It’s funny how things just sort of pile up over the years. You know how it goes: A Turkish bath fixture here, the odd wrought iron bistro table there, next thing you know you’re buried in your own possessions.
Stuff has been building up in the Breakers Hotel since it was built in 1926, and almost all of it’s gotta go in order to give the building’s next incarnation, as a boutique hotel, a fresh start when it opens in 2020.
Silver clamshell chairs, cherub sconces, chandeliers, shampoo and dryer chairs from the salon, a couple dozen white leather pews from the chapel, wine racks and coolers for the wine room, hundreds of doors, a billiard table, “miscellaneous basement items” (and nothing is more miscellaneous than basement items), stoves and ovens, gym equipment, bad art prints that mostly harken back to fairly recent times when the 14-story building was in its sunset years as a assisted living home.
Almost everything a normal person with normal needs and normal interests would want has been sold now since Ruby Jane Estate Sales began selling the contents of the Breakers in May, but there’s still plenty of things that you could pick up, probably for next to nothing, if for no reason than to own a bit of history (that is, if, say, an open gallon of heavy-duty Goof-Off remover or the off-puttingly cloudy remains of a bottle of Sabra liqueur can be termed a piece of history). Saturday was to be the drop-dead date to get rid of things before renovation begins in earnest on the new Breakers, but the sellers declared an end to the sale on Thursday. The hotel is now owned by Pacific6, a group of Long Beach investors that includes John Molina (who also owns the Post).
“We’ve had all kinds of people come through,” said Ruby Jane co-owner Brooke Kozak. “The guy who owns the Gaytonia apartments bought a lot of things. Some woman came up from San Diego and bought all of the chapel pews for an events center she is opening. There are a lot of people who are into repurposing things, so they buy a lot of odd stuff. There are a couple of super-heavy metal doors that we sold to an antiques store in San Francisco.”
Kozak and her business partner Kristin Eyler did most of the pricing on the Breakers articles, “It’s a lot of research,” she says. “We use a lot of different websites ranging from eBay to One Kings Lane.”
What was off the table, salewise, were truly historical fixtures from the Breakers, a Long Beach Historical Landmark.
“We have a robust adaptive reuse ordinance in Long Beach,” said Art Deco expert and historic preservationist John Thomas. “It enables buildings like the Breakers, the Willmore, the Villa Riviera, the Lafayette, to survive and maintain their historical importance.”
Thomas and other experts were hired by Pacific6 to consult on all matters of building preservation on the Breakers project, including what should be sold at the estate sale. There was relatively little that was exempt from the sale, Thomas said. “Because it’s had so many renovations and changes over the years, most of what’s in the Breakers now is outside of its ‘period of significance,’ which was between 1925 and 1947,” he said.
“The chandeliers, while they’re very nice, are not of historical significance,” he said, and, says Kozak, most of those have been sold.
“What we really want to preserve are the beautiful ceilings and the walls of the hotel,” said Thomas. “And we’ve done some exhaustive paint analysis so that we can get an idea of the color palette we will be using.”
One surprising find in the analysis, which revealed 17 coats of paint on the Breakers’ exterior, was that at one point the building was painted sky blue — at least where the paint was sampled.
But as for what’s been sold, pretty much everything. “There was no historic furniture, no artwork, no sconces or other light fixtures that were deemed significant,” said Thomas. “That doesn’t mean that many of them were pretty and well made, but there’s nothing to prevent them from being sold.”
6:20 p.m.: The headline and story has been updated to reflect that the Saturday sale has been canceled.