February 22, 2024

Photo Essay: A Modernism Week Shimmy Through the Shag House, Palm Springs

I wasn't sure I needed to see the so-called "Shag House," having already visited artist Josh Agle's own abode (which he decorated) as well as that of a superfan neighbor of his

Turns out, this circa 1958 Modernist home—designed by the architecture duo Palmer & Krisel for the Alexander Construction Company—was the Modernism Week tour I just didn't know I needed to take. 
Starting with the newly-added, white-painted breeze block wall...

...and the lime green-colored outer front door (most good Modernist homes in Palm Springs have a good, brightly-painted front door holding court somewhere on the rainbow)...
...this is an updated version of a classic tract home in the Little Beverly Hills neighborhood of Palm Springs. 

Past the breezeway event space (whose terrazzo flooring provides a seamless extension from the inside), a second lime green door stands in fruity contrast to a turquoise interior door. These seem to be the pervasive colors of Palm Springs today. 

In the stone-walled sitting room, a tongue-and-groove wooden ceiling brings together the earth tones of an orange-upholstered Eames chaise and a Shag-designed, backlit wall decoration of bottles (which, we can only assume, depict rum and perhaps wine and martini decanters).

There's a mod-fab television lounge, with a boomerang-shaped coffee table and framed prints of Shag's cocktail-inspired artwork.

It's right across from a green and orange bar area, set against the backdrop of the Shag painting "The Mammoth Martini," which takes place at the backyard pool of this very house. The barstools beckon you to "Drink," which you can do out of any number of Shag-designed rocks glasses perched on the shelves.

An atomic-inspired pendant lighting fixture dangles from the cutouts of the backlit, perforated ceiling...

...just as stunning seen from one direction as from the other. 

Like many mid-century homes of the era, the line between indoors and outdoors is blurred...

...with the new addition of an al fresco casita and fire pit. 

It's the perfect place to retire after a day in the pool...
...just like the characters in all of those Shag paintings, who take dips with martini glasses in hand. 

If you're not ready to fully relax yet, how about a game of table tennis with a breathtaking mountain view?

The house has four bedrooms, each with their own unique Shag-designed appointments... custom wallpaper of a boozy world map...

...and a Chinese pagoda scene for the year of the dragon...
...set off with lantern hanging lights. 

Of course, no Shag house would be complete without a heavy dose of tiki...

...and this one has some Witco-inspired wall adornments with glowing eyes... well as bedding sewn from the Shag-designed fabric used in the Tiki Ti aloha shirts.
The decor is the thing at the Shag House, which was taken down to the studs during construction and retains basically zero original features inside—although the original footprint was retained. 

It's a lot of Shag—and therefore feels more like a themed motel than a place anyone would actually want to live. 

But how fun to visit! And maybe get some design inspo (like where can I get those cat-eared globe lamps???).  

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