Highlights from Modernism Week 2019

Last week I made what is usually a 1.5 hour trek from Los Angeles to Palm Springs to attend the opening weekend festivities of Modernism Week – a 10 day long celebration of modern architecture, art, and design that attracts modern design enthusiasts to Palm Springs every February. This year, I was hosted by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Jenn-Air Appliances, and Brizo and had the fortunate opportunity to tour several noteworthy homes in Palm Springs. Today I am taking you through two properties that are connected with prominent men and modern design aficionados.

Because of the recent rain and all the main roads into town being washed away, my usual 1.5 drive into town took an almost unheard of 5 hours, but the experience at the first stop of Modernism Week, the Dinah Shore Estate (AKA Leonardo di Caprio’s home) built in 1964 by renown architect Donald Wexler, was well worth it.

Appliance giant Jenn-Air selected the Dinah Shore Estate as the backdrop for “Embrace the Night”, an exclusive screening of their new ad campaign featuring their newest introductions. Upon our arrival at the estate, we toured the living quarters before making our way to the backyard.

The master suite features a warm and cozy seating area with texture galore.

The adjoining master bath is a sharp contrast to the bedroom, with sleek surfaces – a peek-a-boo sink:

The expansive entry hall:

The living room and office/media room:

The guest bedrooms are identified by color, the first being red:

Up next is the blue bedroom and bath. Sleek, sexy and very blue.

The green bedroom and bath is a little more soothing to the eye:

The kitchen was recently renovated and is outfitted with the latest appliances from Jenn-Air. The matte black interior of the refrigerator and the 48″ Rise pro range with mixed metal accents is on-trend and perfect for the home chef.

The intricate knurling on the refrigerator handles is a beautiful, contrasting texture to the smooth stainless steel panels.

Situated opposite the pool is the guest house.

The grounds provide a perfect setting for a Palm Springs soirée…….a

…and to perfect backdrop to showcase Jenn-Air’s new appliance introductions.

It’s show time!! The premiere of Jenn-Air’s edgy ad campaign:

The 2019 Christopher Kennedy Compound, now in its 5th year, is a labor of love for Palm Springs designer Christopher Kennedy. Each year, Christopher gathers a mix of talented designers from around the country (many of which are friends) Together they embark on renovating a property, with Christopher at the helm, to create a vibrant and cohesive property that is showcased to the public for 10 days. It is professionally photographed for publication – nationally for Traditional Home and locally for California Home + Design. If that isn’t enough, the proceeds from tickets sold go to raise funds for Modernism Week’s preservation and education efforts.

This year’s home is 3550 square feet, built in 1962 (architect unknown) and is located in the prestigious Indian Canyons section of Palm Springs. Like many homes in this area, it backs up to the greens of the Indian Canyons Golf Resort.

The living room, designed by Joe Lucas of Lucas Studio is a pleasant play on pattern, scale, and texture. The color palette is a contrast of neutrals and smoky shades of blue, and punctuated by a muted coral that makes several appearances around the room, allowing the eye to wander about.

The dining room, designed by New York and Palm Beach-based designer Celerie Kemble pulled out all the stops for the dining room, a unique, hexagon-shaped space filled with a contrast of patterns, shapes and materials. A balance was created between the lighting above (Celerie’s own design for Arteriors) and the reflection of the patterned hair on hide rug on the brass table base, grounding the space with a dramatic, optical illusion.

LA and Palm Springs-based designer Michael Berman provides the visitors with lots of reasons to “ooh and aah” in the master bedroom. The ingenious mirror above the bed doubles as a peek-a-boo porthole into the master bathroom (and also provides the bathroom with natural light when open).

I always love how Michael infuses a sense of humor into his spaces, and even the smallest gestures do not go unnoticed.

The powder room, designed by Keith Fortner, is also another highlight. Small but very mighty. A back-lit Corian onyx vanity sports my favorite cast glass vessel sink and a Brizo wall-mount faucet from the Sotria collection. The vintage sconces and custom patched hair on hide rug by Mike Ragan/RAGS brings warmth from the living spaces into a space that is traditionally for function only. I didn’t have a great photo of the rug in situ so below see a picture of the rug – it picks up the icy tones in the countertop, but the texture and organic pattern play makes it feel anything but icy!

The office, designed by Jeff Schlarb mixes modern with a touch of traditional. Large-scale houndstooth drapery is accented by a pom-pom trim on the leading edge, giving it a playful touch.

The office powder room, also designed by Jeff Schlarb is a graphic mix of black and white tile engineered in a bold pattern, sure to turn heads. The green painted walls give the space a fresh, modern twist. After all, color is making its way back into kitchens and baths in a BIG way. When I posted this pic on my Instagram feed, a couple people mentioned that it reminded them of the kitchen I designed for last year’s Pasadena Showcase House kitchen. Perhaps that’s why I like this bathroom so much?!?

Making our way into the rear of the house is the pool house, designed by Michelle Boudreau. Here, tropical accents are juxtaposed with modern elements. A color palette of rose, emerald green, and neutrals result in a calming, tropical oasis. I especially love the contrast wallpaper in the closet – the pattern used is a color summary of all the colors used in the room and a pleasant surprise behind the modern closet door fronts.

The kitchen was designed by Christopher Kennedy himself and showcases the latest in technology and innovation in the kitchen. Appliances from the newly launched Noir Collection by Jenn-Air and plumbing by Brizo, both provided by Ferguson, are featured throughout. Brizo’s single handle articulating faucet in the kitchen with the fully retratable sliding window is definitely a hit and provides the ultimate in versatility without having to sacrifice appearance, and the cool factor is top notch!

A vibrant backsplash made by Alex Turco provides movement and a splash of color in contrast to the starkness of the appliances and cabinetry. A TV lift at the end of the island is an extra perk when cooking in the kitchen. The kitchen isn’t just for cooking anymore.

Outdoors, the landscape magic was created by the talented Gordon Kurtis. The design work of Lori Paranjape, Chris Barrett, Lisa McDennon is sprinkled throughout the backyard in the dining and seating areas.

Kurtis unifies the upper level of the backyard space with the lower level by integrating stairs into the slope. In doing so, he creates a space that is not removed from the rest of the action but rather acts as an extension of the space.

Thanks again to Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Jenn-Air and Brizo for hosting me for the weekend. I truly enjoyed seeing their product installed and in use in the homes I visited. In addition to seeing the product in the homes, I was able to play around with the product at CAMP, the home base for Modernism Week, for a close up look.

What I enjoyed most about Jenn-Air is the Cooking Modules – after all, it’s all about customization these days and the modules allow you to tailor your cooking just the way you like it, integrating gas cooking, induction, down draft, etc.

Brizo showcased their more recent collections, but what really stood out above the crowd was the limited edition Brizo Vettis Concrete faucet. Only 500 were made – hand-sculpted by British Columbia sculptor Christopher Shannon. Each faucet is fiber reinforced and hand poured, giving each faucet a distinct texture, color and style.

Photo: Dylan J Riley

Next stop I’m heading out to Atlanta tonight on the red eye to attend the Design Influencers Conference! There will be more coverage on the other homes I toured while at Modernism Week but as I’ve been on the run since last week, I’ve only had time to post this. I returned home yesterday from KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, where I saw the latest trends and innovations. Here’s a hint at what I DIDN’T see – white and grey kitchens are passé and I couldn’t be happier. Stay tuned – my KBIS trend report will be epic as I have SO much to share!

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