Chairs next to Palm Desert Pool
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DIY Mid-Century modern renovation gem in Palm Desert

The greater Coachella Valley area in is the quintessential place to slip away to in Southern California. In fact, many of my friends have bought a second home in the greater Palm Springs area where the mid-century modern homes are all the rage. In fact, there are more mid century homes in the Coachella Valley than anywhere else in the world. Cool fact huh?

My good friends Mark and Stephanie Simpson purchased a vacation home in Palm Desert recently with the intention of freshening up the tired classic mid-century modern home built in 1964.

They wanted to keep the legendary style but add a modern flair. This included keeping the lines in the home basic and simple, with tall and rectangular windows and doors. Clean lines give the mid-century homes a lovely minimalist feel.

DIY Home Remodel On A Budget

The DIY renovation of the two-bedroom, two-bath residence also included the update of the landscaping around the pool including cacti and fruit trees . Highlights of the home include an open indoor/outdoor floor plan that flows nicely with a welcoming modern design that takes this old classic into the new century.

The home design offers ideal indoor-outdoor living which makes this home a very special place. I can’t believe how they were able to transform this home without having to spend big bucks. So impressive.

Palms Desert Mid Century Home
The Midcentury Home Before The Renovation
New Garage on Mid Century Home
After The Remodel

Standing the test of time, their home design captures the feeling of the modernistic architecture. I am excited to share their cozy home styled with rich and nubby textures that give it that deep sense of homey comfort. But before we go there, let’s learn a little more about the type of home design because it is unique.

The Story Behind The Mid-Century Home Design

The mid-century modern home designs have been extremely popular in Palm Springs since 1924 when visionary architects like Pearl McCallum commissioned Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright to design her Oasis Hotel. They built the structure out of concrete blocks using a slip-form technique, creating a uniform pattern in the blocks.

Mid Century Modern Style

Although mid-century modern architecture was all the rage all across America from 1945 to 1969, it’s seen a major resurgence in recent years and expected to continue to increase in demand.   Architects inspired by the desert landscape and modern techniques like the Bauhaus and International Style, 1950s developers adopted what is now called Desert Modernism—a style that dominates the area.

Landscape Renovation Palm Desert Home

Modernism Week In Palm Desert

Palm Springs celebrated its 18th year of Modernism Week. The event attracts modernist fans from across the globe featuring the prominent mid-century modern architects including John Lautner, E. Stewart Williams, A. Quincy Jones, Hugh Kaptur, and Donald Wexler were drawn to Palm Springs because they could produce buildings using modern materials and create innovative, never-tried-before designs.

Palm Springs home remodel

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The Family’s Mid-Century Home Renovation Overview

Before we tour the house, let’s discuss what the historic mid-century modern homes in the greater Palm Springs area are known for. So What is the mid-century modern design?

Mid-Century Modern Architectural & Style Elements

A.  Clean Lines

The initial thing I notice is the flat roofs. Some modern ranch-style homes in Palm Springs feature gabled roofs, but overall, flat roofs and regular geometric lines are the norm. Clean straight lines is the most definitive hallmark of the mid-century contemporary style. Simple design with limited ornamental design features.

B.  Open Concept

Open concept design have multiple views of your outdoor space. Mid-century homes use rocks and trees as a beautiful backdrop. Some have a more simplistic landscape and are built into a hill, making the roofline appear even lower.

Example of block design that was used in 1960

C.  Block Walls

Mid-century architects designed buildings and homes with concrete walls naturally decorated by light and shadows. Pop-outs, angles, and overhangs enliven concrete walls with contrasts of highlights and shade, creating beautiful decoration with patterns which are changing from morning to night. Shadow blocks used as individual units add decorative accents to walls. In fields, they are perfect for geometric patterns and combinations of texture.

D.  Outside Entertaining

The mad men era wouldn’t be complete without a full bar. Many homes in the century style consist of large built in bars and or car carts. A Swimming pool and large entertaining pool deck area.

In order to escape the heat, most homes in the scorching desert have a private pool. The pool area makes for the ideal setting for any party.

E.  Modern Furniture

Scandinavian design, which adhered to the same modernist principles. Although it fixated on furnishings with an organic approach inspired by shapes found in nature.

F.  Innovative Materials

You may see materials like chrome, nickel, and steel combined with natural materials.

G.  Large Windows

Since the desert area offers truly spectacular large open space of natural beauty, residents want to enjoy the glorious views! Homes in the area feature wide, tall windows or walls of glass, and a home with an open floor plan allows residents to enjoy the exceptional view no matter where they’re standing. As a bonus, open floor plans are great for entertaining as they create a natural flow through the home, allowing people to mingle, chat, and grab food or drinks in the kitchen and head out to the pool for sun and relaxation.

H.  Boxy Style

Many mid-century homes have a boxy appearance to allow for more usable living space. You don’t see bay windows on a midcentury home. From what I’ve learned, after WWII ended, soldiers came home and needed a place to live. These homes were relatively easy and quick to build.

I.  Simple Landscape Design

Landscape is fairly plain and many times pebbles, palms, cactus are used in place of mulch and large flowering trees and shrubs except for the bright pink bougainvillea plants seen everywhere.

Mid-Century Modern Design Infographic

The Simpson’s Historic Palm Springs Inspired Remodel

The Simpson family wanted a timeless classic architecture and character that fit the neighborhood, something that would never go out of style. They also wanted to maximize the space they had with an area open feel. For the interiors, they preferred something simple, classical, sleek and modern that fit their family’s style..

Another goal was to keep the cost of the remodel down by doing most of the work themselves. And why not? Both Mark and Stephanie have a brilliant eye for style and detail and have lots of experience in home remodel projects.

Modern garage doors on mid century home
Blue Door On Mid Century Home

The Home Exterior

The garage doors were replaced with a hugely popular modern / contemporary glass garage doors that floor the garage with natural light. The cool blue front door is fits the newly updated home.

The Entry

When you enter the home, you notice the clean white interior styled with colorful accents and modern touches. The home feels bright and cheery and clean. The walls were painted white, and the artwork jumps out and smiles at you. The room is much lighter and brighter than it was before.

Mid Century Home Remodel
Before Remodel
Living Room and Kitchen Remodel Mid Century Home
After the Remodel

Mark tells me that there was originally an enormous stone wall that met you in the entryway. The wall divided the kitchen and living room. It was obtrusive, so they removed the stone and recovered the wall with modern white shiplap. The shiplap is used consistently around the house and flows nicely from one room to another.

MDF shiplap comes pre-primed, has no wood grain and is lighter weight. I love the clean lines it gives, and it has the tongue-and-groove installation style to make spacing effortless.

The Open Concept Living Area

In keeping with the times, the home features a lovely open living space with doors to the pool area. It’s an ideal place to entertain from the kitchen, dining room and outside around the pool area.

Open concept living room

They finished they finished the living room with modern furniture and beautiful furnishings to make you feel right at home.

Shop The Wall Art Here

A lovely dining room table sits next to the kitchen. I love the wood art collage that is featured on the wall. It draws you in. The pink light fixture that hangs over the table is fun and festive.

Mid Century Modern Home remodel
Pink accents in kitchen

The Kitchen

The kitchen custom cabinets in the kitchen were dark but still in good shape, so they simply painted them out and added a white subway tile backsplash and new quartz countertops. 

Cabinets before being repainted
Before The Renovation
Painted Cabinets and new backsplash
After the renovation

The Bathroom Remodel

They completely remodeled both bathrooms. I love the retro styled tile they chose for the floors.

White shiplap was applied to the interior walls in both bathrooms. The shiplap adds texture and pairs well with the white patterned floor tiles and shower. The bathroom vanities are modern and hip.

Bathroom before remodel
Dated Bathroom tile
Before Remodel
Updated bathroom- mid century modern
After Remodel
pool deck mid century modern home
Before Renovation
Patio Renovation Mid Century Home
After Renovation

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The Pool Area Renovation

In the back of the house is a lovely private pool, patio areas and chairs to relax and enjoy the sun and warm evenings. As you can see, they landscaped the landscape around the pool with beautiful up lighting, caucus and fruit trees. Mark laid the patio stone out himself.

The landscape was completed redone by adding appropriate desert plants with uplighting along with fruit trees on the other end of the pool deck. Truly beautiful.

Why Historical Coachella Valley Is Still Booming

Palm Springs is the historical proverbial playground of Hollywood celebrities. In the 1920s, Hollywood movie stars made Palm Springs their weekend retreat of choice. Within a 2-hour drive east of the Hollywood studios in Los Angeles, it’s easy to see why the demand for real estate in the areas is booming.

Now days it’s also known for a fun and laid-back destination for anyone who wants to a enjoy a posh desert home or vacation. The city of Palm Springs has a rich history and is fun to visit, full of culture and good food. I hear the hot springs will be brought back to life for the public to enjoy soon again.

Just east of Palm Springs, Palm Desert lies between the cities of Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells, CA. The city has over 30 golf courses, hiking trails, resorts, shopping and much more.

La Quinta is nearly surrounded by the Santa Rosa Mountains serves as the backdrop for such world-class golf classics and La Quinta Arts Festival.The city’s fairy tale started in the 1920s with the creation of La Quinta Resort & Club (2), which now includes restaurants, golf courses, tennis courts, a spa, and more.

Old Town La Quinta , within the La Quinta Village, is alive with sidewalk café’s, concerts, art shows, a weekly organic farmers’ market, and Moonlight Movies on the lawn.  Finally, The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club happens Indio. Coachella is world renowned.

Check out my own home renovation here and the 12 important lessons we learned in the process.

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One Comment

  1. chris bear says:

    Loved this article and got some great ideas!!

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