Architect Donald Wexler

Dinah Shore House 1964

After days of rain and snow in the desert, on Saturday we woke to an amazing weekend with bright blue clear skies. It was finally Wexler Weekend in Palm Springs. We didn’t get much work done this weekend but we sure got a lot of inspiration!  The contrast of the amazing colors of the desert with snow on the mountains as a backdrop to some of the most awe inspiring architecture anywhere, made it a perfect day.  We wanted to share a few highlights.

The first four photos are of the Dinah Shore House in Palm Springs built in 1964. At over 9000 sq. ft., it’s impressive. While walking around inside, you can imagine the amazing parties that probably happened in this house back in the day! The next two photos are of the Kirk Douglas Home. Spartacus! Way more subtle than Dinah’s home but equally beautiful. The current owner had great stories of guests who had stayed there, (Tracy and Hepburn) as well as the fact that the Douglas’s still return to visit. It had been their home for over 40 years which really says something about a house. From the street, all you see is a stone wall that once you walk through, it opens to a breathtaking desert oasis with walls of glass, a pool, tennis courts and outdoor fireplace. The outdoor space is as much living space as the inside. Beautifully typical of Wexler. The next two photos are of our favorite house of the day, Donald Wexler’s personal residence at the time he was starting his young family in Palm Springs. Built in 1955, the home featured a floor plan that was a variation of Richard Neutra’s “pinwheel” with lanes extending into the landscape to join the house with the site. Wexler had originally come to California from Minnesota to apprentice with Neutra, whose influence is evident in much of his work. Next door to Wexlers original residence sits a new steel house that he designed years ago but that the current owner just completed in 04. The last home was custom designed and built in 1960 for Tennessee Ernie Ford’s business manager. This one was a favorite as well.

The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation did a great job in honoring an architectural icon still living in the community he helped shape, and in putting together this educational tribute. It has certainly given TK and me an even greater appreciation for some of the treasures we have been driving by and dreaming about living in for years!

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