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Luxury

Buy the Home of a Mid-Century Modern Pioneer

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In Palm Springs, CA, boxy homes -- examples of Mid-Century Modern design -- by architects such as Donald Wexler, Richard Harrison, and William Francis Cody line the residential streets.

During the 1950s and 1960s, as these homes were being built, Palm Springs attracted celebrities from Los Angeles, including folks such as Gene Autry and Frank Sinatra flocking to the desert for a respite.

The stars have aligned again, at least for fans of classic design. A steel-frame home built by Wexler as his personal residence is now on the market. Listed for $1.75 million, this three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch is in the Movie Colony neighborhood, convenient located next to downtown Palm Springs.

Built in 1955, expanded in 1960, and completely restored by Wexler in 2008, the place was his family home for decades.

Inside the 2,268-square-foot, L-shaped home are luxuries such as terrazzo flooring, steel beams, glass walls, and a sleek galley kitchen. Walls of windows bring the outdoors in. The master suite's suspended fireplace, walk-in closet, and soaking tub are modern comforts. All of the rooms open to a saltwater pool and terraces perfect for enjoying the abundant sun of Southern California.

"Many homes in Palm Springs have been renovated, but few have been done with great respect to the architect's original design," says listing agent Rick Grahn, noting the home's "clean lines and pristine restoration."

"Fortunately, Palm Springs has a strong sense of preservation, which supports the preservation of these special homes," he adds.

Would buyers be willing to pay a premium for a home linked to Wexler? "A premium is always placed on homes with strong provenance. Would you pay more for a painting by Picasso?" asked Grahn.

That said, a home imagined by Wexler isn't a rare commodity in this desert community.

"In Palm Springs, you can always find a home designed by Wexler or Harrison for sale as they designed a number of tracts throughout the valley. However, the custom homes that were commissioned [from these architects] are rare and much sought-after," says Grahn.

What makes this home a true gem is that Wexler designed the home for his own needs, which lead to fascinating and one-of-a-kind customization.

"Sometimes we sell to architectural purists and sometimes to buyers who just appreciate the wonderful, open vibe of classic modern architecture," says Grahn.