Recently in Palm Springs, Modernism Week 2014 brought people from all over the globe to see what some say is the finest collection of mid-century modern homes in the world. This 9-year event celebrates the innovations in design and architecture and has continued to grow as people flock here to check out residential and commercial projects built between the early 1950s thru the 1970s.
Events during the 12-day run include open-air bus tours, lectures and this year a designer showhouse organized by a member of the local design community. For me, it brought back memories of participating in just such charitable events. And I began to wonder about show houses in Palm Springs from years gone by.
After during a little digging around, I discovered that one of the earliest designer showhouses held in Palm Springs was in the spring of 1963. It featured the work of many locals including well-known design pro, Arthur Elrod. What was interesting about this showhouse was the design of the kitchen and the St. Charles Cabinetry, a classic look from a classic name in cabinetry years ago.
St. Charles Cabinetry is an American icon when it comes to vintage mid-century style and considered to be the “cream of the crop.” Established in 1935 in St. Charles, Illinois, the company was the leading manufacturer of all steel cabinets. Door and drawer faces were available in 23 powder-coated colors that went from black to white, from red to green and from turquoise to sunny yellow and even with two-tone options.
With competition from Europe and increased manufacturing costs, the company quietly closed operations only to be revived by Viking Range Company around 2004. Sadly that venture only lasted about a year and it was the end of a well respected brand.
Today, those who still have an original St Charles kitchen in their home prize them for the functionality, cleanliness and modern aesthetic. Luckily there are new options to achieve a similar look with the use of acrylic finishes. These generally do a great job in replicating the look and feel of the once leader in kitchen cabinetry while keeping to a mid-century modern appeal.
One of our lines of cabinets , DuraSupreme not only feature brushed aluminum styles, acrylic drawer and door faces with an accented edge detail that mimic the look and clean lines of stainless steel as well but also foil-wrapped doors in several colors such as cinnamon pearl. So while you may not get to have an original “St. Charles,” there are options that do a great job in giving a mid-century "mod" appearance.
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Desert, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.