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Ace Hotel in Palm Springs brings urban vibe to desert

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February 21, 2009|David A. Keeps; Alexandria Abramian-Mott;

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Urban cool hits desert

When Alex Calderwood decided to transform a 1966 Palm Springs Howard Johnson motor lodge into the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, he had a vision: "If the production crew for 'Easy Rider' came out to the desert, this would be the kind of place they'd be looking for." Roman Alonso, a creative director for Commune, described the look that his West Hollywood design firm devised another way: "Throw 'MASH,' 'Billy Jack' and 'Jesus Christ Superstar' into a blender in your mind."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, February 26, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 49 words Type of Material: Correction
Palm Springs hotel: In the Feb. 21 Home section, a photograph with a story about the newly designed Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs had an erroneous credit. The photo should have been credited to D.L. Thompson and Jon Johnson / Ace Hotel, not David A. Keeps.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, February 28, 2009 Home Edition Home Part F Page 8 Features Desk 1 inches; 46 words Type of Material: Correction
Palm Springs hotel: On Feb. 21, a photo accompanying a story about the newly designed Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs had an erroneous credit. The photo should have been credited to D.L. Thompson and Jon Johnson / Ace Hotel, not David A. Keeps.

The new lodging is a stark departure from the usual midcentury Palm Springs style. Rooms have a back-to-the-land hippie sensibility, with walls and windows covered in tent canvas. Floors are concrete or dark cork tile. Canvas bedspreads were screen-printed by the Malibu fashion house Free City, and headboards are giant denim bolsters. "Minimal can be modern," Calderwood says, pointing to unpainted bentwood cafe chairs and tree stump bedside tables.

For Commune, which designs Juicy Couture stores as well as L.A. residences, honest materials and handcrafted design were key, Alonso says. Earthy flat-weave wastebaskets and meditation cushions woven from recycled gum wrappers are in each room; much of the furniture is a thrift-shop find. "The idea behind the Ace Palm Springs," Alonso says, "is to take its urban attitude to the desert and bring an individual artisan hand to the guest rooms and public spaces." For more photos, go to latimes.com/thescout.

David A. Keeps

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TRENDSPOTTING

Hollywood fire works

sCould this be the next housing boom? Nightclub owner David Judaken and designer Dodd Mitchell have fused the comforts of home with the allure of a Hollywood hot spot at the new MyHouse. The club's residential look unfolds from a central living room. There's a den, a dining room, a media room and an outdoor patio with a fire pit, cabanas and Jacuzzi. Low-slung sofas and armchairs are laden with shearling and leather throw pillows. Flat screens hang above wooden consoles, and 2-inch-thick shag carpets punch up hardwood floors. Around 1 every morning, the crew pops a few dozen chocolate chip cookies into the kitchen's Miele ovens. The scent wafts up to the far corners of the upstairs master bedroom -- just like home. For more design details and an expanded photo gallery, go to latimes.com/thescout.

-- Alexandria Abramian-Mott

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OPENINGS

Toys, and stuff, for tots

New in Pasadena: the region's first outpost of the modern parenting chain Giggle. Founder Ali Wing says the store, the company's seventh, fills a niche between gift boutiques and mass retailers with a vast -- and sometimes overwhelming -- selection. Instead, Giggle presents a highly edited array of furnishings, clothing and toys, all with busy, slightly older parents in mind. A room in the Pasadena shop, above, highlights a rotating lineup of top designers such as Nurseryworks, whose bunk bed and gliders are pictured. 517 S. Lake Ave., (626) 744-0233, www.giggle.com.

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