Beginning in November 1935, William Kesling was Southern California’s most prolific and successful practitioner of Streamline Moderne design, then called Modernistic. His better-known peers, Schindler, Neutra and other modernists could not so easily desert the principles of economy and austerity. The unschooled Kesling was not bound by such dogma, nevertheless he was driven by his goal of bringing high-quality modern design within reach of the everyday home-buying public.
Just sixteen months after his burst of creativity began, the colorful Kesling pled guilty to fraud and was sentenced, in March 1937, to prison. After World War II he reemerged creating noteworthy modern houses for soldiers’ young families. Eventually his business practices caught up with him a second time and he permanently faded from the scene.
Sprinkled throughout neighborhoods of ubiquitous Spanish, Tudor and Italianate bungalows, many of his striking, clean-lined houses have been restored by design aficionados. With never before published photographs by Julius Shulman, this book is the first exploration of the work of an important yet little-known player in Southern California’s fertile modern movement.