Return of the 'Forgotten Frey'

Much-ballyhooed desert restoration is back on the market with a $500K price tag slash
Fridays on the Homefront
Albert Frey's Cree House (above) was a hit on tours during 2019's 'Palm Springs Modernism Week,' but things have quieted down since then. The home is now back on the market with a huge price reduction. Photos: Lance Gerber/Nu-Vue Interactive

Last year, a nifty home in the desert foothills was dubbed 'The Forgotten Frey' because the public had not seen this Albert Frey design for nearly half a century.

However, back then homebuyers found the smallish house unworthy of $2.5 million despite a huge lot and design lineage to modernist trailblazer Le Corbusier.

But will a whopping $500,000 discount finally bring the next owner to the table?

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"This is not a new listing for us," admitted Andy Linsky of Christie's International, the week after listing the two-bed, 1.5-bath recently for $1,975,000. The realtor, also affiliated with HK Lane Real Estate and ASK Palm Springs, added, "We had it before at [the] much higher price."

The Swiss-born Frey apprenticed with his countryman Le Corbusier in the late '20s before becoming the premier desert modernist architect of the Coachella Valley from the 1950s into the '70s. He built this home, known as the Cree House, in 1956 for retired county school superintendent cum real estate developer Raymond Cree.

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Constructed for only $40,000 using indigenous and industrial materials that looked striking then and still do, the house bears a resemblance to a Parisian masterpiece Frey worked on with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, the famed Villa Savoye.

The house was reintroduced to the market and the architecture-loving public last year via a 'Palm Springs Modernism Week' tour that Linsky said "was on for ten days, 300 people a tour, totally sold out." The property is prominently visible near the end of East Palm Drive, where post-code-envy PS ends and Cathedral City begins.

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"Cathedral City is not known for mid-century gems like this," Linsky noted, adding, "If I had to use a real estate term, it's 'Palm Springs-adjacent.'"

The floor plan of the 1,124-square-foot interior is unusual in that the bedrooms have only a collapsible wall between them, the realtor said, explaining, "For some reason there was never a wall built to section off the second space."