While most architects spend their working hours designing houses within the established norm, there are those who stand out because they had a vision and weren’t afraid to put their ideas into practice. Many of those risk takers turned the tide of architecture. Some were inspired by forms found in nature like Frank Lloyd Wright or geometry like Mies Van der Rohe. But Palm Springs architect Donald Wexler started his career working for Modernest Richard Neutra, whose approach to design revolved wholly around his client’s lifestyle needs rather than his own desire for popularity. By the time Wexler ventured out on his own, he was well known for his clean modern designs and listening to his client’s needs. But he was also an innovator known for having pioneered the use of steel in residential design. Wexler designed homes from his Palm Springs office for over 60 years and died in 2015 at the age of 89. His projects included houses, schools, hotels, banks, the Palm Springs International Airport, Dinah Shore's home (most recently purchased by Leonardo DiCaprio), and the Royal Hawaiian Estates development. His very last project was this steel-and-glass, mid-century modern home that captured the spirit of its desert location. He completed the plans two months before he died. The home was featured in Palm Springs Modernism Week 2016 and is now for sale at $2.435 million.
Although steel had been used in buildings for decades for structural integrity, homes were still mostly framed in wood that was prone to expansion and contraction, fungus, destruction by termites and dry rot. Wexler realized that framing a house in steel instead would eliminate those problems. Therefore he used steel everywhere possible in structure, roofs and siding, in addition to concrete and glass. This 2,550-square-foot house is sited on land that was once part of Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms estate in the historic Movie Colony neighborhood. The three-bedroom, three-bath house with den is on a large lot on a cul-de-sac with maintenance-free, drought-resistant landscape surrounded by a privacy wall. Also outside is a 45-foot, salt-water swimming pool, spa and outdoor shower off the master suite. Views from the interior’s glass walls and the pool terrace are 360 degrees of mountains ensuring an impressive backdrop. The 1950’s vibe is shown in the galley kitchen, though more open to the great room, the double-sided fireplace and polished concrete floors. Stepping into today are the current high-end finishes, fixtures, remotely operated window shades and security system. Additional amenities include a large laundry room/butler’s pantry and sound system. There is also an attached two-car garage.
Newly built mid-century modern house with one foot in the past and one in the future located in the mid-century capital of the world, Palm Springs, this Donald Wexler designed residence was a star of the city’s 2018 Modernism Week. Priced at $2.435 million, the listing agent is Rich Nolan from The Agency in Palm Springs.
Photo credit: The Agency