Fandom From Modernism Week 2024

March 25, 2024


I will proudly admit I am a part of the fandom of mid-century modern house design, so heading to Palm Springs for Modernism Week 2024 was a real treat. If you are unfamiliar, Modernism Week is a celebration of mid-century modern house design and the architects, builders, and designers that created these houses. I really had no idea what to expect or how we would participate, I only knew we were going to be in the desert for a few days before attending Design Week in Las Vegas. It was magnificent. So much so that I want to share a bit of it with you.

Palm Springs Mod Squad


Modernism Week has numerous scheduled activities throughout the week including house tours, car and trailer shows, concerts, and more. My wife, Jana, found a private tour of houses with a Palm Springs Mod Squad. This proved to be one of the two great highlights of the trip.

The tour was led by Kurt Cyr, an interior designer from Los Angeles. From the moment we got into the tour van, Kurt was sharing his knowledge. He was absolutely fascinating. Kurt is a living encyclopedia of mid-century modern architecture and construction. He was also an incredible ambassador for Palm Springs.

Donald Wexler, Architect, and Alexander Construction


Architect Donald Wexler was one of the more influential designers of mid-century modern homes in Palm Springs. He worked with Alexander Construction, a father and son builder of Palm Springs communities. They designed and built houses with a “Discreet from the street” approach meaning the front of the houses are modest and often limit the access to seeing doors and windows. I personally love this approach and have enlist some of these ideas in the design and construction of our own home.

Donald Wexler introduced “brise soleil” window screens to the front of homes to protect the primary of the homeowners and provide a unique design feature for the homes. Similarly, he designed “shadow walls” that featured unique stone designs that provide depth and dimension as the sun moves across the wall.

The Alexanders were shroud business people that built house with the same interior layouts with different facades. This provided economies of scale while creating unique looking houses for the homeowners. Their houses were designed and built with the addition of an addition room replanned for future expansion. This is an approach that more designers and builders should embrace.

The builders were fragile and clever. Cost savings was a leading part of their designs and construction. For examples, they chose to eliminate headers in certain rooms and replaced them with floor to ceiling doors to save money. This contributed to the mid-century modern design we emulate today.

Twin Palms Community


Outside of the guided house tour, we walked through the neighborhood of Twin Palms. It is one of the original neighborhoods of mid-century modern homes. Street after street and block after block we saw some of the most impeccably kept homes. Most of the house had butterfly roofs, which is specific to mid-century modern house design. Several others a cantilever roof design. These low slung rooflines and extended eves are all a part of the beauty of these designs.

Most of the houses are painted a shade of white with brightly painted front doors. The color orange is often used. Our guide Kurt explained orange is opposite blue on the color wheel, so these colors work well together. The blue sky and bright orange are complementary colors.



Throughout Modernism Week and the house tours, it is a pleasure to see the beautiful artwork that is a part of paintings in the homes, hardware on the doors, vintages cars in the driveways, and travel trailers at a show. For some people, there is a nostalgia to Modernism Week. To me it is the remarkable attention to the details of the design. Here are a few examples of the details we observed:


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Modernism Week 2025


I am not one that fancies art galleries, museums, walks through a national park, or looking at monuments, so to say I look forward to returning to Palm Springs in 2025 for Modernism Week is a big deal. First, many of design elements of “discreet from the street” like window configurations and an emphasis on your private backyard are a part of our design of our home.

Next, I feel as though there is more to see and experience. I look forward to taking the celebrity house tour to appreciate the finest architecture and design that money can afford. Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra’s house are big draws I am told.

Finally, Palm Springs in the winter feels relaxed, comfortable, and welcoming. The weather was terrific. The food was outstanding. It was easy to navigate. Next time, we will play golf, take another house tour, and enrich our appreciation for great house design and construction.

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