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  • Writer's pictureDann Foley

Meaningful Modern

Jun 10, 2016

Partnership with gives Donald Wexler midcentury designed home a complete makeover

I live in Palm Springs and write a monthly article for yet, surprisingly enough, I have not written specifically about midcentury or modern design…until now.

Palm Springs is a mecca for midcentury design and architecture. I travel the world for my work and when I mention Palm Springs, our dominant design style is always part of the conversation. I am going to help you get it right!

It so happens that I just co-hosted a party with the website I partnered with the online retailer to complete a renovation of a historic Donald Wexler-designed property in the EL Rancho Vista Estates neighborhood in Palm Springs. The idea for the event was to show homeowners how partnering with a designer (like me) and a website (like can make your design choices easier and your design budget go farther. And that is exactly what I try to do here each month for my readers —  inspiration paired with common sense.

Many of my decisions and selections for this home can be applied to your own design projects. The key is to do modern that is personal to you, and to stay away from the cliché choices and elements that tend to make a midcentury house look more like a cartoon than a home.

• Vintage is great! Make sure it is also of quality. There is no excuse for inferior pieces.

• White is always a perfect backdrop for any midcentury house. Be sure that the selection is not too antiseptic or too yellow.

• Using color to accent your midcentury home is key in expressing your personality. Your palette can be more than the “standard” array.

• Be sure to add warmth to the design with rugs, pillows, and art that soften the edges and speak to you as the homeowner.

As design trends change and evolve, so does the “classic contemporary” style we call midcentury modern. The expanse of styles, products, and materials considered appropriate for midcentury continue to grow. Here are a few you might not have considered.

Rugs mixed with wool and jute. They create a bohemian effect that gives a midcentury 1970s vibe along with an inviting softness and pattern.

• Paint colors no longer have to be orange and aqua to be considered authentic. Try avocado, steel gray, pumpkin and teal to add warmth to those white interiors and concrete floors.

• Reclaimed wood is not only popular in new home design, it can add a layer of detail to a midcentury that is both vintage and modern at the same time. Try it in a piece of furniture or as an accent wall.

• Wallpaper is the rage once again and that makes it true for midcentury design as well. Grass cloth is an easy way to add color and texture to any room. I like to use it on an accent wall as opposed to all the walls of a room. Grass cloth even comes with patterns stenciled onto the grass base.

Here is my favorite trick for making grass cloth extra special. Cut the paper into large squares by using the width as your first measurement. Then hang the paper in alternating directions so that the texture is vertical, then horizontal and back and forth. When you are finished you have a wildly interesting and subtle grid. The look is totally unique.

Accessibility, availability, and affordability, those are the keys to creating great design on your own. makes it easy for me to shop, buy, and ship everything I need for my clients and they are available to everyone… and so is a great designer.

Live Well!

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