If you’re on the hunt for a classic midcentury modern home, checking out one of the Donald Wexler-designed houses in North Palm Springs is a great place to start. And that’s exactly where Gerald Casale, the singer, songwriter, and co-founder of Devo, began his search back in 2005.
“While the Wexler homes are housing as art, their room plans were smallish, and we felt like we would be subjugated to the idea of Palm Springs life without the joy of the midcentury modern desert fantasy,” he says.
So he eventually settled into a 3,200-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom home designed in 1963 by Patten & Wild. “It is an entertainer’s house with value added,” says Casale. “The large, open living, dining, kitchen area flowing to the completely private pool and yard, and the outdoor dining and seating areas are designed for the ideal day-to-night desert party.”
The communal areas of the home are connected by wide hallways to three private bedroom/bathroom suites, plus an attached casita.
Casale notes that one of the innovative features Patten & Wild added was a travertine-clad central column that supports 10-foot ceilings and an open fireplace. “[It’s] surrounded by designer soffits that cast soft, even light throughout the living/dining area,” he says. “The large block, slate floors are stellar, and the sunken, 1-inch-square tiled, Japanese-style ceramic tub and shower in the master suite were definitely revolutionary features of the day.”
"The manicured grounds are rife with desert flora and fauna, plus lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit trees producing more fruit that you could ever need for personal use," says Casale.
The only change to the original house occurred when a previous owner glassed in a space off the living and dining room that had been an open, roof-covered patio. “That makes it necessary for guests to open a second set of sliding doors to access the pool,” says Casale, adding that simply removing the glass enclosure would restore the original design.
The expansive kitchen has cork floors, a gas stove and oven, two electric ovens, a large refrigerator/freezer with an adjacent pantry, a prep sink, and wet bar. "And enough cabinetry and storage areas to accommodate even the most overstocked chef," says Casale. "There are multiple closet areas with sliding pocket doors, shelving, and bins to hide any and all potential clutter."
The home sits on a double lot that’s bordered on two sides by a cul-de-sac, offering maximum privacy and distance from neighbors. “The view of the mountains to the south gave us a fantastic vista that can never be disturbed by any development, as per code,” says Casale.
“The location is ideal, being close to El Paseo, and positioned to take in views of the mountains from the pool area,” adds Richard Bartholomew of The Agency, who is the agent for the property, along with Gregg Fletcher. “The adjacent lot is also available for purchase, which would create a private compound that could easily fit a tennis court or guest house.”
“This house is a perfect example of desert luxury lifestyle,” says Casale.
Located at 74885 Fairway Drive in Palm Desert, the property is listed at $1,495,000.
A travertine-clad central column supports 10-foot ceilings and an open fireplace in the living room.
The backyard has a black, pebble-bottom saltwater pool.