James F. Mills
Palm Springs reportedly has more mid-century modern homes than any other place in the country. So, it’s only natural that Palm Springs also has stores that sell mid-century modern furniture. One of the best stores for those mid-century modern designs is A La MOD, located in the Uptown Design district at 844 N. Palm Canyon Drive. It’s got everything from vintage sofas, chairs and tables to lamps, glassware and bar carts from designers like Knoll, Eames and Charles Hollis Jones.
“I think a lot of mid-century modern is timeless. I love the design of the furniture,” explains owner James Claude. “It evokes feelings of a different time. It reminds many people of their youth, a time when people were more polite and stylish, a time when everything felt safer.”
Claude and his partner, Miguel Linares, buy vintage mid-century modern items for resale and also sell on consignment. “The store is constantly changing,” says Claude, who was raised near Victorville. “We get new items in every week, so the store’s never the same.”
Claude and Linares have been in the business for 15 years, first operating under the name Palm Springs Consignment. When they moved to a new location four years ago, the name changed to A La MOD. “We wanted a name that evoked the idea of ‘hip’ and ‘cool,’ since that’s what mid-century modern is,” Claude says. “Another definition for ‘à la mode’ is ‘hip,’ so we decided to do a word play on ‘à la mode’ and name the store ‘a La MOD.’”
In early February, A La MOD moved down the block to a larger store, quadrupling the amount of floor space to over 4,000 square feet, a move that allows them to carry more consignment items. The store is also known for lamp repair. “When you’re selling a lamp from the ‘60s, you can’t always trust the wiring, so we started doing repair and rewiring,” says Claude. “It’s turned into a good part of our business.”
Even though he could be getting top prices thanks to the retro modern craze, Claude tries to keep things reasonably priced so everyone can afford to buy mid-century modern. “I love mid-century modern so much, I would like to see it in most people’s homes,” Claude says. “I don’t want it to be out of reach for the guy who’s waiting tables. So, we’re known for having really good prices.”