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The Last Wexler: Evolution of a Final Masterpiece

Completed in time for Palm Springs Modernism Week 2016, the last true Palm Springs Wexler glass-and-steel home greeted the masses with one of the best architectural highlights of the week. The home, a premiere project that Dunn-Edwards Paints was proud to participate in, was the last design of the late Donald Wexler, who was 89 years old when approached and persuaded to complete one more home.

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A host of companies that understood the importance of completing such an amazing project in honor of Wexler included Better Built, Inc. the building contractor; Marc Sanders, the design director and personal
friend of Wexler; Lance O’Donnell of o2 Architecture, the consulting architect; and the owners of the property, Alan Finkle and Shawn Rost of Mod Modern.

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The home is oriented on the lot to take advantage of the mountain views, arranged artfully to create privacy and a “wow” factor sure to please homeowners and visitors, alike. Built as a 2,550-square-foot structure
with three bedrooms plus a den, many will agree that Wexler’s preferences were inlaid throughout, including the use of glass and steel, the right orientation of view and shading from the hot desert sun, as well as wiring for solar. O’Donnell of o2 Architecture stated, “It’s a simple post-and-beam home in the lineage of Don’s post-and-beam aesthetic, first experimented with in steel some 55 years ago.”

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This last Wexler is also his only steel home completed since the 1960s. Located on property that was originally part of the Frank Sinatra Twin Palms estate, the parcel of land had been vacant and put up for sale in 2014. The timing was serendipitous for the creation of this masterpiece. After much work and dealing with the city officials, the plans were signed off on in June 2015, three days before Wexler passed. The last Wexler needed to be built. “Don’s legacy doesn’t need Don to continue,” O’Donnell explains. “You see it in Modernism Week. You see it in the notoriety he had late in life. You see it in this home.”

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Wexler had a prolific career as one of the premier Mid-Century architects. Visitors to Palm Springs and the surrounding areas in Coachella Valley can view many of his works, including Royal Hawaiian Estates (1960); El Rancho Vista Estates (1960); Alexander Steel Houses of North Palm Springs (1962); the Union 76 Gas Station (1962); Canyon Country Club, now Indian Canyons Golf Resort (1963); Dinah Shore House and Dinah Shore/Maurice Smith House (1964); Palm Springs International Airport (1966); AISI “Style in Steel Home” in Buena Park (1968); the Merrill Lynch Building (1971); the Desert Water Agency (1978); and Tropicana Homes (2001).

To view more of his life and legacy visit the following websites:

http://www.racquetclubestates.com/steel history....

http://www.eichlernetwork.com/article/wexlers-palm...

http://www.desertsun.com/story/life/entertainment/...

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-h...

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-dona...

All Images by Sara McLean