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.
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.”