themselves feature straight lines and geometric shapes. Décor is simple but tastefully bold: a large vase, a space-age chandelier, and bright, abstract art pieces. The art tends to combine neutral tones with bright hues, clean lines with playful shapes, and pastel colors with neons.”
– “Home Décor for the Midcentury Modern Enthusiast,” From Ashley Kendrick Real Estate blog.
Modernism Week – Additional Sights
Event-goers can expect to experience Midcentury Modern beyond the home tours. From car expos to jazz concerts, there’s a little something for everyone (including Star Trek fans!). Check out a just few of the peripheral events listed in the official guide!
A Party at Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate Celebrating Gene Kelly Through Dance – A special twilight reception at Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate in tribute to the dance legacy of the legendary Gene Kelly, with special guest, Mrs. Gene Kelly.
Modernism Week Vintage Car Show – More than 50 vintage cars from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s will be on display at this free event.
Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance – A talk on visually vibrant midcentury dance albums from a golden age of cover design and their contribution to the story of American identity, including fashion, popular music and dance parties.
Star Trek Modern: The Midcentury Designers Who Furnished the Final Frontier – A tribute to notable midcentury designers, whose furniture and decorative arts were employed in the original Star Trek TV series to portray the 23rd century.
An Afternoon of Jazz at a Modernist-Inspired Old Las Palmas Estate – Jazz cellist Kye Marshall returns to Modernism Week after sold-out performances.
Thursday Free Films – An afternoon of free film screenings of some of Modernism Week’s most popular and acclaimed video content and films originally released online in 2021. This is the premier live screening for audiences.
Midcentury Modern Architecture in Kansas City
Real estate professional Ashley Kendrick, along with her wife Sarah, a talented interior design expert, are huge fans of the midcentury modern movement. In fact, Ashley and Sarah attended Modernism Week themselves in 2019. “It was really spectacular,” Ashley commented in a previous blog. “The incredible houses, the furniture, the hotels, the parties, really the whole city was eye-candy for anyone who appreciate the Midcentury aesthetic. The design was inspiring; there’s no question we picked up some inspiration for future renovation projects.”
Learn more about the highlights of their trip, the iconic places they stayed, and a one-of-a-kind party the couple attended; you can find all this and more on Ashley’s blog here!
Ashley and Sarah have such a deep fondness for the “Mid-Mod” design aesthetic that they selected that design style in choosing their own Kansas City home. But, beyond their own home, the Kendricks have kept a close eye out for midcentury fixer-uppers in need of a little TLC to return them to their former midcentury modern glory – even if the design and renovation task is a little daunting.
According to Ashley Kendrick:
“We love the architectural style, and it means a lot to us to rescue these old mid-mods that have great bones – but are in need of updates expected by today’s homeowner. It might involve refinishing floors, remodeling a kitchen or baths, or fixing a fireplace stack or adding a same-floor laundry area. Regardless of the improvements needed we are highly respectful of the existing architecture. Like a doctor’s oath – first, do no harm.”
This perfectly paired Realtor and design couple definitely possess the passion, the vision and the talent required to embrace this unique real estate niche. While Midcentury Modern has a nice representation in Kansas City architecture, Mid-Mod homes are not often available. So, when the opportunity to get into one strikes, the Kendricks are ready to bring their unique set of skills to these one-of-a-kind homes. Whether purchasing midcentury houses in need of TLC and then transforming them back into Midcentury Modern beauties and then offering them up for sale – or holding onto the properties themselves, the Kendrick’s love being a part of the preservation of the midcentury architecture movement.
For a little example of their recent midcentury home renovation work, take a look at this Overland Park home they’ve remodeled and turned into a lovely Airbnb! (And, if you can’t make the trip to Modernism Week and would still like a taste of the Midcentury Modern vibe, then try staying in the Kendricks’ incredible Airbnb! )
Know of a midcentury house in KC need of repair that might be available? It’s always a great idea to reach out to the Kendricks – they’d love to take a look! Or, should you be on the hunt for just the right eye-catching home of your own, just contact Ashley to see what listings may soon be available!