Some house and homeowner pairings seem meant to be, and for Brandon Hoskins and Stephen Wilson, from the moment they walked into their 1940s ranch house in Palm Springs, they knew they’d found the one. “We fell in love and put an offer in right away,” says Stephen, a surprising fact given that the house was in horrible condition. “It still had all the original decor from the 1960s,” says Brandon. “It literally had white shag carpet that was filthy dirty and drapes that were rotting on the rods.” As interior designers and owners of Towne Palm Springs, a furnishings store specializing in vintage and modern design, what the pair saw were the clean lines and mid-century touches added when local design legend Arthur Elrod remodeled it in the early 1960s, imbuing the house with his signature modernist aesthetic. With an effortless mix of styles and periods, Brandon and Stephen have brought the house back to life, creating their very own postmodern gem in the dessert.
Handle With Care
Guided by a reverence for mid-century design, the couple kept much of the house unchanged, choosing to spruce up rather than renovate the bathrooms and the original St. Charles kitchen. “We’ve done quite a bit of historical architectural restoration,” says Brandon. “We’re very familiar with trying to keep things as original as possible and we stayed pretty true to the house.” They did however convert what was “one giant bedroom” into two, creating additional space for guests. To say Elrod would have been pleased with the house’s new owners feels like an understatement. They even kept the unusual orientation. “The house is backwards,” shares Stephen. “When Arthur Elrod redid it, he turned the back of the house into the front, and what looks like the front of the house is now back by the pool.”
Pick Your Palette
The furnishings the pair chose range from mid-century classics to antique family heirlooms, but the through line that holds it all together is a decidedly neutral palette. “We’re pretty muted, which is sort of anti-Palm Springs,” says Brandon. “We take a lot of our cues from men’s fashion, so we use fabrics that are similar to what you would find in a suit. A navy-blue pinstripe or a grey flannel, and we reinterpret those into fabrics like linen that work here in the dessert a little bit better.” That’s not to say their home is without its more saturated moments. “We bring in color through art,” says Stephen. White walls dominate, with the exception of the master bedroom, for which they chose a cocooning raffia wallcovering.
Love What You Live With
Despite being storeowners, Brandon and Stephen treat their home less like an ever-changing gallery and more as a collection of highly personal treasures. The vast majority of pieces are what they jokingly refer to as their “permanent collection,” things they couldn’t live without, such as the black Chinese dragon chair in the living room, gifted to Brandon by a friend for his birthday, or the antiques that have been in Stephen’s family for generations. “It’s really more the accessories that change,” shares Stephen. Frequent buying trips abroad help them scratch that “compulsive shopper” tendency, but rather than prioritizing pedigree, these designers look for “a sense of style that a piece brings and the kind of emotion that it evokes,” says Brandon. “Even in our shop, we try to find pieces like that are one-of-a-kind that an artist made, which always means more to us.”
Photos by Lance Gerber