You’ve Heard of Method Acting—But Have You Heard of Method Designing?

room in the modernism museum palm springs that features a tv and rotary phone
What Is Method Designing?Kelly Allen

To say Tracy Turco loves all things retro is an understatement. The multi-hyphenate creative based in Palm Springs has dreamt up several period-based interiors ranging from hotels to museums. Her latest? The Modernism Museum in the midcentury mecca where she resides. When tackling each time capsule project, Turco doesn’t simply research time periods and track down appropriate furniture pieces. Instead, she fully immerses herself in the past—and often puts her own twist on it. “I’m a method designer and really sink myself into character,” Turco says. “We are all actors in our own movies, and I have taken that to heart on all of my design projects.”

To engage in the process, Turco leaves no area untapped: “I dress the part. I listen to the music. I drive the car or even bicycle. I create food and dinners in that genre. I look at hairstyle and makeup and try to be thoroughly authentic,” she explains.

hangout in modernism museum palm springs
Kelly Allen

The Modernism Museum features a ‘60s pink powder puff bedroom, racquet club, beauty salon, roller rink, and camping site (to name a few!), some of which feature Turco's own possessions, like her 1969 Jaguar and 1956 Wellcraft vintage boat. Turco approached designing each room differently. “I was a 1950s housewife when decorating the 1950s kitchen,” she says.

Among her other projects is a ‘70s-style house at 2233 N Cardillo Ave in Palm Springs, which has been shown on tours during the city’s Modernism Week. With her husband and real estate developer Jerry Turco, she’s also brought a collection of hotels to life under T&T Retro Boutique Hotels & Properties including the Art Hotel, Tiki Hotel, and Cheetah Hotel. Ultimately, the designer says, “I’m creating a movie set experience with my own twist, so I get into character fully when researching and imagining.”

What better way to revive previous eras than delving into the world both physically and mentally? And if you're keen on looking to the past for inspo, there are countless ways to do so in your own home—even with small additions, like bringing back the telephone table or incorporating decor from your grandparents' house.

Love looking at designer spaces for inspo? Us, too. Let’s obsess over them together.

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