9 home tours you don’t want to miss as Modernism Week returns to Palm Springs


No city quite embodies the allure of Midcentury Modern design quite like Palm Springs. Last year, an estimated 126,000 visitors flocked to the desert for Modernism Week, the annual 11-day festival devoted to Modernist design and historic preservation. There is a downside to its popularity: Many of this year’s events, running Feb. 14-24, have sold out. If you have tickets to the double-deck architectural bus tours, day trips to Desert X or tours of Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” estate, consider yourself lucky.

Here are some worthwhile events with ticket availability at press time. Please note that some events have age restrictions.


1. The Modernism Week Show House: The Christopher Kennedy Compound

In what has become an annual event, Palm Springs interior designer Christopher Kennedy invites a group of 14 interior decorators to transform a drab 1962 property in Indian Canyons into a modern show house. Participants include Kerry Green, Joe Lucas, Lori Paranjape, Celerie Kemble, Brian Paquette, Keith Fortner, Jeff Schlarb, Michael Berman, Lisa McDennon, Josh Greene, Michelle Boudreau, Chris Barrett, Gordon Kurtis, and, of course, Kennedy. Feb. 16-24. $40.

2. Green Gables

Kevin Kemper and Howard Hawkes of H3K Design once again transform a rundown Midcentury Modern home with stunning results. This 1958 Palmer-Krisel three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is located in the Twin Palms neighborhood and features a high gable roofline, walls of glass and a restored atrium. Feb. 15-17. $30. In addition, the designers offer tips on renovating midcentury homes at a poolside chat with Atomic Ranch editorial director Jickie Torres on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. $40. The house will also host the “Green Gables’ Poolside Fashion Show – The Best of MCM Style” at 5 p.m. Feb. 21. $125.

3. Desert Eichler

Tour a newly built, modern version of an original Eichler house designed by Anshen + Allen and developed by KUD Properties. The emphasis will be on indoor-outdoor living as homeowners Brad and Heather Fox of HGTV’s “Stay or Sell” share their family’s colorful vacation home. Feb. 17-19. $30.

4. The Forgotten Frey

The Albert Frey-designed Cree House, which is perched on a hillside overlooking the desert, is open for tours for the first time since it was built in 1955. The home is furnished with period furniture from Nicholas Lawrence Interior Design firm in partnership with Knoll Furniture, as well as vintage accessories. Feb. 14-24. $40.

5. Axiom Desert House

This newly completed midcentury-inspired system-built home, designed by Joel and Meelena Turkel of Turkel Design, is built with contemporary living in mind. The couple plan to use the house as an experimental “living lab” for their clients and other designers and architects as well as their personal residence. Feb. 22 – 24. $30.

6. Sackley Shadadelic

This three-bedroom, three-bathroom 1979 home by architect Stan Sackley has been completely renovated by Thomboy Properties. Expect classic midcentury horizontal and vertical lines, a sunny yellow fireplace and walls of glass that offer views of the San Jacinto mountains. Feb. 22 – 24. $30.

7. La Vie en Rose

Interior designer Christopher Kennedy transforms this 1958 home in Vista Las Palmas for the 21st century. Updates include a new kitchen and master suite, remodeled kitchen and bathrooms, a casita and new folding-door systems that maximize indoor-outdoor living. Furnishings and décor by Kennedy and his associates. Feb. 16-18. $30.

8. Lautner Compound

John Lautner’s 1947 residential fourplex, formerly known as the Hotel Lautner and now a collection of boutique rentals for architecture buffs, opens its doors to the public once a year for Modernism Week. The tour, which is in Desert Hot Springs, includes an open air event space and a 1957 California Bungalow. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the John Lautner Foundation. Feb. 17 and 24. $50.

9. Signature Home Tour

A self-driven home tour of several different neighborhoods highlights architectural styles spanning vintage Midcentury Modern to “New-Century” Modern. Works of featured architects on the tour include Richard Neutra, E. Stewart Williams, Hugh Kaptur (with a contemporary renovation by Jim Schmidt), a contemporary home by Jim Jennings, and a vintage William Cody in Thunderbird North. Feb. 24. $135.

Modernism Week

Where: Palm Springs

When: Feb. 14-24

Admission: Individual events range from free to $175. Some events are sold out.