A neglected midcentury home is transformed into a Palm Springs showstopper

For Ingrid Jackel, the remodel of her Palm Springs weekend home was all about joy, emotion and color.

"I have an intense job," said Jackel, chief executive of the natural beauty brand Yes To. "So I went looking for an oasis where I can feel at peace."

As a fan of Midcentury Modern architecture, Jackel didn't have to go far from her Pasadena home to find a weekend pied-a-terre.

"Your breathing changes when you are in Palm Springs," Jackel said of the desert's allure. "It's an hour and a half away from L.A. and yet it feels like another world. I like that it's charged with Old Hollywood glamour. I wanted to bring a home back to that time."

After touring a four-bedroom, three-bath 1960 home designed by Glendale architect Clair Earl, she knew she had found her escape.

Despite being neglected for years, the bank-owned home had the classic midcentury touches that Jackel admired: A tall, pitched roof, tongue-and-groove ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. The home also featured decorative-patterned concrete blocks and a larger scale than most of the homes she had toured. Ultimately there were 19 bids on the house.

She describes the preservation project that followed as deeply personal. "I wanted it to be mine inside," Jackel said. "I didn't want to return it to a museum state. I wanted my friends and their kids and dogs to be able to come here and celebrate with me."

Working with Kevin Kemper and Howard Hawkes of HK3, a Palm Springs interior design and restoration firm, Jackel transformed the house over 18 months. (The designers will offer remodeling tips, followed by a guided tour of the house, on Feb. 17 as part of Modernism Week.)

"This house is so different from other midcentury homes in that it's one-of-a kind," Kemper said. "It has a 'Jetsons,' Space-Age feel. The architect built three homes in a row [on the street] as show homes."

In an effort to balance that feel with modern living, the designers kept it simple. They retained the home's 2,200-square-foot layout and updated the plumbing, electrical, HVAC and roof. Low ceilings were raised to open up the interiors and clerestory windows were added to bring in more light and mountain views. Because of extensive termite damage — something of a surprise in the desert — they were forced to remove the drywall and plaster. And in an effort to provide better insulation, many of the original windows were replaced with period-appropriate dual-pane, low-e aluminum framed windows

In a move that opened up the main living area, the designers removed the wall between the kitchen and living room and ripped out the entire kitchen. New IKEA cabinets and a vibrant orange Silestone island are both functional and fun. "It was the most vibrant color of orange we could find," Kemper said.

White porcelain tile floors, Wow ceramic kitchen tile and Dunn Edwards "Whisper" paint set a neutral palette that helps to accentuate Jackel's obsession with the color orange, which explains why the house, which will also be open for tours during Modernism Week, is affectionately called "Maison a l'Orange."

"It's a happy color and makes me feel good," Jackel said. "I love the sun. I'm originally from the South of France. It appeals to my passionate side."

Indeed, it's an uplifting place with bold pinks, oranges and aqua tones courtesy of the poolside umbrellas and chaise lounges, custom furnishings, wallcoverings and Trina Turk textiles.

And in a move that might explain why you'll find people snapping pictures from the curb, the home features bright orange double doors, painted a custom Dunn Edwards color to match the kitchen island.

"The house really struggled with its identity before," Hawkes said.

No longer.

"It's a happy home," Jackel said. "I wanted to be able to enter the house and have a big smile on my face. Now, when we come,we don't want to leave."

What: Modernism Week

Where: Palm Springs

When: Feb. 15-25

Admission: Individual events range from free to $150. Some events are sold out.

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