modernism week fall preview

Mod on a Budget

Celebrate Modernism Week Fall Preview at no cost with these freebie events.

Lydia Kremer Modernism

modernism week fall preview
The West Elm Home Tour is free with a reserved ticket and curated around the design theme, “Midcentury to Next-Century Transformation.”

Savor a slice of Modernism Week Fall Preview with a slew of free events during the Oct. 19—22 run. From home tours to photography exhibits and outdoor celebrations to vintage car shows, there’s plenty of free fun to be had.

See related story: Step back to 1964

The West Elm House: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oct. 20-22

The West Elm House has been created specifically to inspire you and spark ideas for your own home and outdoor décor. This free event launched during Modernism Week in February was an instant success, and it’s back at just the right price. For the Fall Preview, West Elm returns to the 1958 Dan Palmer and William Krisel home in Palm Springs curated around the design theme, “Midcentury to Next-Century Transformation.”


The West Elm House is a 1958 Dan Palmer and William Krisel designed home in Palm Springs.

The original home was built by the legendary Alexander Construction Company, and then updated and remodeled by a local team at Solterra Builders. Using its product line of organic, handcrafted, sustainably sourced sofas, tables, beds, lighting and accessories from its Living Showroom in Palm Springs, West Elm designers have furnished this classic midcentury home with a 21st century aesthetic.

Location: 634 S. Bedford Drive, Palm Springs.

Open House: Miles C. Bates House, noon
to 3 p.m. Oct. 21

For modernism and architectural preservationists, this rare opportunity to tour the interior of this endangered example of Walter S. White’s astonishing architecture is not-be-missed. Currently the Miles C. Bates house (1955) is in a state of neglect, but despite its forlorn condition the architecture is stunningly beautiful.

This architectural treasure is threatened with demolition unless someone can rescue it with the passion and the funds to restore the house.

The Bates House is considered a significant example of W.S. White’s buildings and one of the few left in the Coachella Valley. The home’s exuberant roof design is truly a unique feature of White’s architecture. The City of Palm Desert and the Historical Society of Palm Desert are making the home open to the public for the first time.

73-697 Santa Rosa Way, Palm Desert


Historic images of the 1955 Miles C. Bates House in Palm Desert.

Sidney Williams Star
Dedication, 2 p.m. Oct. 20

The annual Palm Springs Walk of Stars dedication ceremonies have become a Modernism Week staple, and at Fall Preview they will honor one of their own. Sidney Williams, a founding member of Modernism Week and the newly retired former curator of the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture + Design Center, will be honored with the 419th star.

She will be recognized for spearheading the effort to transform the 1961 Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan bank building into a dazzling showcase for the Palm Springs Art Museum’s impressive growing collection of architecture drawings and archives, as well as a space for exhibitions and related educational/community programs.


Sidney Williams spearheaded the effort to transform the 1961 Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan bank building into the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Center.

Location: 300 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

SeaFest: 7 a.m. to
7 p.m. Oct. 21

Enjoy a full day of history, music, food, and outdoor recreation at the legendary Salton Sea. The Salton Sea Recreational Area will host a day-long celebration of the storied sea featuring hot air balloon races, vintage car show, live music, farmers market, and an exhibition of historic photos of the Salton Sea in its heyday.

SeaFest is hosted by SEAthletes, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to nurture young people to be the next generation of responsible stewards of the Salton Sea.


SeaFest features Hot Air Balloon races at the Salton Sea.

Among the many festivities will be a vintage car show that will include more than 20 cars from the era of the visitor center opening. Greetings From The Salton Sea is an exhibit of historic photos of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area that were recently discovered by The California Department of Parks and Recreation. The photography dates back to the year of the Salton Sea’s opening in 1955 and photos that chronicle the popular outdoor recreational area through 1963. This will be the first public viewing of these photographs.

Salton Sea Visitors Center and Salton Sea State Recreation Area, t100225 State Park Road, Mecca

See related story: National Recognition

Shiprock Dedication Ceremony: 9:30-10:30 a.m. Oct. 22

If you enjoy the sweeping vistas of the San Jacinto Mountains as you enter the Palm Springs city limits, you can thank the diligence and dedication of the Friends of Palm Springs Mountains. For the past 14 years, they have worked to preserve large swaths of the scenic desert in the Chino Cone area.

The Friends of Palm Springs Mountains, a nonprofit organization, has raised funds and support to set aside these treasured open spaces that will eventually comprise a total 210 acres and will become the Chino Canyon Natural Preserve. A public dedication ceremony of the Angel Cove and Shiprock properties will take place to commemorate this amazing legacy.

Shiprock at Chino Cone on Highway 111 north of Tramway Road in North Palm Springs.

Although these events are free to the public, some of them require tickets that you can download from the Modernism Week website. Check the full Fall Preview schedule at

Lydia Kremer is a Palm Springs-based writer, publicist, and author of 100 Things to Do in Palm Springs Before You Die.

See related story: Frame of Mind