PHOTOGRAPHED BY LANCE GERBER
The living room buzzes with strategic doses of color, as seen in the custom furniture by Boudreau and a custom rug by Erik Lindstrom PHOTOGRAPHED BY LANCE GERBER
DESIGNER MICHELLE BOUDREAU INFUSES POPS OF COLOR AND PLENTY OF PERSONALITY INTO A MIDCENTURY MODERN GEM IN PALM SPRINGS.
Renovating a midcentury modern home can be quite the balancing act. There’s a reason so many people are drawn to the style: What’s not to love about clean lines, a focus on indoor-outdoor flow and pops of color? But as it happens, not everything that seemed perfect decades ago fits into the way we live today.
When interior designer Michelle Boudreau connected with clients wishing to update a historic home by architect William Krisel in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs, she assured them they were in good hands. “It was important to the owners to embrace the original architecture and redesign the property [to] capture their personalities and style in an artful way, seamlessly merging modern technology while respecting the cherished midcentury details,” she explains. “The philosophy of the renovation was to establish a good relationship with the existing structure as it had beautiful bones.”
The clients, who planned to use the property as a vacation home, were willing to go in a bold, colorful direction. “They wanted it to exude the Palm Springs lifestyle,” says Boudreau.
The designer was inspired by the clients’ personalities and interests. “They are passionate about sailing and traveling and the beauty of the ocean,” she says. “Variations of colors of water were used throughout— vibrant turquoise to rich blues.” She also used an art piece the clients purchased in St. Tropez by Stefan Szczesny as a springboard. “It really exemplified the colors and spirit they wanted to exude in this property,” she says. Touches of corals and blush, organic shapes, walnut wood, and custom furniture and lighting were used throughout.
A painting by Stefan Szczesny helped inspire the design direction. PHOTOGRAPHED BY LANCE GERBER
The kitchen cabinets are finished with matte black hardware by Nest Studio PHOTOGRAPHED BY LANCE GERBER
A view from the den into the living room frames the latter space’s 40-foot windows.“It’s the true definition of indoor-outdoor living,” says the designer. PHOTOGRAPHED BY LANCE GERBER
Luckily, the home already had great flow, so the original structure did not need any major changes. Instead, Boudreau added architectural wood slats—a nod to the decorative dividers from the ’60s—to separate the living room and dining room from the kitchen. “I was really passionate about preserving the midcentury architecture so was careful to ensure I had embraced some of the simple classic design elements from this iconic style that is still so relevant today. I revisited the classic materials in a new, fresh, modern way and layered in unique custom pieces, shapes and patterns throughout to tell a new contemporary story.”
The entire home is special, but certain moments stand out as favorites for Boudreau. “My favorite feature in the living room are the hanging bubble chairs that create a fun cocoon to relax and enjoy the view of the beautifully landscaped garden,” she says of the space, which includes custom-designed furniture in organic shapes and soft colors, and walls wrapped in slats of walnut wood with brass inserts between each gap. The kitchen is equally beautiful. “I love the detail of the refined brass fins on the front of the kitchen island and the thin brass breaks between the backsplash tile,” she says. “The lighting is the jewelry of the room.” And let’s not forget the turquoise front door. “The massive brass handle is vintage,” Boudreau notes.
For the dining room, Boudreau designed a large round walnut table with legs of varying diameters. PHOTOGRAPHED BY LANCE GERBER
The guest bedroom features Femme wallpaper by DropIt Modern PHOTOGRAPHED BY LANCE GERBER
Boudreau designed the primary bedroom’s floor-to-ceiling channel-tufted headboard. PHOTOGRAPHED BY LANCE GERBER
As with any project, the designer faced some challenges over the one-year redesign. “The prior owners tried to strip the paint from the tongue-and-groove ceiling throughout,” she says. “Unfortunately, we could not get them back to their original state so we had to prepare and paint them properly.” But the highlights certainly prevailed, as did the homeowners’ reaction to the finished project. “They were absolutely stunned—it was exactly what they wanted to enjoy the sunny Palm Springs desert lifestyle,” Boudreau says. “They love it so much that they are living there more now, half the year in France and half in Palm Springs.” Sounds like they’ve struck the perfect balance.
The primary bathroom boasts a bold backsplash by Trifecta Tile Concepts. PHOTOGRAPHED BY LANCE GERBER
TYPE Single-family home
LOCATION Vista Las Palmas, Palm Springs
INTERIOR DESIGN Michelle Boudreau Design michelleboudreaudesign.com
ARCHITECT William Krisel
DROP IT MODERN Guest bedroom wallpaper dropitmodern.com
DUNN-EDWARDS Paint throughout dunnedwards.com
ERIK LINDSTROM Custom rugs throughout eriklindstrom.com
HUNTER DOUGLAS Window treatments throughout hunterdouglas.com
REJUVENATION Primary bathroom mirrors rejuvenation.com
SUB-ZERO, WOLF Kitchen appliances fergusonshowrooms.com