Finally! A Furniture Store That’s Not Mexican

A little variety here, please
BY: ANITA BREAK

We have a new specialty furniture store in town.

John Hall tells us he started his first little furniture store in Palm Springs in 1990, although he won’t tell us the name of it, nor will he tell us the reason he won’t tell us the reason, so we will just call it John’s Mystery Store. Doesn’t nearly everyone down here have something they want to drop off their resume? Come to think of it, doesn’t everyone over the age of 18 have something they want to drop off their resume? So we’ll give him a pass.

Mid Century modern furniture available straight outta Palm SpringsHe says his business grew so big that he moved into a 40,000 square foot facility, although  some of that vast space was sub-leased to other stores. He privately called it “the mall”.

John Hall and his partner John Connell say they were fixtures in Palm Springs for all that time.  John H tells us he was the first furniture store owner in Palm Springs to specialize in mid-century modern and he became a notable personality. He even had his own local half hour TV show for almost 10 years to talk about the subject he loves. He’s pretty sure he himself personally started the mid century modern trend, although it was around from  the 1950s when visionary modernist architects designed sleek, modern homes that embraced the desert environment. The dramatic geography of the Palm Springs area inspired the use of glass, clean lines, and indoor/outdoor spaces. It evoked a lifestyle of simple elegance and informality. Influenced by the dictates of desert living and the intense climate, the style grew out of architects’ and designers’ use of inventive materials, modern construction techniques, and new (post-war) technologies.

Anyhow, the Johns jumped on the trend and they have now brought this interesting furniture to Rosarito Beach. It all happened this way:

Two years ago the partners retired to Rosarito but they became bored and restless and were unable to resist the siren call from their beloved furniture. Last month they opened a little store in Rosarito called John Hall Furniture. (Just how John the Connell feels about being left out of the name is more mystery surrounding this couple). This store is a mere 1,500 square feet but it is loaded with mid-century modern gems that the boys put in storage when they blew out of Palm Springs.

They say they are already doing a fire sale business, exceeding their goals, and maybe so, as while the Gringo Gazette was on site in the space of less than two hours we saw for ourselves that they sold an entire living room set, five chrome and plastic chairs, a beautiful wooden dresser, some vases, and two other nick-nacks.

Maybe the reason items are flying out of the store is the prices are, um, thrifty.  So thrifty that some of their buyers are resellers who ship the goods to San Diego and Los Angeles. John the Hall whispered to us that a bamboo couch and two chairs in a gorgeous floral fabric would go for about $5,000 to $6,000 in the States but he was selling it here for a low, low $1,000. And he delivers for free if you ask.

The Johns also carry some unique items like china service that TWA used in 1960 and hand blown vases from Norway. Their inventory also includes wall hangings and artistic works from Europe.

This store is unique in Rosarito, or at least we’ve never seen anything like it. So far their clientele has been mostly stumble in by accident, with the exception of the resellers who know the Johns from their previous life, although they have just launched an advertising campaign.

True to the storied lifestyle of Palm Springs, the boys have a sign at the entrance stating clothing is optional, but we think they’re kidding.  They love to joke and tell stories while they’re giving tours of their inventory. If you are a playful spirit and love furniture you could not go to a better place to be entertained, enlightened and enchanted.

The Johns’ store is on the east side of the free road just north of the Don Pisto liquor store at Km 29. They are open from 10 to 6 every day, but closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So, scratch what we just said about open every day, we lied. Phone number is  661-121-9405.