Designers Who Inspire Me: David Hicks

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This gallery contains 15 photos.

Long before we were “Living” with Martha Stewart, or learning how to “Color Splash” with David Bromstad… and decades prior to us tuning into Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators Mary McDonald and Martyn Lawrence-Bullard — there was David Nightengale Hicks.   … Continue reading

SUNNYLANDS: The Annenberg Estate… The Power of Beauty and Hospitality

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By Christopher Kennedy

In 1963, a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of abundance, patriotism, talent, philanthropy and natural beauty rose out of the sand.  Its name is Sunnylands.

Since I moved to Palm Springs ten years ago, I have many times passed its massive pink walls.  The estate itself is the size of a large subdivision.  Its allure is palpable.  My husband, David, likes to remark that he can go from 0 to 70 in our sports car, and still be nowhere near the end of the pink walls.

Recently, fellow Desert Design Authority Blogger, Jeff Jurasky, and I had a private tour of Sunnylands. What an amazing design adventure to be invited behind the gates where presidents, royalty and statesmen have been welcomed over the years.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons why I love Sunnylands, and by extension, its gracious former residents.

10. The Topiaries.  I admit, I am a sucker for topiary.  I always have been.  It probably goes back to the summer that I spent in Europe during architecture school.  At Sunnylands, I feel that they simultaneously add a touch of whimsy and formality.  Is that possible?

9. The colors in the game room of this guesthouse.  Red, yellow, black and a sunflower sofa.  My design team jokes that my least favor color is red, but this room may have changed my mind. Mr. and Mrs. Annenberg would customize the movie they showed to the guest they were hosting – i.e., Mr. Reagan may have been shown a recent Western.  And, of course, there is a bathroom in the projection room for the projectionist’s use…they thought of everything.

8. The Front Doors.  The Annenbergs would always answer them personally, no matter who was coming to call. The epitome of true hospitality.

7. The Impressionist Paintings.  While I assume that a professional art hanger was involved, Mr. Annenberg  arranged the paintings himself.  Gauguin, Cezanne, Degas, Monet, VuillardRenoir and many more all live together in this amazing space.  The juxtaposition of the lava rock, which connects the exterior and interior walls in classic California Modernist style, with the delicacy of the paintings and ornate quality of the frames, is especially striking.  The original paintings now live at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the museum helped create the high-quality replicas now on display at the EstateThe Annenberg gift stipulates that the collection must be exhibited together and always remain on the premises of the Metropolitan Museum. The complete Impressionist Collection also includes the works of Pierre Bonnard, Eugene Boudin, Georges Braque, Camille Corot, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Berthe Morisot,  Georges Seurat and Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec,Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso,Georges Braque and Henri Fantin-Latour.

6.  The kitchen.  The kitchen is not usually part of the tour, so I was especially excited to get to see it.  It affirms my theory that white kitchens are back!  It’s more than a residential kitchen, but not quite a commercial kitchen.  A fitting metaphor for the house, really.  While it truly was a family home, it evolved into much more.  

5.The William Haines Influence.The Annenberg’s turned to self-taught furniture and interior designer William Haines who whose high style and glamorous interiors raised the bar of 20th Century design. 

4.The Grounds.  200 sprawling acres of converted California desert.  For over a century, people have come to Palm Springs for its magical powers of healing, rest, and rejuvenation.  I don’t know if certain magnetic forces in our planet create a type of “energy center” here in the California desert, but I suspect so.  It’s nice to know that the most powerful people in the world are equally susceptible to the lure of the Palm Springs.  Our tour guide said presidents and other powerful people were able to use the wide open spaces and breathtaking vistas to “get the big picture”.  It’s true that the power of Palm Springs is palpable.  When I need inspiration to solve a design dilemma or figure out a new product, this is the view that I turn to — in my yard.   I daresay that the important men and women who used Sunnylands as a retreat had much more important matters on their minds.  And, certainly, the grandeur of the setting befits the gravity of their situations.  

3. This amazing sculpture by Bertoia.

2. The Lady of the House.  Lee Annenberg was the hostess-with-the-mostest. She was accomplished in her own right, a graduate of Stanford with degrees in history and political science.  Befitting a woman who helped to shape history and politics over the course of her life.  I think about the unique and, sometimes subtle, position of power that Mrs. Annenberg was in.  What conversations, what friendships or alliances, were started because of a seating arrangement she created for a dinner party? In the photo below, Mrs. Annenberg is shown setting the table for a dinner party at their residence in London, during the time that her husband served as the United States’ Ambassador to England.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan first began visiting Sunnylands when he was governor of California, attending the Annenberg’s legendary New Year’s Eve party.  They continued the tradition after he became POTUS.  Lee and Walter Annenberg used the power of hospitality graciously and effectively, always for good, and clearly with a deep-seated desire to leave the world a little bit better place than they found it.

1. The unabashed appreciation for beauty and design.  Mr. and Mrs. Annenberg were those special type of collectors with an unfailing appreciation for beauty and the means to attain it, celebrate it, and preserve it. All too often, these days, we see people with means who fail to elevate their personal style.  Just watch any episode of MTV’s cribs. When they built their dream house, the Annenbergs hired the best team possible.  Their architect, A. Quincy Jones once said, “People want pleasant experiences and require beauty.”  Amen, Quincy, amen.  And to the Annenbergs…a heartfelt thank you for opening your magnificent home to me, and so many others, so that we can experience the power of beauty and the legacy of your hospitality.

ABOUT THIS BLOGGER:  Christopher Kennedy is an award-winning, international designer, whose work has captured the attention of leading publications such as Architectural Digest, Luxe Magazine, Dwell, California Home & Design, and Elle Decor. Now, part of the Desert Sun’s Desert Design Authority, Christopher shares his expertise on style, interior design, and home furnishings.

Based in Palm Springs and Los Angeles, Christopher is best known for his clean, modern aesthetic. His design projects currently include luxury desert escapes, homes in the Hollywood Hills, lofts in New York City, and waterfront properties from British Columbia to Laguna Beach.  His eponymous furniture line is available in showrooms in Palm Desert, Los Angeles, and Denver.  Locally, his Palm Springs candle line is available at Paul Kaplan at Raymond Lawrence, Palm Springs.

Attention Modernists: On Board For Marrakesh!

By CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY 

Back in 1969, Crosby, Stills and Nash asked us all to look at the world through the sunset in our eyes and travel the train through clear Moroccan skies. Now, 44 years later – we’re all riding the Marrakesh Express again!

The Marrakesh Designer Showcase – this year’s newest addition to Palm Springs Modernism Week’s long list of home tours – is really something to experience. An architectural homage to the late 1960s – Marrakesh Country Club in Palm Desert was the brain child of legendary interior designer John Elgin Woolf – the creator of Hollywood Regency, and developer Johnny Dawson, inarguably the greatest golfer in the 100 year history of the Southern California Golf Association.

 

Just about the same time CSN was topping the charts with their big hit – Dawson was facing stiff competition from the other eighteen gated golf communities on the market in the desert (including Thunderbird in Rancho Mirage). He needed to set it apart from the rest so he brought in the “big guns” in the form of celebrity interior designer John Elgin Woolf. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Woolf and his partner, Robert Koch, built and renovated homes for a long list of well known Los Angeles area residents including Errol Flynn, Mae West, John Wayne, and Ira Gershwin. By 1968, Woolf and Koch were famous for creating the new standard in glamorous movie-star living. Their style synthesized 19th-century French, Greek Revival and Modernist touches into a heady mixture that has since been christened “Hollywood Regency.”

Now, nearly a half decade later – we’re all riding the Marrakesh Express again! Five gorgeous homes remodeled by nine Southern California designers. And if you go – don’t miss the piano, once owned by Elvis Presley – available for sale at a mere $1 Million asking price. Of course you can also see a few select pieces from my furniture line on display at the Showcase. I loved the treatment designer Carly Blalock gave my Robert Chair in acrylic. Stunning in Maxwell Fabric!

 

As of this writing – there are still tickets available. The Showcase closes this Sunday, February 24th – don’t miss it!

For tickets go to modernismweek.com

 

ABOUT THIS BLOGGER:  Christopher Kennedy is an award-winning, international designer, whose work has captured the attention of leading publications such as Architectural Digest, Luxe Magazine, Dwell,California Home & Design, and Elle Decor. Now, part of the Desert Sun’s Desert Design Authority, Christopher shares his expertise on style, interior design, and home furnishings.

Based in Palm Springs and Los Angeles, Christopher is best known for remodeling and restoring homes with Midcentury Hollywood pedigrees. His design projects currently include luxury desert escapes, homes in the Hollywood Hills, lofts in New York City, and waterfront properties from British Columbia to Laguna Beach and Cabo San Lucas.  His eponymous furniture line is available in showrooms in Palm Desert, Los Angeles, and Denver.  Locally, his Palm Springs candle line is available at Paul Kaplan at Raymond Lawrence, Palm Springs.

View Portfolio:  www.ChristopherKennedy.com

A Season For Giving

By Christopher Kennedy

As we all prepare for the holidays, let’s not forget to step away from our hectic schedules to give back to those in need. This year I have been asked to support two causes aiding students, by creating Christmas ornaments for charity. So, I called upon two artists I work with regularly, Shawn Savage and DaVidRo, to help benefit The Olive Crest Academy and The Edible School Yard Project. I hope you will join me and other members of the Design Community in giving to these worthwhile organizations.

 

 

 

 

 

So while you are decking those halls and hanging that mistletoe, think about sharing the joy by supporting one of these organizations… or your own favorite charity.  ‘Tis the season!

            Warm Regards!  – Christopher

 

ABOUT THIS BLOGGER:  Christopher Kennedy is an award-winning, international designer, whose work has captured the attention of leading publications such as Architectural Digest, Luxe Magazine, Dwell, California Home & Design, and Elle Decor. Now, part of the Desert Sun’s Desert Design Authority, Christopher shares his expertise on style, interior design, and home furnishings.

Based in Palm Springs and Los Angeles, Christopher is best known for remodeling and restoring homes with Midcentury Hollywood pedigrees. His design projects currently include luxury desert escapes, homes in the Hollywood Hills, lofts in New York City, and waterfront properties from British Columbia to Laguna Beach and Cabo San Lucas.  His eponymous furniture line is available in showrooms in Palm Desert, Los Angeles, and Denver.  Locally, his Palm Springs candle line is available at Paul Kaplan at Raymond Lawrence, Palm Springs. 

View Portfolio:  www.ChristopherKennedy.com

Crate & Barrel – My Cup of Tea

By Christopher Kennedy

 

 

 

A few things my readers should know about me by now: I love the classics. I have a big heart…and I am no Decorating Diva. When it comes to sourcing for a design project, I am as likely to call upon my high-end custom furniture makers as I am to scour the deepest, darkest back rooms of consignment stores. To effect my carefully curated aesthetic - my “go to list” is highly varied. You are as likely to run into me at an exclusive designer showroom as you are to find me shopping retail. Let’s face it – sometimes the “retail reliables”  like Room & Board, Williams Sonoma and Macy’s have exactly what a project calls for when it comes to occasional furniture, accessories, and decorative bedding. 

 

 

The Arzberg Teapot has been a Crate & Barrel staple since the day they opened their doors 50 years ago. It was inspired by the Bauhaus school movement, of which I’ve been a fan since architecture school.  This classic was first designed in 1931 for the Arzberg porcelain factory in Germany.  A young college student by the name of Gordon Segal bought the teapot as a present for his mother. Years later, on December 7, 1962, when he opened the very first Crate & Barrel store in Chicago, he bought it again…    but this time by the dozen.

An all-time classic, The Arzberg, with its perfect proportions, simple yet beautiful shape, and exquisite white porcelain has endured as one of Crate & Barrel’s best sellers.  As part of their 50th anniversary celebration, the retail giant has invited 12 international designers to envision the Arzberg teapot as their artistic canvas. Each month, the retail chain will release a limited-edition reinterpretation of the Arzberg, numbered and signed by the designer.

 

 

              12 NEW DESIGNER EDITIONS TO COMMEMORATE 50 FABULOUS YEARS

 

 

 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: So, today I tip my hat to Crate & Barrel for their longevity and for their good sense to tap the resources of the design community to offer both consumers and decorating professionals great product at prices that don’t necessarily have to break the bank. One last note on these Designer Arzbergs – most of them are white with pops of color – just my cup of tea!

Warm regards! – Christopher

 

 

ABOUT THIS BLOGGER:  Christopher Kennedy is an award-winning, international designer, whose work has captured the attention of leading publications such as Architectural Digest, Luxe Magazine, Dwell, California Home & Design, and Elle Decor. Now, part of the Desert Sun’s Desert Design Authority, Christopher shares his expertise on style, interior design, and home furnishings.

Based in Palm Springs and Los Angeles, Christopher is best known for remodeling and restoring homes with Midcentury Hollywood pedigrees. His design projects currently include luxury desert escapes, homes in the Hollywood Hills, lofts in New York City, and waterfront properties from British Columbia to Laguna Beach and Cabo San Lucas.  His eponymous furniture line is available in showrooms in Palm Desert, Los Angeles, and Denver.  Locally, his Palm Springs candle line is available at Paul Kaplan at Raymond Lawrence, Palm Springs. 

View Portfolio:  www.ChristopherKennedy.com

 

Shopping With Christopher Kennedy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s no secret – I love shopping for furniture. Whether an afternoon in the Palm Springs Uptown Design District, a full day excursion to the Pacific Design Center, or a week-long trek to the annual trade shows in Vegas or High Point – furniture shopping is my passion. My heart beats fast and furious to touch the textiles and feel the grains of the wood. But there is something to be said for the convenience of shopping online. Based on the news reports from this year’s Cyber Monday, I’m not the only one who gets a thrill out of spending hours on my computer – shopping until my key-stroking fingers drop.

There’s a new internet mall on the world wide web. Dering Hall (www.deringhall.com) gives you direct access to the storefronts of televison’s Million Dollar Decorators Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Kathryn Ireland. You’ll also find products from tastemakers like Jean de Merry, Michael Berman, Mimi London and yours truly. I am honored to be included alongside this elite group of interior design trendsetters.

To give you an idea of what Dering Hall is all about, I’ve chosen a few of my favorite pieces from the storefronts of this recently launched i-mall.  So, after a quick glance at my top picks below, put on your comfy sweats, grab a cup of cocoa and, from the comfort of your own home, visit Dering Hall to find the perfect fit for your next design project. See what inspires our community—from products and trends to design tips and curated collections.

Christopher Kennedy’s Top Picks From Dering Hall – 1) Lisbon Bed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard,  2) Safi Suzani Pillow by Kathryn Ireland,  3) Lumiere Chandelier by Jean de Merry,  4) Radial Cocktail Table by Lawson-Fenning,  5) The Richter Credenza by Christopher Kennedy,  6) The Mimi Chair by Christopher Kennedy,  7) Tufted Bench by Steven Gambrel 8)Grey Lounge Chair by Rose Tarlow.  All available at www.deringhall.com

 

ABOUT THIS BLOGGER:  Christopher Kennedy is an award-winning, international designer, whose work has captured the attention of leading publications such as Architectural Digest, Luxe Magazine, Dwell, California Home & Design, and Elle Decor. Now, part of the Desert Sun’s Desert Design Authority, Christopher shares his expertise on style, interior design, and home furnishings.

Based in Palm Springs and Los Angeles, Christopher is best known for remodeling and restoring homes with Midcentury Hollywood pedigrees. His design projects currently include luxury desert escapes, homes in the Hollywood Hills, lofts in New York City, and waterfront properties from British Columbia to Laguna Beach and Cabo San Lucas.  His eponymous furniture line is available in showrooms in Palm Desert, Los Angeles and Denver.  Locally, his Palm Springs candle line is available at Paul Kaplan at Raymond Lawrence, Palm Springs. 

View Portfolio:  www.ChristopherKennedy.com

Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

By Christopher Kennedy

As Thanksgiving approaches, I thought I would give my Desert Design Authority readers some last minute table-top inspiration. Whether you’ll be two or twenty for dinner – relaxed or formal –  take some time to set the mood for the festivities. My followers know that I love white with pops of color.  Black and white also sets a clean, crisp and modern holiday table.  But if you are a bit more of a traditionalist – and need those autumn hues to make up for the falling leaves we won’t be seeing here in the desert – I say go for it!  While I love orange and burgandy at this time of year, I’m encouraging you to take some liberties by trying purples, mint greens and yellow too!

I’ve checked in with fellow designers and style bloggers - and here are some of my favorite looks for the Thanksgiving table-top this year!  And please – send me photos of your holiday table!  I’d love to see what you created!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you and yours a joyful, healthy and safe Thanksgiving!

- Christopher

 

 

 

 

 

Designer Show House Season Is Underway!

 
by Christopher Kennedy
 

The Hamptons Designer Show House of 2012

 

All across the country – from the Long Island Hamptons to Palm Beach and Pasadena – committees are hard at work putting together Designer Show Houses.

Dynamic teams of experts from the worlds of marketing, public relations, fund raising, and magazine publishing join forces to show case the work of both established and emerging interior and landscape designers.    

 

 

Depending on the size of the Show House, anywhere from five to forty-five designers independently decorate the indoor and outdoor spaces of these architectural masterpieces, applying their own aesthetic to the general  “feel and flow” defined by the sponsoring executive board or magazine.If you are a fan of design, you will love visiting these Show Houses – a great opportunity to see the real thing, not just a picture in a magazine. Typically, the Show Houses are open for public touring for four to six consecutive weekends. Admission charges range from $10 to $40 per head, with proceeds usually going to a benefiting charity. In addition to the tours, many of the Show House programs also offer lectures, opening night parties, private VIP showings, and Meet the Designer events.

Regardless of what point a designer is in his or her career, an invitation to participate in a Show House is a great honor, even more so for emerging professionals. Inclusion means one has arrived as a trendsetting tastemaker. Depending on which Show House we’re referring to, such an invitation is akin to winning an Oscar in the design world. By taking a tour of one of these Show Houses, not only are you treating yourself to seeing the work of the best of the best, but you are also most likely helping raise funds for a good cause. 

 

Kips Bay Show House – New York,  Launches May 2013

A room from last year's Kips Bay Show House

 

 

One of the most anticipated events in the design industry is the annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House which features the work of America’s top interior designers like Thom Filicia, Jamie Drake, and Bunny Williams. Now in its 41st year, this annual event has become one of the most prestigious decorator Show Houses and has helped raise more than $17 million for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.

 

 

California Home & Design Magazine Hollywood Show House – Hollywood, CA. 

Closes Nov 18, 2012

This year, I was honored to design the living and dining areas for California Home & Design Magazine’s Show House in Hollywood benefiting the A+D Architecture + Design Museum of Los Angeles. Jetset Nostalgia – that’s how I’d sum up my aesthetic I brought to the space. I combined vibrant California glamour, retro-inspired furnishings (many from my own furniture line), and layers of bold, colorful graphic patterns that I remember fondly from growing up in the 1970s.  The Show House is open for tours through next weekend. In January, items featured in the Show House will be part of a Tastemaker Tag Sale on One Kings Lane — so you will have a chance to own part of the design!

 

California Home & Design Magazine's Show House - Living Areas by Christopher Kennedy

  

 

"JETSET NOSTALGIA" by Christopher Kennedy at the Hollywood Show House - open for tours through this weekend

 

Pasadena Show House – Pasadena, CA.  Launches April 2013

 

 

 

Since 1948, Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts has raised 18 million dollars in gifts and grants to support the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and other non-profit organizations and local symphonic, cultural and educational musically oriented programs for youth. Always stunning, this is one of my favorite Show Houses. Unfortunately, my travel and work schedule left me no choice but to turn down the committee’s invitation to participate in their 2013 program – but I am honored to have been considered and hope to be able to join in the fun and fund raising next year. I’m hoping all our Desert Design Authority readers will head out to Pasadena come April – to rest their retinas on this fabulous Show House.

 

Marrakesh Country Club  Designer Showcase – Palm Desert, CA.  Launches February 2013

I have long believed that the Coachella Valley should have a Show House.  We have many talented designers in this area, dedicated philanthropists, and fantastic architecture — what a great recipe for Show House success!  Well, the time has finally come…

Marrakesh Country Club will host the Coachella Valley's first Designer Show House

 

This year, Palm Springs Modernism Week has included the Marrakesh Country Club Designer Showcase on its jam-packed list of events and home tours. Billed as the ultimate marriage of midcentury architecture and modern creativity, the Coachella Valley’s first Designer Showcase features some of California’s top interior designers who will reinterpret these classic midcentury homes from developer, John Dawson, famed for Thunderbird and Eldorado Country Clubs.  Dawson hired architect John Elgin Woolf for this 1950s project, synthesizing Greek revival and 19th century French architecture with modernist touches. Woolf’s ground breaking, unique style foreshadowed aspects of postmodernism, later christened “Hollywood Regency.” Ultimately, Woolf  became architect to Tinsle Town’s biggest stars including Cary Grant, Judy Garland, Bob Hope, Errol Flynn, Greta Garbo and John Wayne.

I’m flattered that featured Showcase Designer, Carly Blalock of Carly & Company in La Jolla, will be featuring a number of pieces from my furniture line in her design at the Marrakesh Showcase.

See you at the Show Houses!

Guest Room Design

 
by Christopher Kennedy
  
 
 
 
Each year it seems “Season” here in the desert starts earlier and earlier. When I first moved to Palm Springs, many considered mid-January’s Bob Hope Classic (now the Humana Challenge) to be the official kick-off. But over the past few years, it has been different. It seems that many of my friends and clients who “winter” here in our valley have been popping in for short visits and extended weekends, even over the summer.  The LA and San Francisco crowd have already been out in record numbers. I’m thinking we may be getting to the point where “Season” now starts just as soon as the last golf course has recovered from its scalping.
 
 
 
 
 
Part of living here in paradise is opening our doors to old friends and loved ones from the colder climates.  We love when they come and we enjoy making them comfortable. When it comes to designing guest quarters, I take my cue from the luxury hotels — each of my guest room designs tells a story and creates a mood.  For my own guests and my clients’ guests, I like to create a private retreat for reading, relaxing, and restful sleep.
 
 
 

My key elements are fabulous headboards, bedside tables that are as functional as they are beautiful, interesting lamps, and sumptuous bedding. I like to include comfortable side chairs, and when space allows, a bench at the foot of the bed is always welcome. I almost always avoid “bedroom sets” and prefer to give each guest room a carefully curated look.

 

 

For your inspiration, I have included a few more pictures from some of my favorite recent projects. I’d love to see examples of what you consider great design. So, send me pictures of your best guest rooms. Email  info@christopherkennedy.com

My Journey To Palm Springs… And How I Found Myself Along The Way

What a wonderful privilege to write about design and architecture for The Desert Sun!  I promise that we will get down to the nitty-gritty of style and substance soon enough.  For now, though, I think it is important to let you know how I came to Palm Springs, why I call it home, and how it inspires my design aesthetic.

I moved to Palm Springs for a change.  I found it, and I also found myself along the way.  The story, of course, begins a bit farther back…

I am a native Californian: Born in 1970s San Francisco (with all that implies!) and raised on the Central Coast, before spending middle school and high school in Colorado when my parents divorced.  Summers and winter holidays were spent with my dad in Northern California.  He was retired, so we would swim in the pool most of the day and take road trips all over the state.  Then it was off to Missouri to study architecture at Drury.  I liked the school so much that I stayed on for my Masters in Business Administration.  But California has always felt like home, so after my last exam I headed straight for Los Angeles.

The tech boom was at its height and I accepted a job as a stockbroker and financial consultant, turning down Disney in the process — which is where I had spent many summers as an intern.  I enjoyed my job and had some modest success, but my heart wasn’t in it. Three years later, my dad died and my mom fell ill, but I had a sweet new Southern boyfriend who hated LA.  My dad had taught me that life is too short not to do what you love, so David and I packed our bags and moved to Palm Springs.  At the time, we had spent at most three weekends in the desert — but as many of you know, that is more than enough time to fall in love with the Coachella Valley.

I truly didn’t know what I was going to do in Palm Springs, but I was determined to get back to my roots in architecture and design.  After all, I had been drawing floor plans since I was eight years old and began studying Frank Lloyd Wright at the age of eleven.  So, ten months after landing in the desert, I opened the doors of Christopher Kennedy Design.  It’s something that I never expected and more than I ever dreamed of…such is the magic of our desert.

One of my favorite aspects of Palm Springs is its rich history of healing and rejuvenation.  David and I were married in 2008 in a beautiful ceremony at the O’Donnell Golf Club.  The adjacent O’Donnell House has one of the most inspiring vistas in all of the Valley.  The golf course and house were built by oil tycoon Thomas O’Donnell, who came to Palm Springs in the 1920s seeking relief from a respiratory condition.

Years later, when he died, O’Donnell left his private golf course to the city of Palm Springs to ensure that subsequent generations of desert dwellers would have a place to play.

Today, I meet many people who come to Palm Springs for physical, spiritual, or emotional healing.  The power of our desert is palpable.  The imposing and ever-present mountain, the stillness of the mornings, the rugged beauty of the landscape…somehow these ingredients create an amazing elixir that provides the sustenance for restoration.

Palm Springs continues to inspire me in the course of my design business and furniture line.  And it’s much more than just the wonderful history of mid-century modern architecture; it is the lifestyle that truly informs my aesthetic. I am a Golden State Guy through and through –  I have a natural affinity for easy elegance and relaxed luxury.  No East Coast stuffiness for me!  Sprawling ranch houses, open doorways, draperies blowing in the breeze, afternoons at the pool — these things are in my blood and my soul, and are an ever-present part of my design process.  Living in Palm Springs didn’t create my style of vibrant California glamour; it galvanized it and amplified it.

I hope you will join me and my fellow Desert Design Authority bloggers  as we explore the best and worst of desert design.  I feel truly blessed to spend most of my days in this beautiful place and am enjoying my ongoing love affair with Palm Springs.  It’s different, of course, for those of us who live and work here while so many folks are on vacation and away from their “real world”.  But when I get stressed out, I look at those mountains, take a deep breath, remember my parents, and give thanks for another glorious day in the desert.  I know that I’ll be floating in the pool soon enough.