Well known among creative types, El Rancho Vista Estate flies somewhat under the radar, farther from downtown on the eastern border near the airport. For die-hard fans of architect Donald Wexler, this midcentury modern neighborhood feels like coming home. Built between 1959 and 1960, the original 75 homes of El Rancho Vista Estates became the first Wexler & Harrison subdivision. Three basic floor plans kept interiors simple, while flat and butterfly rooflines, alternating elevations, and decorative concrete block let exterior personalities emerge. In the original marketing copy promoting his three-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot tract houses, developer Roy Fey wrote: “Each home has been painstakingly oriented on its lot to welcome winter sun and shun summer heat. … The relation of your bedrooms, window walls, and leisure areas to sun and shadow patterns is called orientation and El Rancho Vista Estates are the first to eliminate hit-and-miss plot planning and employ careful study in this vital field… Each home is designed with the desert in mind.” His words still ring true. Very of the houses have been significantly altered; many have been restored with modern materials and period thoughtfulness.
Enthusiasts roused by an immersive setting of architecturally collectible homes will find a nice price-value proposition here Nine homes participated in the January 2010 “Wexler Weekend,” organized by Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, and many homeowners open their doors for ticketed Modernism Week home tours each February. The neighborhood also includes 20 ranch-style homes built in the second phase, and another 20 homes completed the estates in the 1970s. Jack LaLanne owned here as did Ric Harrison, surrounded by his firm’s work. Eight cul-de-sacs and one through street give neighbors a chance to get acquainted, further adding to its throwback character. The adjacent Gateway Park, completed in 2010, has become a meet-up spot for walking the dog and playing bocce ball.
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