Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs, #55

Oct 14, 2021 | House Plans, Mid-Century Modern


Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs



The Mid-Century Modern (MCM) is more a period fashion than a house style.  The Classive “Federal” and the Progressive “Brutal” are styles that have qualities unique to themselves.  The Classive “Federal” is handsome, neighborly, bi-laterally symmetrical, alike a human body; the Federal partakes of Vitruvius’ architectural triad, “Firmness, Commodity, Delight”, it is friendly to humane ways of life, to the traditions of civil society.  The Progressive “Brutal” is aggressive toward people, most often ugly, inconvenient to the human body, assaulting to the eye, overbearing and brutal to all that might be termed, “civil”.  The Mid-Century Modern partakes of both the Classive and the Progressive, it is both humanly organic and coldly mechanic, and the MCM varies by region, some MCM regions are warmly traditional, some, coldly mechanic.

To its advantage, the MCM exhibits qualities beyond style, qualities that might partake of this Progressive, or that Classive style, and assemble the whole in some nonce form, alike Palm Springs Modern, or Capital Modern, the former of the desert, the later of the woods.  There is, of course, the MCM of Florida, with its machinist, Deco qualities; the MCM of the Mid-West, with its prairie, Wrightian qualities; the MCM of the East Coast megalopolis with its urban, corporate qualities.  Each MCM variation Americanizes the imported, modernistic European styles, making each Mid-Century Modern variation attractive, friendly to families, serviceable to automotive transportation and gadget innovation.



The 1925, Paris World Exposition, Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.
The 1932, New York Museum of Modern Art’s “Modern Architecture: International Exhibition”.
The 1939 New York World’s Fair, “The World of Tomorrow” with its Norman Bel Geddes (General Motors) “Futurama” exhibit, a scale model of an American city with skyscrapers, superhighways, and landing pads.
In 1946, Sunset magazine advertised Western Ranch Houses, “The ability to move in and out of your house freely … makes living in it pleasant and informal.

The American, Mid-Century Modern is inspired by the Rancho and cabins of the plains, dear to American identity, adaptable to an increasingly mobile, middle-class life. The old ranch is made young again with easy indoor-outdoor living, sliding glass-doors, patios and grills, convenient kitchens, and the freedom of an open floor plan.



Typically one story when in the desert, split or two level in the suburbs.  Mostly asymmetrical, rectangular and horizontal.
Roof Features
A flat or low-pitched roof, often with a cantilevered overhang.
Often, floor to ceiling glass in the public rooms, horizontal glass in the private rooms.
Structure and Materials
Of block in the desert and city, of wood in the suburb.  Construction is often modular, especially in “metal” houses.  Glass walls in post and beam construction.  Materials are often contrasted, as in the juxtaposition of bond and board directions.  Substantial chimneys of stone or brick; if not a chimney, a commanding wall.  The whole usually at rest upon a concrete pad.
Space and Floor Plan
An “open plan”; the kitchen, dining, and living rooms often a continuous space; bedroom groups separated from the living rooms.  Carports are typical, though garages are common.  Basements and attics are rare, except in the ranch variations.
Often formal in front, and glass paneled; a private entrance to utility rooms from the carport or garage; sheet or sliding-glass doors opening to pool or landscape.
Ornament is stripped, minimalized or avoided.
In the desert, predominately white, punctuated with bold, primary colors; in the woods, earthy browns and greens; in the West and Mid-West, natural tones; in the East Coast, machine colors are common.
In sympathy with nature, often intimately integrated with the landscape.

*for a detailed history, see “Your House: Style and Period, Mid-Century Modern“.


Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs floorplan

Mid-Century Modern, the “Palm Springs, plan.


Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs, Features

This Mid-Century Modern home is suitable to desert or woods, Palm Springs or New Canaan, easy, comfortable, affordable.  And private: this home, formal in front, opens in to itself and its gardens.  The glass sheet-walls synthesize outdoor with indoor, wedding the built to the natural, happily.  Separate zones decrease energy use, and the whole can readily be net-zero.  Here, the wall between man and nature is glass-thin, a glass that can be slid aside to allow the outside, in.  The master bedroom looks to the pool, opens to a generous bath with an indoor-outdoor shower.  There is a garage with work-table, and a mud-room.  The public room welcomes kitchen, dining, living in a single, family friendly room.  The dogtrot between structures is designed for ease of grilling and serving.  The twin structure might have two bedrooms, a bedroom and office, or the whole might be given over to an in-law suite, or rental.  The ceilings are high, the expense in furnishings is low, the construction cost is simply, affordable, easy for first-time buyers and retiaries.  Likely, you will notice of this house that the cold qualities of the modernistic Mies-machine are warmed by the homey Appalachian tradition of the dogtrot, that breezeway that cooled hot and steamy Southern houses, a cooling welcome in both dry desert and swampy DC.

Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs, Plan #55


Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs plan & elevation

Mid-Century Modern, the “Palm Springs”; plan and elevation.

Full House
12’-0”                           Height
66’-3””                          Width
60’-0”                          Depth  

Resident House
12’-0”                           Height
33’-3”                           Width
60’-0”                           Depth

Guest House
12’-0”                           Height
17’-6”                           Width
35’-0”                           Depth

1,497               Total    Int. Square Feet
961’                 Resident
536’                 Guest

3                                  Bedrooms
3                                  Bathrooms 

Concrete and Stucco

Common Room          16’-0” x 33’-6”

(Kitchen in Com-Rm    16’-0” x 10’-0”)
Master Bedroom         13’-6” x 19’-0”  (incl walk-in)
Walk-in Closet             4’-8” x 6’-8”
Master Bath                 13’-0” x 6’-8”
Bedroom 2                  16’-0” x 12’-0” (cl. 11’-0” x 2’-8”)
Bedroom 3 / Office    16’-0” x 10’-0”
Bathroom 2                 11’-0” x 6’-0”
Guest House Hall        5’-2” x 10’-10”
Bathroom / Laundry   4’-8” x 7’-6”
Mud Room                  8’-0” x 7’-6”
Garage                         13’-0” x 23”-6”
Dog-Trot Room           17’-6” x 34’-3”
Dipping Pool               23’-0” x 12’-0”
potential separate public entrance for home office
tech closet included


Mid-Century Modern Palm Springs alternative

Mid-Century Modern with a color palette suitable to woods or prairie.


energy efficient design
open floor plan
economical to build
main floor bed & bath
main floor laundry
integrated pool
outdoor shower
outdoor room
wheelchair adaptable
separate HVAC zones
Exterior Wall Construction     SIP or CFR
Roof Framing                          beam and truss
Roof Pitch                               flat
Ceiling Main                           9’-6”


*   *   *


Commission Houseplan


*   *   *


Mini House, Lake Lure
Cozy House

Cozy House

  The Cozy House : You will remember Walden Pond near Concord, “the shot heard round the world,” et cetera.  You will recall the disagreeable recluse, Henry David Thoreau, who composed Walden: or Life in the Woods, a book that recounts a simple, retiring life...

Eppes House Appomattox Plantation Petersburg Virginia. credit EWY Media
The Tidewater House

The Tidewater House

  : The Tidewater House Tradition ... Drive along the backroads of tobacco country and you will see untended fields, collapsed tobacco barns, and centuries of hard-used Tidewater houses, some occupied and some standing against time with just a rusting memory...

Temple of Canova Roman Catholic Canova architect Giuseppe Segusini assisting Veneto Italy 1830. credit Elleon
American Sacred Architecture

American Sacred Architecture

.. American Sacred Architecture: Houses of God : At our nation’s center, an obelisk: Named in memory of our first president, George Washington, the Washington Monument stands upon highest ground that it might touch the first and last light of the Sun’s day, Ra’s...

Miami en Condado San Juan Puerto Rico 2
Art Deco House

Art Deco House

... The Art Deco House: Prologue to Epilogue : Anthropology, archaeology, the assembling, the cataloging, the visual encyclopedias of every culture’s everything, their patterns, their statuary, their furniture, their temples and teapots were pictured in...

McKim Mead White Vanderbilt Mansion Hyde Park New York. credit NPS 2
Renaissance Revival House

Renaissance Revival House

... Humanism and the Renaissance Revival House : You remember Socrates’ rival, Protagoras, the able sophist who observed that “Man is the measure of all things.”  Yes, if we measure by arms-length with manmade tools.  Even so, there is something hopeful, something...

Storybook Cottage. credit Littleny Stock
Storybook Houses

Storybook Houses

... Storybook Houses : Look!  Witches, giants, dwarfs, elves, fearies, unicorns, the enchantments and romance of make-believe live forever in the universe of imagination.  Mere suggestion and you picture witches, giants, dwarfs so real that you can draw them as...

American Carpenter Gothic
American Carpenter Gothic

American Carpenter Gothic

... Grant Wood's American Carpenter Gothic : An odd etymology: Grant Wood painted into the national memory a Carpenter Gothic house, the Dibble House, Eldon, Iowa.  In the picture, a pitchfork wielding father, his buttoned-down daughter, a barn, a church steeple, a...

Cozy Greek Revival House sm
Neo-Grec House Plan

Neo-Grec House Plan

... NEO-GREC HOUSE PLAN INTRODUCTION : Greek architectural heritage was revived in mainland Greece following expulsion of the Ottoman Turks in 1832.  This classical revival was championed in Greece by numerous Pan-European Classive architects, especially the Danes...

Architectural Drawing Classical Academy
Architectural Drawing

Architectural Drawing

... The Beautiful Home, Architectural Drawing : From mind to hand, to pencil’s point to line, the drawing of the house will make its way.  Yet before mind, the eye, the acquisition of knowledge, of taste and discernment.  If you would learn a craft, first you must...

2021 Architectural Prints, Jeffersonian
Architectural Prints

Architectural Prints

  The Beautiful Home 2021 Architectural Prints Collection   The Beautiful Home’s 2021 Architectural Prints Collection will be available to collectors, May 1, 2024.  The collection includes Georgian, Greek Revival, Mid-Century Modern, and Jeffersonian...

Hunter Huffman 1 sm
Introducing Hunter Huffman

Introducing Hunter Huffman

: Hunter Huffman   New to The Beautiful Home, Hunter Huffman, a dedicated advocate for sustainable community growth, a champion of classical architecture. With a diverse background spanning industries such as construction, architecture, and urban planning,...

beautiful home book
The Beautiful Home Book

The Beautiful Home Book

The Beautiful Home Book : In 1988 I began a seven-volume treatise on American domestic architecture because I intended not to draw plumbing plans in a desk at the office of some fashionable Modernist.  As it happened, 1988 was a year when we Classives were...

Cozy Houses, Chateauesque, The Beautiful Home
Cozy Houses

Cozy Houses

... Cozy Houses : Yes, rents are up.  Most Americans pay nearly half their income to be dry and warm.  Yes, houses are growing larger, more expensive, farther from city convenience and close community.  Yes, new houses are rickety, uglier than ever they have been. ...

Miny House Bora Bora
The Cozy Home

The Cozy Home

...  Cozy Home : The cottage house, the tiny house, the bungalow, the shotgun house, the summerhouse are all cozy homes, vernacular houses of no specific style but of many a particular period.  Among my favorites, the summerhouses of Switzerland and Sweeden, and of...

George Washington architect west facade
George Washington Architect

George Washington Architect

... George Washington, Architect : George Washington is not a well-known architect, he is better known as president, general, farmer, and yet his architecture is more influential than that of Le Corbusier and F.L. Wright.  Yes, you should laugh, because true.  In...

Cracker Barrel, Vanishing America
Vanishing America

Vanishing America

... Vanishing America : Dan, a man in his early 70s, is selling his Tidewater house to developers who intend a McMansion on his large corner lot in suburban Washington, DC.  Dan is reluctant to discuss the sale for fear that publicity will anger the new corporate...

For your delight, please join our mailing list to receive weekly issues of our eZine

You have Successfully Subscribed!