New residents bring this 1960s Palm Springs apartment back to its midcentury roots.
You can knock down walls, tear out built-ins, redo the paint and carpeting—the possibilities are endless. In a rental, not so much. Landlords generally forbid changes, which can make it more difficult for an apartment to really feel like home. "For fans of Midcentury Modern style, the key is to create a vision for the space that works within the confines of the rules and to find creative ways of adding a vintage vibe," says lifelong renter Krys Melo.
“There are a couple of programs you can use to do a 3D rendering to scale and make sure everything is going to fit,” says Krys, who recently relocated from Los Angeles to Palm Springs with her husband. The couple found an 800-square-foot apartment in a cozy midcentury six-plex, and Krys spent three weeks planning the layout before they moved in. “Using those online programs helped me get an idea of what would fit and what layout would work best. That way, I could shop for what I had in mind,” she says.
Although the couple’s living space looks straight out of the atomic era, Krys bought much of their furniture from modern retailers, including Joybird, World Market and the new Project 62™ collection from Target. “I try to be as authentic as possible, but I try to put my own flair on it and be relevant to whatever’s in trend now,” she says. Much of her inspiration comes from vintage magazines, although Krys also has a unique knack for reimagining modern pieces to achieve a midcentury look.
In fact, the one-time wedding photographer has attracted a legion of fans through her Instagram account and lifestyle blog, Melodrama, thanks to her clever DIY hacks. Several of her furnishings are modified pieces from Ikea, jazzed up with fabric, paint or retro hardware to achieve a vintage look. The midcentury-style sofa in the couple’s home office, for example, is a
adding vintage hardware. “I was looking through a 1957 edition of Better Homes & Gardens, and there was an ad for closet doors. One had that gold trim with a starburst nob,” says Krys, who scored similar fixtures on Etsy and found the tape on Amazon.
Sadly, the embellishments will be removed in a few years, if the couple decides to relocate again. But until then, they have a cozy retro haven in Palm Springs, complete with a pool and mountain views.
“I’m already mentally prepared that whenever I leave here, I’m going to have to put it all back,” says Krys, who says the extra effort is worth it to live in a space she loves. She notes, “At least I have two or three years of what I wanted.”