Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Palm Springs, California

I recently escaped the cold winter weather and explored (mostly) sunny Palm Springs, California. I say mostly because 1 of my 4 days there included an unusual gloomy, albeit warm, rainy day.
Known as the retreat of the Rat Pack and full of Mid-Century modern architecture, I was pleased to find some older buildings to interest the classicist in me.
The El Paseo building in the Uptown Design District was built in 1927 and is of the fitting Spanish style that fits so well with the sunny weather. White washed walls repel the strong sun and the clay tile roofs help to keep the roof ventilated and cool.
Across the street were a number of other interesting older Spanish buildings, full of charm. Of course I was mostly interested in the blue skies and warm air!
This building above directly across the street has seen better days but if you look past the broken windows and worn exterior the concrete structure is really beautiful. The antique shop inside is entertaining as well.
Of course when one thinks of Palm Springs one thinks of its' famous houses. Neutra's famous Kaufmann House from 1947 was an exciting find -click the link for a great tour at Architectural Digest.
Another fun find although on an entirely different level, was driving by Liberace's house below.  The Old Las Palmas neighborhood is full of beautiful mid-century houses and lush gardens.
Palm Springs is a surprisingly small town with the main activity (after golfing) being sitting Poolside.
I stayed at the beautiful Colony Palms Hotel and can't recommend it highly enough: both for style and most of all location.
Shopping is another popular past time particularly for vintage home goods (fun for me!). I have to recommend (the unfortunately named) Just Fabulous for its wonderful and stylish book collection and gifts just a block from the hotel.
I used the Elle Decor travel tips (very useful) to find a lot of the better vintage stores and weed out the junk (literally). The best string of about 5 shops I found thanks to that magazine are in a sort of run-down business park just outside of Palm Springs in Cathedral City adjacent to its best store, Hedge. I was a bit surprised to find the stores empty on a Saturday during the high season but after the shabby treatment I received in most of the shops (Hedge was moderately friendly) I wasn't so surprised.  After trying to get help in 2 (empty) shops to purchase something and receiving no recognition I just left with empty hands. More money to spend elsewhere!  Is it because I'm much under the average age in Palm Springs of 80?  I still have money to spend!
Shop owners beware; finding great merchandise is only 1/2 the battle.  Selling it to VERY willing customers is just as important! Customer service matters particularly with high end merchandise.


Pigtown*Design said...

I DON'T GET IT!!!! Why do shopkeepers behave so badly to people who WANT to spend money in their stores. It kills me!

Karena Albert said...

Dear Stefan, I love your comment about being under 80 and ignored! Their loss! When I lived in San Diego, Palm Springs was a great getaway and I always enjoyed it. The surrounding area is god to explore,we stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells.

Featuring "Inner Spaces"

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Pigtown- it was really disappointing! Interesting merchandise but nothing is worth rudeness.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Karena, I didn't know you lived in San Diego!! LUCKY! Learn something new from our blogger friends everyday :-)

home before dark said...

Funny about the 80 comment and I'm 65! I don't appreciate Palm Springs. All that mid-century thing,the desert and cliffs hugging close. Sets off my claustrophobia—CREEPS ME OUT! My husband goes every year for business and I stay in Kansas. In the winter. That's how much I dislike it. But San Francisco is a different story. Funny. I prefer SF's gray skies (and great food) to the mess of Palm Springs. Glad you got away, though!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

HBD, I can't imagine living there,but I found the setting to be really stunning at the base of the mountains. Certainly much different than Kansas!!

Mark Ruffner said...

Dear Stefan,

Your comment about rude shopkeepers reminds me of a book by Stanley Marcus, of Neiman-Marcus fame. He wrote "Minding the Store," about his life in the department store, and it's a very entertaining and well-written book. In it, he mentions that he had to teach all of his salespeople not to make judgements based on appearances because in the 1940's many very wealthy, newly oil-rich people came into the store dressed just like the Beverly Hillbillies!

Kerry Steele- Design du Monde said...

For some reason people (mistakenly) believe that snobbery should be part of the high end package. I really can't stand being made to feel unwelcome in a shop.

Hels said...

I know of all the Bauhaus architects from Germany who fled to other countries, mostly as soon as the Nazis closed the place down. You say that Neutra left in 1923, too early for me to be aware of his own practice. Yet the Kaufmann House in post-war Palm Springs reminds me very much of the Bauhaus homes in the NE corner of the US.

Many thanks - I will have a good look at your post on the Edgar J. Kaufmann holiday home.