Thrifting in other states helped contribute to this Raffia Ware collection in Michael and Richard’s kitchen.

Many hit sightseeing attractions on a road trip. Michael DeJong and Richard Haymes scoped out vintage pieces to start collecting while traversing the cross-country highways.

“We made the most of it by making it into an antique adventure,” Michael, an artist, author and photo stylist, described of the 10-day trip.

Michael and Richard did not hitch an airplane to transplant from New York to their new home in Palm Springs, California. Instead, Michael set out in his over 20-year-old truck with partner Richard, a retired art gallery curator and former executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project. They did not rush the coast-to-coast trip.

The Danish orange candle holders on the kitchen countertop were road trip finds and are vintage, circa the ’50s and ’60s. Michael painted them orange.
The Agenda

The road trip’s daily itinerary followed this usual regimen: drive for three to four hours a day, then thrift for that same amount of time. Michael and Richard did not just hit thrift stores along the way. They responded to Craigslist posts, checked out yard sales and perused through thrift malls. A truck brimming with vintage goods emerged from the road trip.

“[It was] sort of a Beverly hillbilly scenario,” Michael said, referencing the famous opening for “The Beverly Hillbillies” that featured a family riding into California on a truck loaded with all their life belongings.

A lack of midcentury interest in particular states allowed Michael and Richard to have their Beverly hillbilly moment.

Many of Michael and Richard’s smaller pieces have been picked up for pennies through thoughtful hunting at thrift stores.
Don’t Look in the Usual Places

“Try to buy things in places where there’s not such a huge midcentury community,” Richard said.

Richard said him and Michael stopped in dozens of states, from Pennsylvania to Texas to Nevada. They picked up many pieces along the way which are now displayed in their Palm Springs home. Richard and Michael said buying all of one’s midcentury pieces in a town like Palm Springs, which is midcentury headquarters, comes with a premium price. Richard recalled a lamp he found for about $20 back east—he ran into the same lamp his first week living in Palm Springs, but with a price tag of $1800.

If hitting the highway is impossible, then go online. “EBay is a really great way to find really extraordinary items,” Michael said.