Photo by Peak Photography

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This couple watched the price of a Palm Springs home drop online for nine months. Why was no one snatching it up? Maybe it was the beige paint that covered the house. Maybe it was the tall bushes that hid the views. Or maybe it was the wooden moose head that hung on the outdoor patio. Whatever the reason, this couple was happy about it because they were able to get a better deal on the home and return it to its midcentury style.

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Houzz at a Glance

  • Who lives here: Designer James Judge of Flipping Diaries and his husband, Andy Albrecht
  • Location: Palm Springs, California
  • Size: 1,300 square feet; three bedrooms, two bathrooms

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James Judge and Andy Albrecht have a home in Phoenix, but they also wanted an authentic midcentury modern home in Palm Springs. This home, which now boasts bright orange and blue accents, had strong architectural lines and spectacular views. But it needed some work — five months’ worth — before it could look as it does today.

The remodeled home was included on a Modernism Week home tour in February. “It was rewarding for other people to appreciate that we brought the style back to the house,” Judge says. Colorful Curb Appeal Inspiration.

Outdoor Areas

Front yard (before): The front of the home and the fences were painted brown and beige. The vegetation had outgrown the space and didn’t make the property appealing from the street. “We had to bring it back to what it was meant to be,” Judge says.

Peak Photography, original photo on Houzz

After: A vibrant entrance greets the homeowners. The orange gate stretches to the left, and the color also was applied to the front door and planters.

“Orange makes it feel very Palm Springs,” Judge says. Orange is also a favorite color of his. Albrecht prefers blue, which is another accent color throughout the home.

The ample outdoor space drew Judge and Albrecht to the property. Before we walk inside the home, let’s take a look at the home’s three private outdoor spaces: to the right and left of the front door, and a narrow space along the back.

  • To the right of the door and behind the blue-gray wall, the couple has a pool, lounging area and fire pit.
  • To the left of the front door, they have lounge chairs, an outdoor fireplace and outdoor dining.
  • Along the narrow strip at the back of the home, the couple has a private outdoor bathtub and shower area.

Side yard pool and lounge: This fire pit and sitting area sits on the other side of the blue-gray wall seen from the front of the house. From this location, you can see the view that attracted the couple to the home. Start on Your Pool Construction Today.

The corrugated metal wall on the right keeps the pool equipment out of sight.

Lounge chairs: Best Choice Products

To make room for the fire pit, the couple moved the wall out and took space from the front yard.

“We spend most of our time out here — coffee in the morning, wine at night,” Judge says. “It’s our favorite spot.”

The gas fire pit was created using geometric bricks and has lights underneath that glow at night.

Outdoor sofas: Best Choice Products

The pool was in good condition, so they didn’t need to do anything to it. That let them focus on the design and look of the pool area.

The doors along the side of the home give the couple and guests easy access to the pool from any room of the home.

Side yard dining area: To the left of the front door and behind the orange gate, the couple has an outdoor dining and lounging area.

The outdoor fireplace came with the home, but it was green and rusted out. The couple was able to paint the top and have the base remade.

They created separate seating areas by adding a table and chairs under the overhang and two more chairs around the outdoor fireplace. Above the table hangs a vintage brass pendant light that Judge got from his sister. Many of the vintage lights throughout the home are from his sister, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin. She had purchased a lot of vintage midcentury furnishings and had been storing them in her basement. When Judge purchased this home, he knew he needed those items and had them shipped down.

“She was saving them before she even knew we would have a home to use them in,” he says.

Before: The covered outdoor dining space was filled with plants and had all brown decor, including the moose attached to the wall.

After: This outdoor area is where the previously mentioned wooden moose head hangs. Judge, unlike other people who had viewed the house, loved the moose and wanted to keep it. “I stressed to the Realtor and the owner that the moose would be part of the house deal,” he says. And it was.

When they closed on the house, Judge’s mother helped him spray paint it orange and hang it back up in its original place.

The outdoor dining space also has bar stools up against the large kitchen window that opens up to the space, giving them access to an extended countertop and outdoor seating. This is the same painted moose seen in the previous image.

Bar stools: Target; moose head: original to house; orange paint: Japanese Koi, Behr

Indoor Living Spaces

Entry and dining room: When you walk through the door and look left, you’ll immediately see the small entry space. Judge added a console table to give the space a landing point. “We toss our keys and cellphones here,” he says. “With it being a small house, we didn’t have a lot of space. It works nicely and gives us a sense of entry.”

Then, you enter the dining room, which sits in the middle of the home’s open layout design. Judge used a mix of chairs and a bench to give the space a playful feel and add color.

View from the entry (before): You stepped inside the front door to lots of beige-painted walls.

After: Now the homeowners and guests walk into a bright, open room. From the front door you can see the living room, dining room and kitchen.

Living room: This room offers multiple seating options, but Judge’s favorite spot to sit is on the little orange ottoman tucked into the bottom-right corner. “It’s the best place to sit and take everything in,” he says.

The living room also leads out to the pool, so when they have guests over, people can easily flow in and out of the house.

Console: thrift store in Phoenix; orange ottoman: At Home; sofa: Living Spaces; coffee table: Overstock; blanket: Jonathan Adler; Eames-style lounge chair: Lazy Buddy; curtains: Ikea; ceiling fan: Home Depot

Kitchen: The open kitchen gave the couple room to add a peninsula and a bookshelf against the right wall. This added storage space allowed them to remove the upper cabinets and instead install two open shelves. They used simple hardware from Ikea and spray painted it gold to get a polished look.

Before: The kitchen was closed off from the living room and had an additional doorway that led to the home’s pantry.

After: They removed walls, cabinets and flooring to create an open kitchen that flowed from dining room to outdoor patio.

“We wanted the kitchen to have a big focal point, and the backsplash made that happen,” Judge says.

The couple found the tile while on a trip to Sausalito, California, and knew it would be perfect. The tile store only had a limited amount left, so they decided to buy it and carry it back on the plane with them. “It was 120 pounds total,” Judge says. “We each had 60 pounds of it in our carry-on luggage.”

During the flight home to Phoenix, none of the tile broke, which was good because they only had two extra tiles once installation was complete.

Backsplash tile: Heath Ceramics

The opened kitchen allowed them to connect more with the outdoor dining area. “You have a beautiful view out here now,” Judge says. “It used to be just bushes and laundry.”

Bedroom and Bathroom

Master suite (before): The master bathroom vanity was tucked behind a small wall and had a dark-colored toilet and shower area to the left. The bedroom is back on the other side of the vanity.

After: They knocked down the small wall and reconfigured the bathroom area. The sink is still separate from the toilet and shower, but they gained enough space to add a double vanity. Stunning Wall Mirrors That Beg Attention.

“This layout was a struggle for us at first,” Judge says. “We didn’t like it, but it wasn’t worth ripping it all apart. Instead, we think of it like we are at a resort and have learned to embrace it.”

Vanity: Ikea; mirror: HomeGoods; pendants: from homeowner’s sister

Inside the bathroom, they have their second brass shower fixture. They also installed a slim window at the top of the shower to give the narrow space more light.

Brass stool: Living Spaces; gray wall tile: Custom Crafted Floor Covering; gray geometric tile: Home Depot

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