about the artist

Modernism in Palm Springs

We went back to Palm Springs yesterday afternoon to see a classic car show, have dinner and attend a comedic slide show of vintage scenes of the Palm Springs area. It was very deja vu for the four of us who came of age in the 50’s and 60’s. I forgot to take my camera so no photos.

I do want to share some photos of the Frey House which we toured on Sunday. Here is the exterior of the car port which used concrete blocks in a very pleasing design. Frey did not move a single boulder in the building of this house so there is a bump in the pool where the concrete was poured over a boulder.freyhouseexterior.jpg


Albert Frey was one of the pre-eminent modern architects of Palm Springs. He designed the Palm Springs City Hall among other buildings and homes. The second home that he built for himself was constructed on a lot that a more practical person would have passed on. It is high above the desert floor perched amongst boulders. There is a boulder inside the house and there are large windows which show the majesty of the boulder strewn mountainside. When it was built, there would not have been the concern about being energy efficient. The current residents told us that it costs $900 a month in the summer to air condition it.

The house is very minimalist and was not built for entertaining. The built-in sofas look out on the view. The dining area is a bar that also faces the view. The bed is at one end of the house with a beautiful view of the sky, if the curtains are open. freycatandmike.jpg

This is the cat staring at my BIL who is seated at the dining bar. My favorite inhabitant of the Frey House was Albert the cat. Isn’t he the best. Here he is at the foot of the bed.


The kitchen is just a little galley. The only thing that has been replaced is the refrigerator. These dishes belonged to Frey.


A guest room was added to the house later. The current residents use it as a home office. To live in this home, you have to give up clutter and live with only the most essential items of life.

We did a driving tour of some of the wonderful modern architecture of Palm Springs. We spied several butterfly houses. We found developments that have, over the years, been neglected and our now being revitalized with the new interest in modernism.

The two guys from British Columbia, in the photo above, told us about free drinks and a modernism event at the Orbit In. The motel was purchased and renovated around 2002. The rooms are decorated in wonderful modern furniture.
Ann and I were thrilled to find these mobiles made by a delightful young woman from Portland. We each bought one. I will post a photo of it when I get home and have it hung in the dining room.
I am running down to the main house to download e-mail, but I haven’t had much time to check in on my fave bloggers. It is going to rain later today so maybe I will take some time to check out blogs later today.

Mr C is helping his brother with some maintenance on the compound here in Twentynine Palms. Ann was born here. Her father was a homesteader. Mike and Ann bought a casita next door. The family home has several apartment rentals. Now that Ann’s mother is in her 90’s, they have taken over running the rental business. They are trying to upgrade all of the rentals. Mr C and Mike installed a window earlier this week and now they are about to take on installing a light.

I had not internet access yesterday so today I have finally gotten to my mail and been able to load this post that I wrote yesterday. Today, I have gotten a lot of work done on Viola’s quilt. Hopefully, I can post some photos tomorrow. Yesterday, we went out to Joshua Tree National Park and did a short hike. Today, it is very windy so no hiking. We are going to a gallery opening tonight.

2 Responses to “Modernism in Palm Springs”

  1. Judy says:

    Loved all the pics of the Frey house and your commentary.
    Sounds like you are having a great time!
    We were out that way last year when our niece was married in Palm Desert. I love that part of the country…we lived in Riverside back in 1972, when it was still a lovely small city.
    Have fun!!

  2. Kristin L says:

    What an incredible view from the Frey house! I wish i could live clutter free and have a place like that, but it just won’t happen. It sounds like you guys are having a wonderful time in Palm Springs. Enjoy soaking up the sun and warmer temperatures 🙂