I guess you could say I’ve always been drawn to an American “retro” or “mid-century” style. When I was a kid I would ask for things like the Kit-cat clock (where it’s tail swings back and forth), a neon light telephone, or brightly colored band posters reminiscent of Andy Warhol paintings for birthday gifts; all considered “novelty” now. Funny, in retrospect, that the things I wanted were all some sort of home decor.
I grew up with a mom and grandparents that love to entertain. Parties, small or grand are definitely our thing. Not because we love to put on a show (although, I love to sing show tunes to my kids off key), but because having lots of people we love (as well as new friends) in one place makes us happy. We are happy to plan ahead for what the needs of our guests might be. We like to think about the set-up, traffic flow, how to lay out the drinks and food, making areas of seating for conversation easily accessible, making sure there is always a spot to sit a drink or plate, but most of all: what contributes to our guests having the most enjoyable experience. Maybe we are good at this, not because we over-exert ourselves the days before with over-the-top prep work in pinterest decor or cuisine, but because we don’t easily get stressed by it. We, ourselves, want to have a great time and enjoy our own party! We don’t want to hide behind the kitchen door (like people have doors to their kitchen anymore! ha!) but because we want to be social too. Luckily, my husband enjoys it too.
My favorite thing about the stereo-typical Palm Springs mid-century design is the lifestyle it is created around. The cocktail parties, swimming pool day-time gatherings, relaxed lifestyle outdoors in the sun, maybe a song or two sung by your buddy Frank Sinatra while you sip your gin martini? It may be mid-western dreaming, but I’m the kinda gal that loves a party (clearly illustrated in our Annual Oktoberfest photos above)!
I sorta love imagining Dad driving up to the succulent-surrounded carport from work in his aqua blue Chevrolet convertible. It was the time of muscle cars; my favorite car always was the Shelby Mustang. Technologies were advanced during the Industrial Revolution and after World War II that influenced cars as well as homes. Suburbs were booming (it was the time of the economic boom and baby boom) and homes were needing to be built quickly, and affordably. The design aesthetics evoked a sense of hope and openness. More open public areas of the home (open floor plans), connections between the indoors and outdoors (large floor-to-ceiling glass windows), construction styles that were exposed (post and beam), and authentic materials (steel, wood, concrete block) became more common. I’ve always been drawn to this style of architecture, but graduating from architecture school at Kansas State University definitely reinforced my existing love by adding an appreciation factor.
It only makes sense that I’ve been wanting my own modern version of a mid-century home to become my next project. As with all things in life, there are limitations; budget mainly. So while we couldn’t afford an awesome Drummond Contemporary in KC, we finally found a great little Prairie Village ranch that hit the needed check marks for our family. Come with us on our journey to redeem and transform our home’s body and soul into a colorful Palm Springs-esque Kansas oasis.