Vermodernists Get Inspiration From the West Coast

Part of the inspiration for starting Vermodernist came from our recent trip out to Palm Springs, California for Modernism Week. Not only did it give us a little welcome respite from cold and snowy Vermont weather, but we got a taste of some of the finest midcentury modern architecture and fashion around.

We stayed in the fabulous Del Marcos hotel, designed by William F. Cody and built in 1947, which served as a perfect home base for the week’s festivities.
The Del Marcos Hotel
One of the most interesting parts of our trip was a three hour architectural bus tour around Palm Springs where our guide pointed out homes and buildings designed by Donald Wexler, William F. Cody, Albert Frey, John Lautner, and Richard Neutra to name a few.

Featuring butterfly and flat roofs, long glass panels, and meticulous landscaping, the homes and buildings lining the streets represented an era gone by where even the gas stations were designed with innovation and purpose. There were no McMansions towering about in “new” developments, and those who had invested in these architectural marvels seemed to keep their homes up to original standards with pride and an abundance of care.
Palm Springs home designed by Donald Wexler

Palm Springs Welcome Center, formerly a gas station

Fashion was another component of the week, with a special exhibit of Braniff airline uniforms and paraphernalia. Other than the name sounding familiar, we didn’t recall Braniff airlines so the exhibit was definitely a blast from the past. A video played in the background showing Braniff’s vision of “the end of the Plain Plane” where flight attendants wearing vibrantly colored uniforms - designed by Emilio Pucci - and clear plastic bubble helmets, catered to passengers’ every whim. This vision of the “future” particularly struck a chord with us because when we landed in California the jetway at the terminal broke and we were literally stuck on the plane for a half hour as passengers panicked, yelled, and cursed the idea of air travel.

Braniff Airlines Stewardess Uniform

Braniff Airlines Stewardess Uniform
Braniff Airlines Commercials

Interspersed with lovely cocktail parties, uptown art hops, a tour of Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs estate, and shopping at some fabulous vintage clothing and furniture stores, the trip was a welcome dose of midcentury style that has inspired us to look for more midcentury wonders closer to home.

Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms Home

In Frank Sinatra's home

So I guess that leads us to our first reader question of the Vermodernist blog – Are there any midcentury modern buildings that you consider “must sees” in Vermont?


  1. This is a bit off the subject of VT modernism, but have you seen the photography of Julius Shulman? He photographed a lot of mid century modernist architecture in CA and elsewhere.

    Congrats on the blog! Looking forward to reading your posts.

  2. Hi Sarah!

    Thanks for checking out the blog. I saw some books of Shulman's work while we were in Palm Springs. I'm sad to say I didn't know his name before going out there, but his stuff is incredible. We were lucky enough to see one of the famous houses he photographed - the Kauffman House designed by Neutra for one.

    Thanks again for your comment and for checking us out ...


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