Rental Renovation

Atomic Ranch - - Contents -

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.”

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