This past weekend we took a trip to the desert city of Palm Springs in search of hiking and houses. We found the later first.

Palm Springs is renowned for its mid-century modern architecture. We stopped at the visitors center and picked up a map of notable mid-century modern buildings in the city. Most of the buildings we drove past turned out to be lackluster apartment complexes and drab business offices. “I want to see the houses,” pouted Kirk. (In all fairness, we didn’t exhaust all the stops. On the other hand, why would the maker of such a map include two stops that are locked away inside a gated community?) We decided to ditch the map and take off on our own tour instead.

Not every house in Palm Springs is triumph of mid-century modernism. Many different (and not as cool) architectural styles can be seen including (some real, some self-described) hacienda, southwest pueblo, modern factory pop-out, mid-century knock-off and trailer park classy (aka gated trailer parks).

After getting our creeper on — driving much too slowly through residential neighborhoods — we found a jackpot of mid-century modern houses.

I developed a theory about their address numbers: the bigger the numbers, the cooler the house.

This house is cool. Those decently-sized (and nearly sans-serif) numbers give it said cool. The red door helps, but imagine that red door without those numbers: clown house.

Now check these out: word numbers. Even larger than the red-door house’s, these numbers trump those in height and width simply because of their alpha-ness. Double coolness factor.

Now this house. This house is cool. Look at that 0, it’s bigger than my head, if my head was four times the size of my head. This house is so cool, I had to take two photos of it: one with my camera and one with Kirk’s iPhone so I could use Instagram to highlight its coolness.

If you want to take a mid-century modern tour through Palm Springs, a stop at the visitors center is usually recommended, but I don’t endorse it. Instead, I’d suggest calling Kirk and inquiring if he’s for hire. Although, I don’t imagine his rate is cheap. ☼

If you like art museums, the visitors center is actually worth swinging by. They hand out free passes to the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Read more about Palm Springs mid-century modern architecture and desert modernism here.