Sunday, April 19, 2015

JEWEL BOXES: A classic Modernist home for Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio recently confirmed his status as Hollywood's leading fan of Modernist architecture, by purchasing a 1963 estate designed by famed mid-century architect Donald Wexler. The stunning home, in the the Old Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs, CA, was originally commissioned by big-band-era singer and TV host Dinah Shore.

Wexler, who is still living but in frail health,  is considered a dean of CA mid-mod architects.
A Midwesterner by birth, he was known to be a low-key personality who rejected the strict categories or abstractions of architectural theory. “I never tried to do any kind of style,” he has said, claiming not to know whether he is "a modernist, a practitioner of the International Style, or any other pundit-created label."

In a conversation with Palm Springs Life (see "The Quiet Elegance of Donald Wexler" by Morris Newman), he recounts a  story from early in his career -- a time when he had relatively little work. A couple came to his office and requested a house designed in “an early American style.” “You mean like a tepee?” responded Wexler impishly. "End of interview."

According to an article in, DiCaprio paid $5.2 million for the house. "Steeped in Old Hollywood charm, the California modern boasts a classic open floor plan with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and wood-paneled ceilings. Spanning 7,022 square feet, the layout has six bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, and a living room with a sunken bar and sauna." And if that's not enough, the pool area has "sprawling mountain views."

                                        Living room

Dining area
(I love George Nelson's hanging Bubble Lamps -- very space age-ey!)



Pool by day and night

"Like the man himself, Wexler’s buildings chronicle 
quiet intelligence in the service of human beings."
                                                                                              ... Palm Springs Life, Feb. 2011


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