There's a home improvement project taking place on a midcentury modern dwelling every day: A Rummer in Southwest Portland's Garden Home neighborhood or Beaverton's Oak Hills. A ranch-style house in Hillsdale or another version of the low-profile, high-style design in Milwaukie or Lake Oswego.
But nowhere in the world is restoring midcentury architecture taking place on a grander scale than in the Southern California's Coachella Valley, inarguable the greatest depository of 1960s swank.
From October through mid-April, members of the Palm Springs Historical Society escort visitors on walking tours of "Mad Men"-era architecture.
Oregonians attending Palm Springs Modernism Week, Feb. 16-26, will be able to go inside some of the rehabbed homes once owned by celebrities, tennis pros and golfers.
A decade ago, Howard Hawkes and his partner Kevin Kemper combined their diverse backgrounds, expertise, and talents to launch H3K Design, a Palm Springs-based design consultation and project management firm. Ten years later, the duo are at the top of their game, offering everything from large-scale renovations to whole-house remodels to upscale residential and commercial clients. By offering high-caliber designs and prioritizing form, function, and style, Hawkes and Kemper deliver every time. Learn more about the designers in our Q&A below.
On Sunday night, Modernism Week will take center stage in Rancho Mirage for the Swan House — a roomy, newly remodeled Thunderbird Heights estate with mysterious provenance. The estate features clean lines and clerestory windows in the international style, and inside, it’s riddled with accent wallpaper and tile.
Just three years ago, however, appraisers suggested tearing it down.
“I really think we saved this house,” said Howard Hawkes, one of the co-owners of H3K Design, which bought the house out of foreclosure in 2012 and started restoring it this spring. “When we were getting our financing, one of the appraisers who came here told us that the house wasn’t worth saving... But we saw its potential.”
New York couple Kermit E. Ferrer and John A. Criscuolo were excited to bring their 1958 William Krisel-designed vacation home in Palm Springs, California, back to its midcentury roots while also infusing it with the charms of their other favorite vacation destination: Guatemala. Criscuolo, with family ties to the Central American country, and his partner tasked the designers at H3K Design to incorporate the colors, textures and spirit of Guatemala within the midcentury lines of this classic Palm Springs home.
A la pareja neoyorquina formada por Kermit Ferrer y John Criscuolo le fascinaba la idea de devolver su magnífica residencia de vacaciones, diseñada por William Krisel en 1958 y ubicada en Palm Strings (California), a sus orígenes de mediados del siglo XX. Asimismo, querían impregnarla del encanto que tiene su destino de vacaciones por excelencia: Guatemala. Kermit, cuyos vínculos familiares se extienden hasta América Central, y su pareja encomendaron a los diseñadores de H3K Design la tarea de inspirarse en los colores, las texturas y el espíritu de Guatemala para su reforma, manteniendo a su vez las líneas clásicas de esta residencia de verano.
Everyone within a 50-mile radius talks about — and strives for — indoor-outdoor living. But this 1958 home that underwent a deep, top-to-bottom renovation by H3K Design takes it to an awesome extreme.
Beyond the zero-level fire pit that welcomes a bar to slide over the top when not in use and the new track lighting tucked into the original tongue-and-groove ceiling, the home’s designers employed an irresistible decorating approach.
H3K got some outstanding attention from Housely.com recently. Here's what they had to say about our work:
"Have you ever seen a home design so fabulous that you wondered who did it and how? Probably. Sure, there are plenty of people who would love to redecorate and redesign their homes, but they often find themselves stuck deciding where to start and what to do. Like any other form of art, designing a home requires a lot of thought, attention to detail, time, and dedication. In fact, many people view their homes as canvases waiting to be touched. Even for people who are able to come up with lots of amazing ideas, it can still be difficult to put them into action. Also, in many cases, there are budget, space, and other constraints that keep people from bringing their ideas to life.
The first edition of Dish Creative Cuisine, in Cathedral City, had nine tables. If the dining room was classified as tiny, the kitchen was downright cramped. It worked for a couple years as the restaurant built up a following, but eventually, Chef Joane Garcia-Colson and her partner, Michelle Heinrich, felt like the "uber small kitchen" was limiting their creativity.
From the Desert Sun:
"Sunset Towers on Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs keeps getting sparked with more life, and now — light.
The three torches standing high above the classic mid-century modern roofline will be re-lighted Sunday, Oct. 12, during the Modernism Week Fall Preview weekend.
The relighting will be part of the Uptown Lights Up The Night event at 7:30 p.m. at the corner of 140 W. Via Lola and N. Palm Canyon Drive. The event is open to the public.
In the past two years, the Sunset Towers complex has been transformed from disrepair back to its 1950s glory when dining spots like Don the Beachcomber was frequented by singer/actor Bing Crosby; film director/producer Mervyn LeRoy — he became head of production at MGM in 1938 and was nominated for an Academy Award as producer of "The Wizard of Oz"; Col. Winthrop Rockefeller, who would become the 37th governor of Arkansas in 1967; and radio comedian Freeman Gosden, who voiced Amos in the "Amos 'n' Andy" show.
Today, the complex is home to Ernest Coffee Co., Bootlegger Tiki, Archangel Gallery and Woodman Shimko Gallery. The restaurant Dish will relocate from Cathedral City to the site in mid-October. The building — renamed The Twist by owners Tim Brinkman and Paul Warrin — also houses 140 Via Lola Apartments with 38 units.
'We are thrilled that the renovation of the building's famed torches was completed in time to be part of the Uptown Design District event," Hawkes said in a statement. "It also provides us with an excellent opportunity to show how we've re-imagined a faded mid-century gem and updated it for the 21st century. With so many people likely to be out and about for the Uptown event, it's the perfect time to re-light the flame.'"