Starting as early as the 1920’s, modernist architects and builders began flocking to the Coachella Valley with their sights set on Palm Springs. Encouraged by a growing tourism industry, strongly led by Hollywood celebrity vacationers, these visionaries sought to bring about a new, indulgent approach to modern architecture and style. The particular brand of design that resulted is unique to the area. Palm Springs MCM style is so distinctive that it has been classified as its own aesthetic, officially dubbed “Desert Modernism.”
Palm Springs MCM style is popular again – some might say it never went out of fashion. The look is accomplished by incorporating bright pops of color, tribal patterns and striking reflective metal finishes amid more neutral, light-colored backdrops. You’ll see less wood grain and more clean-neutral surfaces as well as minimal interior texture to balance with that of the surrounding nature. The San Jacinto Mountains that wrap around the area and are almost always within view, provide plenty of natural texture. The overall look of Desert Modernism is glamorous, bright, crisp and clean.
So, how can you incorporate the style into your home? Read on for our top tips.
Layer Reflective Finishes
Desert Modernism is a thoughtful mixture of glamorous and crisp finishes. Bring the sparkle by incorporating elements with reflective finishes. These items can include anything from the chrome legs of furniture, to mirror-finish tchotchkes and even metallic art. These design elements can be small touches or large-scale installations throughout a space.
Use Like Light, Neutral Colors
As a general theme with Palm Springs MCM style, it’s all about keeping your space immaculate in appearance. There’s no easier way to accomplish a clean looking room than to use light, neutral color throughout. More often than not, the choice neutral color is white, with “desert sand” coming up second. Use the neutral colors for the flooring, walls, surfaces, etc. and then add in colorful surprises (more on that in the next tip).
Add Pops of Color in an All White Space
A common design motif in Desert Modernism is to deck out a room in all white and throw in bright pops of color. You can choose the same color or a variety of colors. A good method is to focus on incorporating your pops of color in a variety of sizes and shapes. These accents can include anything in the space such as artwork and decorative ornaments. You can even add in a colorful sofa chair if you’re up for it!
Go (Drought Tolerant) Outside
Xeroscaping is a landscaping style requiring little, to no irrigation. The drought-tolerant style is common in Palm Springs. It was popularized during the original modernism movement. The style carries the same crisp, effortless design on the inside to the outside.
If you have the budget for it, a landscape designer can help you achieve the look. You might even qualify for a rebate in California by converting your water-guzzling yard to an H2O-sipping landscape. If you’re looking for a DIY project, visit a local nursery to find some drought-tolerant ornamental grasses and large succulents along with sand and gravel. You can go bold with some cacti. Ask the staff for instructions on planting and watering. With a weekend’s work, your property will be transformed into a desert oasis.
However you incorporate Palm Spring MCM Style, as long as you keep the words crisp and glamorous in mind, you can’t go wrong!
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