Nothing was the same. Spanish abodes, Cape Cods, a pool cover reminiscent of an E-Z Bake Oven — Joseph Hahn and David Brinkman were running into violations of midcentury architecture left to right in Palm Springs (part 1). When they found “The One,” an untouched house that Jack Webb built in 1960, Hahn and Brinkman knew they found the perfect weekend getaway — and a place to finally store all of their knick-knacks and vintage buys, particularly from their eBay binges.
Hahn started buying Viking and Blenko-style colored glass vases and decanters years ago because they were cheap and reminded him of his grandmother’s glassware. “Every day another eBay package came for Joe for maybe a year,” Brinkman reports. The burgeoning collection was displayed on a long buffet in their split-level Los Feliz house, but soon it began to look cluttered and was coming between them and their view of the Los Angeles basin.
“And then we kept buying furniture,” Hahn says with a laugh. With nowhere to house the vintage finds, they were forced to keep things in the packing crates. The turning point came when the couple went to Palm Springs to view a meteor shower and dropped in on some open houses. “That was it. We knew we had to buy something,” he says.
They passed on a 4,000-square-foot one-bedroom bachelor party pad with a pool that flowed into the living room and ended in a sunken bar—among other architectural atrocities. But they kept looking, and six months later they were the proud owners of the Webb house in Deepwell.
The couple felt blessed that the rock walls on the front of the house hadn’t succumbed to the white paintbrush applied liberally to midcentury homes in town. “When we saw that the concrete block screen wall off the garage—which is kind of a Palm Springs architecture touchstone—hadn’t been molested, that was very attractive,” Hahn remembers. “That and the glass walls in most of the rooms that look out over the huge, private back courtyard,” Brinkman adds. Even though the seller, an elderly woman who was only using half the house, had significantly different taste in interior design, the pair was smitten.
“We just got a huge dumpster and started subtracting,” Brinkman says. “That was kind of our little mantra throughout it all: subtract, subtract, subtract.” Light fixtures, drapes, mini blinds—inside and out—vertical blinds and canvas awnings all took a trip to the dust bin. “The décor probably worked fine for her but it wasn’t our aesthetic. Luckily she hadn’t done anything that couldn’t be undone.”
Able to finally use the stored furniture, they also needed a select few other pieces. But budget was all important since this was a weekend house.
“I love being able to find stuff for a few bucks on eBay or at a flea market,” Hahn says. “It’s the modern-day equivalent of being a hunter/gatherer and satisfies a basic human biological urge—at least, that’s how I rationalize it. We love color, and we love bargains; those have been our guiding principles.”
It takes more than an eBay search
Read about the shopping brutalities Hahn and Brinkman endure to make their new home 100% midcentury in part 3.