Donald Wexler, Architect
3 Beds • 2 Baths • East Movie Colony •
1955, 1960, 2008 Palm Springs, California
Few architects have imbued a community with as much design spirit as has Donald Wexler for Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. One of the first impressions of this spirit was the house he designed for himself and his family, in which they lived for 38 years. After expanding the home in 1960, he assisted in its 2008 restoration, consulting and designing alongside the owners, with painstaking attention to quality and detail. This restoration - which he considered to be the final evolution of his aesthetic - was awarded MOD COM’s 2009 Preservation of the Year.
A privacy wall surrounds the house and newly-landscaped grounds, by William Kopelk and Marcello Villano. The pedestrian gate opens to reveal a gem-like transparency of floor-to-ceiling glass walls and wide overhangs, all engendered by the post and beam construction. Taking cues from his mentor, Richard Neutra, Wexler "pinwheels" the floor plan so rooms open readily to the many terraces and salt-water pool.
Open living and dining room, a kitchen modernized with stainless steel appliances, library nook, three bedrooms, two baths, car port. Terrazzo and T111 panels crisply unify the whole, while creating intimate spaces. The elegant Master suite is thoughtfully separated from the guest wing, which opens to private outdoor spaces, flanked by spectacular mature pine trees and the original Wexler spa. Sophisticated yet relaxing, the Wexler House stands as a testament to the marriage of design and livability found in Mid-Century architecture.
As Julius Shulman remarked in 2006, "This house demonstrates how design works today, fifty years later... It's magnificent. Nothing has changed. Nothing HAS to be changed.