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Arthur Elrod Furniture

American, 1924-1974

Although Arthur Elrod’s interiors were well documented in his day by newspapers and design periodicals, after publication, the articles and pictures mostly sat hidden away in archives. Not until the Palm Springs mid-century modernism renaissance began, at the end of the 1990s, did interest in the decorator reignite.

How did this incredibly influential talent fall into obscurity? Elrod’s client roster could hardly have been more impressive. It included just about every Hollywood A-lister of the era: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Mary and Jack Benny, Frank and Lucille Capra, Hoagy Carmichael, Claudette Colbert, and more. He was the interior designer of choice for all of Palm Springs’ founding families — the Bennetts, Hickses, McManuses and Nichols — and the darling of every captain of industry who kept a vacation home in the fabled desert resort, including the cofounders of Capitol Records and Hyatt Hotels and an heir to the Carnation Evaporated Milk Company fortune.

Born in 1924, South Carolina native Elrod studied textiles at Clemson Agricultural College (now Clemson University), then interior design at Chouinard Art Institute, in Los Angeles. He arrived in Palm Springs in 1947 and worked as junior staff decorator in the home furnishings department of the newly opened Bullock’s department store. 

Elrod’s early career was fueled by the postwar building boom and by a growing awareness in the desert community of modernism, sparked by the work of Rudolph Schindler, Albert Frey, Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright. Elrod’s interiors of this period display a mostly French Provincial aesthetic with some sleeker modern furnishings mixed in.

Despite abundant commissions and favorable publicity, Elrod decamped to San Francisco in 1952 for a two-year stint at prominent home design and carpet store W. & J. Sloane. During that time, General Electric engaged him to design an exhibition for the San Francisco Museum of Art to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the invention of Edison’s incandescent bulb. Elrod installed a “penthouse apartment” with terrace in the museum’s galleries that garnered him considerable attention and also marked a turn in his style. Almost all the furnishings were contemporary pieces, by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

At W. & J. Sloane, Elrod met Hal Broderick — who would be his life partner until the 1960s and his business partner until the designer’s death, in 1974 — and Barbara Wills, an assistant manager in the store’s modern furniture department. The three established Arthur Elrod Ltd. and relocated back to Palm Springs in 1954. The firm was instantly successful, and over the years took on more and more designers to meet demand.

Elrod’s was the first firm to bring national lines like Baker and Widdicomb to the desert, and he also pioneered the use of indoor-outdoor fabrics, covered a fireplace wall with green vinyl and made Naugahyde chic. He floated credenzas on wall panels and under-lit sofas and beds with recessed kickbacks so that they appeared to levitate. Elrod literally created the mid-century Palm Springs interiors aesthetic we take for granted today. 

Find vintage Arthur Elrod furniture on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Arthur Elrod
Maison Jansen Style Dining Chairs Arthur Elrod Design Home Architectural Digest
By Maison Jansen, Arthur Elrod
Located in Palm Springs, CA
Set of 8 Dining Room Chairs (all with arms!) in the Style of Maison Jansen from a Palm Springs estate that was so spectacular! It was designed by the legendary interior designer Arthur Elrod for the Goldberg family of Chicago as their winter getaway and was featured in the Fall 1968 issue of Architectural Digest. The house exterior was designed by famed architect William Cody...
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1950s Neoclassical Vintage Arthur Elrod Furniture

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Large One of a Kind Coffee Table by Arthur Elrod for the Bolero Estate, 1966
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FABULOUS (we never use that word) custom made, one of a kind very large coffee table in yellow, orange and green designed by California midcentury designer Arthur Elrod for the Boler...
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Arthur Elrod Small Cocktail Table for the Ittleson Residence in Palm Springs
By Arthur Elrod
Located in Chicago, IL
Arthur Elrod small cocktail table for the Ittleson Residence in Palm Springs. A highly expressive silvered bronze base carries an irregular trape...
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Arthur Elrod Furniture

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Metal

Arthur Elrod Stainless Steel Fireplace
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Arthur Elrod Steel Fireplace Surround for William Cody Designed Goldberg Residence, Rancho Mirage
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Arthur Elrod Large Cocktail Table for the Ittleson Residence in Palm Spring
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Arthur Elrod large cocktail table for the Ittleson Residence in Palm Springs. A highly expressive base in silvered, hand-welded bronze supporting an irregular 1/2" trapezoidal glass ...
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Arthur Elrod Custom Desk
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Arthur Elrod Custom desk, Manufactured by Pace; features a red lacquered Desk Top with three pencil drawers with solid perforated chrome plated pulls. The...
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Pair of Large Scale Custom End Tables with Marble Tops by Designer Arthur Elrod
By Arthur Elrod
Located in St. Louis, MO
Arthur Elrod was one of the top designers in Palm Springs during the 1950s-1970s with A-list clients, before tragically being killed in an auto accident in 1974, he designed these la...
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Arthur Elrod Furniture

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Mid-Century Sofa by Arthur Elrod
By Arthur Elrod
Located in Pasadena, CA
Elegant and glamorous sofa designed by Arthur Elrod for the Cody House in Palm Springs, circa 1960s. Re-imagined in a chic metallic gray linen. A pair o...
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Pair of Club Chairs Designed by Arthur Elrod
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Incredibly chic pair of club chairs designed by Arthur Elrod for the Cody House in Palm Springs, circa 1960s. Re-imagined in a glamorous metallic grey linen. A sofa that is part of t...
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Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Arthur Elrod Furniture

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Arthur Elrod furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Arthur Elrod furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Arthur Elrod furniture, although gray editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Arthur Elrod were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the mid-20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Sam Maloof, Lewis Butler, and Smilow-Thielle. Prices for Arthur Elrod furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $7,000 and can go as high as $30,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $13,500.

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