The boxes arrived yesterday. Last week my college roommate John and I spent a few days in Palm Springs –an annual tradition going back more than 10 years now. Our agenda isn’t ambitions (lounge by the pool, cocktails, dinner, sleep, repeat), but I usually also manage to rouse myself to do a little shopping. Besides the stunning natural beauty of the mountains and desert, what attracts me most to Palm Springs is the high concentration of excellent mid-century modern architecture, including important buildings by Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, E. Stuart Williams, Donald Wexler and the iconic houses built by the Alexander Construction Company from the late 40s to the mid 60s. Probably because of this it also has a high concentration of boutiques and consignment shops that sell mid-century modern furniture and accessories, often at excellent prices. After I return, a few boxes of mid-mod loot invariably arrive about a week later.
This year the shopping was excellent. The selection was better and the prices lower than I’d seen in years. If you’re a fan of the period, here are some places I recommend.
Palm Canyon Galleria, 457 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA (www.palmcanyongalleria.com)
If you only have time to stop at one place, this is it. This small, centrally located collection of shops has an excellent and well-curated selection of mid-century accessories, art and some furniture, mostly at reasonable prices. If you go to only one of those shops, visit Bon Vivant (www.gmcb.com/shop), specializing in ceramics, glass and jewelry. The proprietors are friendly and knowledgable, and their prices are excellent.
Hedge, 68-929 Perez Road, Cathedral City, CA (hedgepalmsprings.com)
About 10 minutes drive from central Palm Springs, in an unpromising looking strip mall, you’ll find Hedge, a gallery and store filled with a fresh, eclectic and well-merchandised collection of vintage modern furniture, art and accessories. Its owners Thomas Sharkey and Charles Pearson are a pleasure to deal with, and their prices are low.
While you’re the Perez Art and Design Center (as the strip mall where Hedge is located is called), also look at Spaces, a large, well-stocked, mulit-dealer venue. (I got some true bargains there last week.) Also in the Center are the Danish modern purists JP Denmark (www.jpantik.com), and the glamorously eclectic (and pricier) Colin Fisher Studios (colinfisherstudios.1stdibs.com).
Next on my list of favorites is Ventura, located at 463 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA (760) 325-9911, which offers a high quality, highly edited assortment of furniture, objects and art. The prices aren’t bargains, but they’re good, particularly if you’re used to shopping in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles.
There are a number of other places in North Palm Springs that are less reliable sources of great mid-mod finds, but are worth checking out anyway. There are more, but I have the best luck at a la Mod, 768 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA (www.alamod768.com); Modern Way, 745 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs (www.psmodernway.com); and Studio One 11, 2875 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs (www.studio111palmsprings.com).
And, for contemporary home accessories with a mid-century modern vibe, you can’t beat Trina Turk Residential, located right next to her sleek clothing boutique at 895 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs (www.trinaturk.com).
Most of these dealers won’t directly ship your goods, so you’ll need to take your treasures to Mail Box Plus, 611 South Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 7, Palm Springs (760) 864-1451. They’re nice to work with and offer excellent packing and shipping services at reasonable prices. For furniture, the best shipping option is Plycon Transportation (www.plycongroup.com), who will pick up pieces directly from the dealers.
And remember to wear sunscreen!