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Virtual Vacation: Palm Springs

After a long weekend of packing, moving and (slowly but surely) unpacking, I'm ready for another vacation. Since I won't be taking one for a while, I thought I'd indulge in a little virtual vacation today, courtesy of the New York Times and its recent feature on the Palm Springs' home of Kansas-based designer David Jimenez. While I've never been to Palm Springs myself, I've always imagined it to be an oasis of old Hollywood glamour situated in the middle of the California desert. The kind of place where Hollywood starlets sip on colorful cocktails beside glittering sky-blue pools. Where entertainment executives make deals beautiful golf courses with breaktaking mountain views. And where lazy afternoons by the pool turn into elegant (and a little bit wild) house parties at night.

From a design standpoint, Palm Springs is most often associated with mid century modern architecture and the Hollywood Regency style first popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. Recently, both MCM and Hollywood Regency have experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks in large part to designers like Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler. In Palm Springs itself, the Parker hotel, decorated by Jonathan Adler in 2004, has become a sort of Mecca for design fans -- and I hope to make the trek one day to experience it for myself. In fact, when I saw the white lattice work on the front entrance to Jimenez's home (at top), I was instantly reminded of the entrance to the Parker (immediately above). While the Parker's door is a bold orange (a favorite color of Adler's that is used throughout the hotel), Jimenez's own front door is a sunny yellow -- yet again, just a hint of things to come.

The inside of Jimenez's house matches its lovely MCM exterior, with its bold shots of sunshine yellow and an injection of a blue as brilliant as the Palm Springs sky. The bold colors are tempered by a backdrop of cool white and grounded by black accents. The article indicates that Jimenez decorated much of the house with repurposed (and reupholstered) local flea market finds. All I can say is, if these are the types of pieces you can pick up in Palm Springs' flea markets, then I definitely need to make the trip...preferably with a U-Haul in tow.

Here, I love the yellow backsplash in an otherwise all-white kitchen. In the dining area, the elegant and traditional all-white chairs are a nice counterpoint to the gleaming metal and glass mid century table. In fact, if Jimenez had decided to go with mid century chairs (like, say, Saarinen's tulip chair), I think the overall effect here would've been far too literal. While a house can reference particular periods and styles, a slavish adherence to just one will only make a house look dated -- a virtual time warp. By mixing MCM and traditional styles though, Jimenez creates a more elegant, and more modern, look.

I'm always drawn to salon style art arrangements, especially when each piece of art is shown off in a different, yet coordinating, frame like Jimenez does here. Jimenez's collection of books (in black and white covers, of course) underneath the display lends a more casual air here that works perfectly in a vacation home. I also love the bold flower mirror above the stove. It's such a lovely and unexpected change from a tile or glass backsplash.

The disciplined color palette extends into the bedrooms. While this rigid a color scheme probably doesn't work in a primary residence, I like the idea of using it in a second home as it helps create a hotel-like atmosphere (rather nice when you're on vacation, yes?). A tight color palette is also a great way to keep bold colors -- like this yellow -- from feeling overwhelming.

I love the crispness of the black and white linens (which look like Rubie Green's classic duvet set) and curtains in this guest bedroom. Their simplicity and geometry are great counterpoints to the shapely yellow lamps and accent chair.

Owning a home in Palm Springs without a pool would be like owning a beach house without an ocean view -- in other words, a complete waste. Mr. Jimenez's pool doesn't disappoint, with its placid blue bottom, a wall of ficus trees for privacy, and abundance of white lounge chairs. In short, it's the perfect spot for a pool party.

In the article, Jimenez indicated that he will sometimes rent out his lovely house to vacationers. While I'd imagine that the house (absent going in with a dozen or more friends) is well outside my budget for a long weekend, it's nice to know that the option is out there, for those lucky enough to be able to take advantage of it.

For more photographs of this Palm Springs' beauty and for the full article, please visit HERE.

Photographs by Stephanie Diani of the New York Times.

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