The following is a guest blog post written by RNDD Member Staci Munic of Staci Munic Interiors about her experience being a part of the 2019 Modernism Week Home Tours.
After my first Modernism Week experience 8 years ago, when Palm Springs was slightly weathered-from-a-stormy economy, I now view the experience through a new lens. You see, I have been coming to Palm Springs with my family since I was a little girl. We have proudly and gratefully called it our second home for four decades, escaping a couple of weeks of Chicago’s harsh winter each year, and revitalizing our hardworking selves in the desert. Modernism Week (MW) is a 10-day mid-century modern culture, art, design, and festive extravaganza. MW not only educates and immerses you in the alluring, seductive Coachella Valley but also feeds creativity. It affords a glimpse into the unique vibe that only Palm Springs can deliver.
So, here’s what happens……you land in the idyllic outdoor Palm Springs International Airport and you are completely transformed. Expect nothing less than to be visually and emotionally stimulated and by Palm Springs’ charm. A mélange of California Laid Back Chicness. Hollywood Glamoriscious Regency. Desert Minimalism. A Stimulating Modern Art Scene. An Emerging Culinary and Libation Hospitality Environment. A Discerning Fashonista’s Haven. Some OG Iconic Design Bad Ass Heavy Hitters that will make you feel that you wish you lived in a different era. But still grateful that you live in this moment in time. This desert oasis will make your life better, more beautiful, cooler, hipper, happier, and more interesting.
And, don’t fret about feeling intimidated in any way. Palm Springs is gentle and welcoming, embracing everyone. Newbies to mid-century modern design and architecture are welcome. And no matter your gender, sexuality, race, religion – all are equally honored here.
I got lucky when I bought my condo last year in the historically significant William Cody Tennis Club Homes. I had hoped, that if I ever bought in Palm Springs, I would be able to walk to town, join the tennis club, and live in a mid-century modern home. I found my place on the heels of my dad’s passing last February and went into full-blown renovation to the studs this past year. One of my neighbors had reached out to the MW board and asked if our William Cody Tennis Club Homes could be on the tour. We were given the green light with the stipulation that 5 units had to have been renovated in the past 2 years. My unit would make number 5 …..if I could complete it in time.
Knowing that there are always surprises and delays when renovating an old-ish residence, (mine was built in 1966, a very good year for being born, wink-wink), it would be a race to the finish line. Overseeing a project from Chicago with frequent trips to Palm Springs; plus I was running my design firm, and selling both my home and my mom’s home – there was a lot to juggle. Having design projects in both Palm Springs and Chicago made the commuting worthwhile, and it is always so much fun when you are designing for yourself! However, there was also this immense internal pressure to develop a perfect representation of my personal aesthetic as I introduced myself and Staci Munic Interiors to the 300 plus people that would be viewing my home on the tour. I was especially concerned about the impression I would make upon the trades with whom I was working and forging relationships with for future projects in Palm Springs, as well as upon my new friends and potential clients in Palm Springs. Not to mention, my supportive and encouraging family and friends were observing my project and my life take a new shape, and that added a touch of weightiness to deliver something stellar and simultaneously extremely personal.
Everything was going along splendidly, and then, Bell’s Palsy paid me an unwanted visit in early October. Worried about letting down my neighbors and not finishing the home in time for the tour, ill, exhausted, and face half paralyzed, I settled into Palm Springs for the duration to finish the project. This is when having a great team matters most. Between my lighting designer, architect, GC and his crew of subs, and most importantly, my mom, who nurtured and cared for me, we were able to complete the project on time!
What I created was my interpretation of how to live in a mid-mod classic in 2019 comfortably for my lifestyle. I am a single mom, with two college-age kids, with a robust group of friends and family with whom I want to visit me and feel comfortable in my home. Cody’s intent was to have the exterior and interior of the home flow seamlessly. I achieved this by running the same floor outside and inside, replacing the glass block with glass, removing the iron gate around the back covered patio, and adding ceiling detail to the front entry. Previous owners did a 1980’s remodel adding lots of curved walls and glass block. We got rid of all of that! Cooking and entertaining is a thread in my fabric, with my roots in the hospitality industry, so I enlarged the galley kitchen by two feet. To do this, we took a couple of feet from a guest closet and bathroom, raised the ceiling, added a steel I-Beam and a generous skylight… hello sunshine!
Removing the skylight from the living room and the mauve fireplace marble was a constant design debate between me and my architect and builder. Ultimately, I decided both of those elements were limiting, and 86’d them. We replaced them with a warm white ledger stone and walnut ceiling fan. The master suite is where I had a field day, enlarging the actual bathroom without changing the footprint by removing walls and reconfiguring the closets. We designed a sliding glass exposed door that provided lightness and architectural interest while also affording privacy when needed. I can steam, soak, dress, and relax in this retreat with a mountain view and nestle into my cozy bedroom for a restful night’s sleep. The guest suite was a blast to design, as well! I went with twin beds after much deliberation for flexible sleep accommodations. I added a stunning glass pocket door for privacy and lightness, and a dressing/staging area just outside the bathroom so more than one person could get ready at a time. The five key elements I focused on were lighting, tile, cabinetry, hardware, and wall covering….but honestly, it’s mostly about the lighting! I had selected my decorative fixtures and was originally going to replace the existing 6” recessed lights with LED retrofits, but went all out and hired a lighting designer to get it just right….and that we did.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you visiting Palm Springs, and add MW 2020 to your travel agenda!