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As admirers of midcentury avant-garde design, Keith Zabel and bedmate Randy Shemaitis were fatigued to Palm Springs and its abundance of Modernist architecture.
“My affection for midcentury avant-garde started in my 20s,” explains Zabel, 45. “I was fatigued to the Atomic and Sputnik style that came about afterwards World War II as the Soviets launched their aboriginal accessory in 1957, blame off the amplitude race. A lot of architectonics efforts, from appliance to barrio to tchotchkes, were created with a amplitude theme. I started accession annihilation that had a starburst or alternate design.”
Based in Chicago, the brace vacationed consistently in the arid until 2011, back Shemaitis had an befalling to move West for work.
“We joked that we should move to Palm Springs so we can vacation about else,” says Shemaitis with a laugh.
In their chase for a Modernist home, the brace addled out behest on abbreviate sales and foreclosures, so they revisited their fourth best — a 1960 amplitude home congenital by developer Jack Meiselman in the Sunmor neighborhood.
“It was an animal duckling that sat on the bazaar for a continued time,” says Zabel.
The 1,350-square-foot, three-bedroom abode featured ceramic asphalt and anachronous kitchen and bathrooms. “And cockroaches” and abandoned carpeting blood-soaked with dog urine, adds Zabel. Because the abode was not advised for year-round living, the abode had little insulation, which larboard the interiors uncomfortably hot.
But it was additionally amid on a ample lot on a quiet artery with added Meiselman homes and offered amazing angle of the San Jacinto Mountains.
When the home’s amount alone to $325,000, they absitively to buy it and actualize their own Modernist dream home.
From the start, they knew they capital to beforehand the home’s post-and-beam architecture and tongue-and-groove ceilings while brightening and accretion the autogenous active spaces.
“We capital to try and acquisition a antithesis amid apery the aeon while creating article added clean,” says Zabel, who accurate the beforehand action online.
To accomplish this balance, the brace confused into the home’s 250-square-foot casita and oversaw the adjustment process, accomplishing some of the annihilation and assignment themselves.
They took the abode bottomward to the studs, removed the drywall and added insulation, a cream roof and Low-E glass windows and sliders to accede with California activity standards. They additionally installed new electrical and plumbing, as able-bodied as rooftop solar panels.
Although amorous of Meiselman homes, the brace admits the aboriginal attic affairs are not ideal. “We capital to amend the bathrooms and kitchen to be added avant-garde and beneath midcentury,” Zabel says. So they burst the attenuated galley kitchen themselves and installed new walnut kitchen cabinets with pegboard panels (a detail they adopted from Alexander homes), white Porcelanosa tile and a acceptable kitchen bar counter.
They reconfigured the attic plan by affective the side-by-side bedrooms and abacus 450-square anxiety to actualize a new adept bedchamber and bath.
Out went the bowl tile, which Shemaitis, 56, removed, and in went affected white 24-by-24-inch terrazzo tile. They corrective abundant of the interiors ultra white to accomplish their colorful furnishings pop and added clerestory windows to accompany in added light. The white walls additionally provided a bare canvas for their art collection. Exceptions accommodate a active allowance wall, corrective ablaze gray, and a anemic dejected dining allowance bank that sets off a alternation of best cottony screens of birds by Charley Harper.
Outdoors, they kept the aboriginal basin and added an alfresco shower, which they use regularly. They additionally installed a annular baptize feature inspired by a blaze pit they spotted in the antechamber of the Parker Hotel.
“Who needs Pinterest?” says Zabel. “We aloof drive about Palm Springs for inspiration.”
To accomplish the advanced of the abode added welcoming, the brace added accurate pavers, a adorning copse awning and drought-tolerant plants, including two palo verde copse they bought at Home Depot for $30 apiece.They additionally added a architecture block bank from Orco to add privacy for the basin and backyard.
In the best affecting change, the brace disassembled the home’s aboriginal arched block awning and reassembled it to anatomy the advanced door, which they corrective “poolside blue.”
Now that they are done, the brace accept opened their home for two Meiselman tours to account the Palm Springs Animal Shelter and will accessible their home on Feb. 19 and 20 as allotment of Modernism Week.
As Midwesterners, they accept absolutely accepted the West. And at a time back abounding bodies are affairs homes in Palm Springs to hire as vacation homes, the brace affairs to break year-round.
Adds Zabel: “I’d abundant rather booty a Palm Springs summer than a Chicago winter.”
Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
The brace achievement to abutting add a adumbration anatomy and alfresco bar to the backyard basin area.
The brace achievement to abutting add a adumbration anatomy and alfresco bar to the backyard basin area. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
What: “Restoring or Renovating Your Midcentury Avant-garde Home” seminar and tour
When: Feb. 19 and 20. Academy runs from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Self-guided bout times: noon, 12:30, 1, 1:30, 2 and 2:30 p.m.
Where: Addresses and admonition provided afterward the seminar. For bout only, addresses will be emailed to admission buyers in advance.
Cost: Academy or bout only, $30; both, $50.
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10 air-conditioned contest at the consistently baking Modernism Week in Palm Springs
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