Fine Print: Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise

Back in February, when we really needed the sunshine, I received a review copy of this design book by photographer Tim Street-Porter. As you might imagine, Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise by Tim Street-Porter (Rizzoli, February 2018) showcases the mid-century modern architecture of Palm Springs, a modern desert oasis.

Examples include jet-set homes designed by Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, and Paul Williams, as well as private residences by tastemakers, including fashion designer Trina Turk, who penned the book’s foreword and owns a home there.

The pages are glossy and gorgeous; it makes a good housewarming gift if you’re spending the weekend with any modernists this summer.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Rizzoli 2018

Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise by Tim Street-Porter

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Living Room

Living room of Trina Turk’s home The Ship of the Desert. It was designed by Los Angeles architects Adrian Wilson and Earle Webster in 1936 in the architectural style is known as Streamline Moderne. The sofas are Vladimir Kagan.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Preppy Dining Room

President Gerald and Betty Ford’s home, which they commissioned after Ford’s defeat by Jimmy Carter in 1976. It’s designed by architect Welton Becket, who designed the Capitol Records Building and Pan-Pacific Auditorium in L.A. This is the dining room, which still contains the original dining table, chairs, and wall murals. (The chandelier is a later addition.) Annie Leibovitz shot this portrait of Betty Ford here in this dining room.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Conversation Pit

Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard bought Villa Grigio in 2014. It was designed by architect James McNaughton in 1964. The site was originally part of the Barbara Hutton estate, near the first Palm Springs residence of Frank Sinatra. This is the living room’s sunken conversation pit. The view looks out bowed glass windows to the patio and pool.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Round Tub

The master bath of Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s Villa Grigio echoes the living room design.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise White Eames Chair

This is a minimalist glass house designed by William F. Cody in 1967. It has views across the Coachella Valley.  The master bedroom, complete with an Eames lounge and Mies van der Rohe Barcelona daybed, opens to the pool.

Palm Springs Modernist Paradise Desert Architecture

The Albert Frey House II, which the architect designed for himself on a steeply sloped lot overlooking the city of Palm Springs, 220 feet above the desert floor. It’s built right inot the rocks.

 

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Get the Look: 20 Dresses Under $500

It’s the season of graduations, weddings, and cocktail parties out on the patio; you know you’re going to need at least one new summer dress. I always feel much less stressed buying a new dress at the beginning of the season, when there are plenty of sizes and styles, and more importantly, no real stress to find something.

Here are 20 summer dresses, all under $500 (many much less expensive than that), appropriate for celebrating in balmy temps. A number of these summer dresses can be easily dressed up or dressed down, depending on your footwear and accessories. I’ve included a number of silhouettes appropriate for varying body types, and tried to avoid the abundance of flounces that are everywhere this season.

Selections include affiliate links to pieces from StyleCarrot sponsors, but are all my own choices.

Shop For Summer Dresses Under $500

Dee Elly / 2 Cefinn / 3 Equipment / 4 Pixie Market / 5 Reiss

Shop For Summer Dresses Under $500

7 Reiss / 8 Pixie Market / 9 Julia Jordan / 10 P.A.R.O.S.H. / 11 Alice and Olivia

Shop For Summer Dresses Under $500

12 Vince Camuto /13 Maggy London / 14 DVF / 15 Joie / 16 Cos

Shop For Summer Dresses Under $500

17 J.Crew / 18 Draper James /19 Ted Baker / 20 Azalea

 

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Design Diary: Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation by Helios Design Group

I write a lot of one page design columns for Boston Globe Magazine. This one, published last fall with photos by Jared Kuzia, is one of my favorites. A restaurant industry couple hired Ariel Roth of Boston-based architecture and interior design firm, Helios Design Group, to renovate their kitchen in Jamaica Plain in a simple Scandinavian style, with an eye on the budget.

Roth started by moving the exterior door to the patio (and swapping it out for a full glass version that lets in light) in order to fit cabinetry and a new Wolf range with red knobs on a previously blank wall. Speckled penny tiles from Discover Tile are a fun touch that add a bit of color and interest. Love the inky blue walls? It’s Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue. The color allows the cabinets to stand out.

Speaking of kitchen cabinetry, Roth collaborated with local eco-friendly business Boston Building Resources on the cabinetry design, and donated the old cabinets to them for repurposing. The surface of the cabinets are done in simple white laminate, moments of exposed plywood edges, as well as the modern cut-outs in place of hardware, make them interesting. Roth says, “The plywood accents developed as we went along. The homeowners were into it, so at one point had exposed all the edges. Ultimately we pulled back and use plywood edge accents.”

Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation Helios Boston

Photo by Jared Kuzia

The homeowners initially fell in love with a $2,000 light fixture, but it just didn’t fit into the budget, so they decided on this acrylic orb. It’s the Bel Occhio 16 pendant lamp by Pablo Designs.

The Compass dining table from CB2 designed by Ceci Thompson  has an engineered wood high-gloss lacquered top and a glossy powder-coated, radial-shaped steel base. The red molded plastic chairs with wood legs are less expensive versions of the Eames fiberglass shell chair by Herman Miller.

While you’re down there, check out the floors. Roth used Avenue 12-by-12 cork tiles from APC Cork. This makes a lot of sense since it’s low maintenance and easy on the feet (they spend a lot of time in here). It also brings in an element of warmth.

Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation Helios Boston

Photo by Jared Kuzia

The above photo shows the rest of the sink wall. Roth enlarged the window to let in lots more light. You’ll notice that some of the kitchen cabinets are door-less, specifically in spots that are harder to access. These cubby-style cabinets are lined in charcoal Formica. The countertop is a quartz composite. “It’s a plane of solid grey that looks pretty with the cabinets,” Roth says.

Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation Helios Boston

Photo by Jared Kuzia

The photo above shows the other side of the range, and the adjacent wall. The bookcase makes use of a shallow space—an existing chimney is right behind it. They reused their fridge, which is right next to the bookshelf, in case you’re wondering.

Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation Helios Boston

Photo by Jared Kuzia

The shallow shelf is perfect for cookbooks, and a makeshift bar.

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ARTmonday: Center for Maine Contemporary Art Online Auction

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, Maine is currently hosting an online auction on Paddle8 through February 28, 2018 at 5pm. All proceeds from the auction support CMCA.

Initially founded as an artists’ cooperative called Maine Coast Artists in 1952, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art functioned as a series of pop-ups for the first 15 years, having no permanent site. Early shows included works by Alex Katz and Louise Nevelson.

In 2016, the center moved to a new glass and corrugated metal space in downtown Rockland, designed by architect Toshiko Mori. CMCA remains a non-collecting institution, which means it does not maintain a permanent collection Instead, it shows work by national and emerging artists associated with Maine.

The auction offers up 50 works by 50 artists. Here are a few of my favorites. As they say, bid now, bid often here.

Center for Maine Contemporary Art Abstract Still LIfe Maine Artists

Emilie Stark-Menneg, Love Potion, 2017 • Courtesy of CMCA

Center for Maine Contemporary Art Abstract Landscape Maine Artists

Ingrid Ellison, Open the Floodgates, 2016 • Courtesy of CMCA

Center for Maine Contemporary Art Butterfly Maine Artists

K. Min, Summer #45, 2017 • Courtesy of CMCA

Center for Maine Contemporary Art Abstract Map Maine Artists

John Bisbee, Midsize American Grid, 2017 • Courtesy of CMCA

Center for Maine Contemporary Art Abstract Painting Maine Artists

Brooke Nixon, Snowy Day, 2017 • Courtesy of CMCA

Center for Maine Contemporary Art Nude Portrait Maine Artists

Elizabeth Fox, Changing Room, 2009 • Courtesy of CMCA

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Design Diary: Living Room by Meredith Rodday

Boston area interior designer Meredith Rodday, who you may know from her blog View From My Heels, transformed this formal living room into a light and airy space. I wrote about it here, in a recent issue of Boston Globe Magazine. I’ve included more about Rodday’s design and sources below. Photo by Jessica Delaney.

White Living Room With Colorful Art By Boston Designer Meredith Rodday

Jessica Delaney Photography

“I’m not known for formal rooms,” Rodday told me. As such her signature style of light colors with a coastal touch, was just what the homeowners were looking for.

They started by painting the room Benjamin Moore “Navajo White” to tie it together with the home’s family room. Using the warm, creamy white as a base, Rodday added soft white upholstered and warm wood pieces, a dark grounding coffee table, and pretty artwork for a pop of color.

All the fireplaces in the home had awful green marble, which Rodday replaced with classic Cararra marble. The blue/grey veining is reflecting in the gray striations of the Restoration Hardware Nahla rug , which adds a touch of interest but keeps things neutral.

The Lee Industries sofa is upholstered in Serena & Lily washed linen in sand. The McGee & Co. Blaine armchairs have a wood frames with a driftwood finish that adds a bit of earthiness. The baluster profile and finish tie into the Arteriors Everett table. Its oxidized iron-clad surface and base connects with the dark color of the large cocktail table, custom covered in navy Phillip Jeffries Juicy Jute grasscloth.

“The room is very large,” Rodday says, “We needed an anchor on the fireplace, which is off-center, and this worked well.” The Visual Comfort Morris chandelier with polished nickel finish further establishes the center of the seating area, without blocking the artwork.

The colorful artwork cements the focal point for the seating area and is the jumping off point for the accessories which bring color into the room. The piece is “Sapling Grove” by Peter Batchelder, an oil on canvas from Powers Gallery in Acton, Mass.

The indigo leafy vine pattern of the Belgian linen drapery, Novella by Massachusetts textile designer Ellisha Alexina, stands up to the painting without overwhelming it.

Rodday used the fabric for a throw pillow too. Other throw pillows include, from left to right, Susan Connor New York in Madu, Zak + Fox in Postage, Peter Dunham in Kashmir, and a cognac leather McGee & Co. pillow. The brushstroke lamp is by Jana Bek.

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