According to Dictionary.com “Kitsch” is defined as: something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste. As clean and classic as I’ve tried to keep my home, I haven’t been able to completely escape the kitsch. I admit to loving the mid-century crazes of owls and grapes.
I complained about the price of some mid-century modern accessories. More specifically, glass grapes. Having become a Etsy.com shop owner and attempting to start a business of my own based around all things mid-century modern I have become keenly aware of the time, research, effort and GAS it takes to find these sought-after treasures. I better understand now why some items I see are so very expensive. Readers, I stand corrected. (That’s not to say there aren’t complete rip-off artists out there in the MCM world…because there are. It’s up to you to decide for yourself what something is worth to you.)
More to that point, the process of decorating my living room in mid-century style is now complete and I’ve moved on to what we’ll call the “den.” It’s the room that we actually live in: the one that’s most often covered in my son’s dinosaurs and super heroes. When clean, it was an “okay” space; it was missing something. I figured out what that something was when watching an episode of my favorite show on t.v. right now, New Girl. If you haven’t seen it, you should. The star of the show is the ever quirky and adorable Zooey Deschanel who is surrounded by an equally bizarre but charming cast.
Do you see them? Are those lucite grapes not PERFECT in all their blue glory? They were taunting me…making an appearance in episode after episode. I had to have them. They matched my “scheme” and accent pillows….but where would I find them? Answer: Etsy.com, where everything is.
So, after all my lecturing about how much things should cost, I will admit to my hypocrisy. For some things, I’m willing to stretch the budget just a bit; even if it is “kitsch.” If you want them bad enough you can have your grapes and eat them too.
If you’re lucky enough to get to Palm Springs, California, you can’t miss N. Palm Canyon Drive, in the heart of the city. The best part of Palm Springs for you Modernist junkies is that the city itself and it’s architecture is almost frozen in time. Palm Springs was built up in the 50’s and 60’s during the height of the mid-century modern movement. It’s a place famous for it’s “Desert Modernism” architecture that has been so well preserved for all of us to enjoy today. Even the old town shops that originated in the 1930’s still remain as mini-museums open to the public. What IS new in Palm Springs are many of the mid-century modern and modern boutiques that line N. Palm Canyon Drive. Distinctivehome PS (Palm Springs) is just one of them.
This should be a lesson to you all: Mid-Century Modern does NOT have to look OLD. In fact, I found this store to be very reasonably priced. If your decor is in desperate need of a pop of color or fabulous wall art, head over to distinctivehomePS. You will not be disappointed.
Other notable shops to look for on N. Palm Canyon Drive:
I thought I’d found my happy place…until I arrived in Palm Springs, California. There is no place on earth quite like it. Palm Springs has one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern architecture anywhere. The yearly offered Modernism Week is a one-of-a-kind celebration of these beautiful buildings and homes. It’s remarkable to think that so many of them have been preserved and restored so that they can be revered even today.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, William Cody and William Krisel are just a few of the incredible minds and hands that helped shape this gorgeous community. You cannot drive anywhere in Palm Springs without witnessing the simplicity and beauty of mid-century modern design.
Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, William Holden and Steve McQueen called Palm Springs home at one point.
Next year, I fully intend on doing the Modernism Week right by attending the walking tours, bus tours and home tours. I’ll be saving up and have something to look forward to. However, if you’re on a budget like our family was this time around, you can take what I call the poor man’s tour any time of the year.
When you drive into Palm Springs, you can’t miss the gorgeous Tramway Gas Station built in 1965 by Albert Frey and Robson C. Chambers, which now serves as the city’s visitor center.
Pick up a “Map of Modern Palm Springs” for $5 and you will hold in your hand a detailed treasure map that features addresses and building history for all the modern points of interest in the city, which are too many to tackle in one day. For you nerd bomber Apple lovers, you can download the app at palmspringslife.com/psmodapp directly on to your Apple device.
Here are just a few pictures we took on our self-guided tour:
There is certainly no shortage of MCM to fill your cup. It’s definitely a new favorite spot for me. Now to manage a weekend away….now that I’ve seen it, I have to get back!
Next week, I’ll feature just one of the many mid-century modern/modish boutiques on Palm Canyon Drive. The shops alone are worth a trip…