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Miss Mid-Century Modern Design? This MCM Palm Springs Condo’s History And 2021 Glow Up Will Fix That ASAP

When I think of mid-century modern design, I can’t help but think of simplicity, timelessness, and yes, Don Draper from Mad Men wearing a sexy suit. There is something about this style that oozes maturity and good taste and today’s home tour serves just that. If you love mid-century modern style (and honestly, who doesn’t??), you’ll love this historic Palm Springs condo.

Christa Martin is a renovator who has a deep love and admiration for mid-century architecture, so when she found this original Palm Springs 1965 condo designed by renowned architect William Krisel, she knew she struck gold. The Sandpiper Complex, where this condo is located, is historically designated architecture because it was the first condominium development in the Palm Springs area. To honor its rich history, Christa sought to revamp it while maintaining the original charm, but there were a few updates Christa immediately envisioned in order to make her modern vision come to light.

Single Cylinder Keyed Entry Handleset

Through the front doors, you can see the iconic Palm Springs palm trees, the surrounding mountains, and the bright condominium landscape, all of which Christa wanted to highlight in her design. Palm Springs is almost synonymous with mid-century modern architecture and design, so it is no surprise that Christa drew a lot of inspiration from the area.

Sink | SemiHandmade Supermatte White Flush/Slab Doors | MSI Classic White Quartz Countertops | Walnut Shelves | Slide-In Gas Range in White | Microwave Hood | Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher | Lexi 8″ Bulb Light

One room Christa knew needed an upgrade was the kitchen. The original kitchen layout was small and cramped so she decided to expand the open concept so the kitchen would flow directly into the living room. This openness allows for the abundance of natural light could do its magic. She also brightened the space by painting the walls a bright white which allows the light to bounce around throughout the space making it feel extra bright and airy.

Bottom Freezer Refrigerator in White | Woven Counter Stool

The white appliances and slab door cabinets keep the space minimal and sleek, and the walnut accents are a classic nod to the mid-century style Christa was going for.

As far as the renovation aspect of the project, Christa was focused on budget and practicality so this kitchen could be as functional as possible. To keep costs down, she waited until sales were happening for the Semihandmade, Whirlpool, and CB2 items and opted for Ikea cabinets instead of custom cabinets. If time is on your side, waiting for sales to happen is a great hot tip if I’ve ever heard one. Overall, there were zero splurges on the kitchen, yet she managed to design an inviting and practical kitchen that is perfect for entertaining.

Paintings by Christa Martin

Is any MCM home complete without a bar area? I think not. This area opposite the kitchen functions as bar storage and more counter space for potlucks and parties. In order to make space for this area, she nixed the dining table so there is more room for entertaining and food prepping.

Basket Pendant Light | Wall Paint Color | Bounce Ivory Woven Stools

While most of the decor is kept simple, that oversized basket pendant 100% steals the show. It is understated yet packs a punch and adds the needed natural texture to the space. And those bar stools?? Sign me up. I love the subtle woven texture and the off-white coloring that blends really well with the neutral color scheme.

Eames Catch-All (vintage) | Perigold black glass desk (vintage) | Painting by Christa Martin

Architect William Krisel was known for his open floor plans and large windows to bring in as much natural light as possible. In a desert like Palm Springs, there is no shortage of sunlight, so the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors are a key component in utilizing natural light and bringing the outdoors in. Christa decided to keep the original glass doors here which highlights the landscape and the surrounding mountains.

Clad 3 Door Credenza | Rug | Black Leather Sling Chairs (vintage)

Christa sourced both new and vintage furniture that would highlight the classic MCM style of the space. The sleek warm wood-toned credenza, leather vintage sling back chairs, and the woven rug all bring in natural elements while accentuating this eclectic style. When it comes to mid-century modern furniture, the focus is on natural textiles and organic curves that add movement and intrigue to a space without being too overwhelming.

Just outside the living room sliding glass doors is a patio that Christa wanted to make as useful as possible. She moved the dining table out to the patio to enjoy the views and weather and added a gas fireplace table nearby for colder nights. The other side of the patio has a breeze block wall for privacy and became a perfect spot for yoga. 

Acacia Wood Round Mirror | Cabinet

What I always love about a MCM-inspired home is the bold pops of color that offset the natural wood tones and minimal design. Orange and red hues are a classic component of the MCM style, and Christa sprinkles them in perfectly with the orange standing vase and patterned rug.

Fog 50/50 Tile

If you are wondering how to add depth to a small, boxy bathroom, don’t skip the shower tile wall. The green Heath Ceramics subway tile adds an organic texture and of course color to this otherwise white bathroom. Because these tiles are hand-glazed they are not uniform, so in order to get a unique mix of tones, Christa bought seconds so she would have even more variation in the glaze. She then laid them out herself on the floor reworking the placement to get the perfect mix of hues.

Korey Metal Platform Bed Frame with Upholstered Headboard | nuLOOM Braided Yvette Trellis Jute Area Rug | Casper Mattress | Quilted Velvet Round Pillow

Talk about wood paneling done right. I feel like I have been transported to the 60s and I LOVE IT. This accent wall looks like it could have been original, but Christa actually bought the 10’x4’ wood panels and had her contractor install them. This is a fairly doable project for anyone who wants to create an impactful (and natural) MCM accent wall.

Boucle Decorative Throw Pillow Caramel | Tufted Square Pillow Cream

Faucet | Vessel Sink with Overflow | Shower Head | Berkeley Vanity | Shower Tile | Light Single Globe Pendant

Similarly, in the primary bathroom, Christa installed a colorful shower tile wall and then continued the subway tile to act as a backsplash above the double vanity. Again, Christa carefully mixed the individual tiles so the different hues would be evenly spread out.

Heron Blue Tile | Marble Mosaic Tile

Well, it’s official. I have fallen in love with MCM all over again. How about you?? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below. But first, buckle up for the stunning before and afters:

Huge thanks to Christa for allowing us to feature this project.

Check out Christa’s latest project here.

*Design by Christa Martin
**Photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

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Stassy
13 days ago

Such a cool renovation! Do you have any details about the coffee table?

Christa
13 days ago
Reply to  Stassy

I bought it off an Insta sale, but I think it is an old Blu Dot design with the top replaced with reclaimed wood.

Jenni
13 days ago

Love, love, love! We need more posts like this!

SS
13 days ago

Oooh, are the kitchen backsplash tiles heath ceramics, too? I love the bathrooms.

Christa
13 days ago
Reply to  SS

The backsplash is from Bedrosians. I had tile from Heath ready to install, in a glaze called Caramel. Unfortunately, the way the light hit in this kitchen made it appear more like baby poo! So I went with the natural matte white from Bedrosians. The variations of white really work to harmonize the creams, whites, golds and wood tones in the room.

SS
12 days ago
Reply to  Christa

Thank you!

Lisa
13 days ago

I don’t dislike this design at all. However, having been alive during the late 1950s and early 1960s, I can say with some assurance that the only true MCM elements here are the wood paneling and the sofa, and, the sofa would need teak legs to really align with the look of the era;).

Kari
12 days ago
Reply to  Lisa

Love the honesty but disagree with the review.

Karina
13 days ago

Did she remove the original clerestory windows?

Karina
13 days ago
Reply to  Karina

Ooops! Nope. The before and after are taken from a different perspective. I almost fainted.

Sunny
13 days ago

Does Christa have an Instagram?

Admin
13 days ago
Reply to  Sunny
Christa
13 days ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

@christamartinstudio thanks Jess!

Ashley L
13 days ago

I LOVE this space. Huge shoutout to Christa’s incredible artwork. She’s so talented and her pieces bring it next level!

Christa
13 days ago
Reply to  Ashley L

Aww, thank you.

Rusty
13 days ago

I had thosesame green tiles in my kitchen in a townhouse I used to own. I loved them. They fave so uch life to the tiny space. Lovd the blue ones in the vathroom, too.
Fresh, cool, airy.

Rusty
13 days ago
Reply to  Rusty

Crikey, typos, gggrrrr

Christa
13 days ago

OMG thanks so much for featuring this project, Emily, you are so kind. Your blog and stlye have been a major inspiration in my interior design and renovation work (second career – well, actually about the 5th career, but I started doing interiors after working in graphic design for 20 years. Thank you Emily, Jess, Ryann and Mallory, and of course the fabulous Sara Tramp!

Elizabeth
12 days ago

Yay! I HAVE been missing MCM tours. Love it all, especially the Heath tile. Any idea where the NASA poster is from? I would love it for my son’s room.

Christa
12 days ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

My husband Geoff Katz scored the NASA poster – it was a limited edition. You might be able to find one on 1st Dibs or eBay.

KD
12 days ago

Ahhhh, that Palm Springs architecture (and sunshine!) is lovely. What a find! Brava to Christa!

Kari
12 days ago

Where are the window treatments? I know that large expansive windows, floor to ceiling, are part of MCM design but if nowhere else, why doesn’t the bedroom have something?

Christa
12 days ago
Reply to  Kari

The blinds were on order at the time of the photoshoot. The bedrooms both face the patios and are screened by breeze block so even without window treatments, they are private.

Kari
12 days ago
Reply to  Christa

Thanks so much for a reply. Still… disappointed that there isn’t a single window treatment visible in any photo since my husband and I are finding it super tricky to keep a great MCM vibe going while redecorating that includes realistic living… meaning light control and privacy — when & where needed — for those like us who don’t feel comfortable living in a fishbowl environment meaning nothing whatsoever on the windows. Looks cool but does anyone really love this way? Goodness: At the very least, homeowners must realize that without light control, fabrics fade, electricity bills go through the roof, and it’s effects on expensive artwork are irreversible. Hoping you’ll do another article soon where we see thoughtful treatment of the windows that reflects a balance of form and function for those drawn to MCM. I honestly believe that such an article and photo shoot dedicated exclusively to this topic just might be a first! We know after multiple Google searches, there is zilch for inspiration. Since window treatments aren’t cheap, what an oversight if we get it wrong because we have no guidelines or inspiration. Fingers crossed that you’re inspired by our frustrations and I’ll see something here… Read more »

Christa
12 days ago
Reply to  Kari

Hi Kari. We ordered minimal roller shades in light gray.
This condo would originally have had pinch-pleat drapes with track attached to the ceiling so that the drapes would cover the entire floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows in bedrooms and living room. The price for that kind of window treatment is A LOT. Good luck with your search.

andrea
12 days ago

I love mid-century mod, but this was BLAND!!! Especially the kitchen!!

Christa
12 days ago
Reply to  andrea

Hmm, different strokes for different folks I guess. I think it’s nicely understated and budget friendly. It’s really lovely to be in it. The views are really the stars of this place. Here’s what you see from the kitchen window:

Annie
12 days ago

I loved this post. While I’ve been following EHD since the beginning, I was just about ready to quit because it feels like the design style has changed so much. Thanks for changing it up.

Jessica
12 days ago

I LOVE this!!! Can you tell me what tile you used on the floors?

Christa
12 days ago
Reply to  Jessica

Hi! It’s a terrazzo-look porcelain from Spain, unfortunately discontinued. They are 32 x 32 in. and matte finish with spot gloss on the bigger “stones”. They might have something similar at http://www.statecollegedistributors.com where I bought them.

Tracy
12 days ago

I’d live there in a heart beat! I love Palm Springs style for sure, despite being a life long east coaster. Lovely floors, furnishings, original art, and breeze block.

Ally
12 days ago

I adore this moment of Zen! It brought back happy memories of visits to Palm Springs long ago when a lot fewer people lived and visited there. Among the many things I loved here — the tile in both showers! Absolutely the most refreshing use of tile I’ve seen in any bathroom for ages.

12 days ago

insightful article

Rhealyn
12 days ago

Can you tell me where the lovely couch is from?

Christa
12 days ago
Reply to  Rhealyn

It’s the Midtown from CB2. Unfortunately discontinued. I love a sofa with a single bench seat, they are hard to find.

beks
9 days ago
Reply to  Rhealyn

That sofa is terrible! I bought it and the frame was broken within a year, with barely any use. I assume they discontinued it due to its terrible reviews.

HH
12 days ago

Wow, love this SO much. Great job, Christa. (And I just started following you on IG, thanks to the other commenter who asked.) We live in a MCM place, too, so I’ve been missing that design inspo on EHD.

The accent walls for the bathrooms are inspired. Now I want to do something like that when we renovate our primary bathroom. (Someday in the distant futute, lol.) Thanks for sharing, Christa and EHD team!

Jill
5 days ago

Love the wood wall paneling. Can you tell me what kind it is and where you purchased it?

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