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The architect who defined California Modernism: William Krisel.

Among the Coachella Valley staples—the Sinatra home, Bing Crosby’s estate and Richard Neutra’s famed houses—there’s the 1,200 plus middle-class homes built by William Krisel.

William Krisel pioneered a change in tract housing, what was once a “cookie-cutter” concept of homes with similar designs built almost on top of each other was re-imagined. His flat and “butterfly” rooflines, paint schemes, and property placement amongst the homes’ surroundings made sure that no two tract homes looked the same — regardless of their similar floor plans. Prepare for the cringe factor, in the late 50’s and early 60’s “a 100 x 100 lot, all fenced in, landscaped, modern design, air condition, swimming pool — all for $29,900.” His homes today remain some of the most coveted in the desert oasis. They are often restored to their original color schemes and go for just under 1 million when they do show up on the market.

“I’ve had a very happy and successful career, and I’ve achieved what I set out to do: create housing for the masses that they could afford and that would change their way of living and make life more enjoyable.” Mr. William Krisel died June 5th at the age 92.

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