Abrams, Harold
Ain, Gregory
Alexander, Robert E.
Antelline, Jon P.
Applebaum, Norm
Batter-Kay Associates
Beadle, Alfred
Beckett, Welton
Benedict, Hiram Hudson
Bird, Fujimoto & Fish
Bonini, Vincent
Brownell, J. Herbert
Buff, Straub and Hensman
Campbell, Donald
Cody, William F.
Crane, Loch
Davis, Ronald K.
Decker, Arthur
Deems-Lewis
Delawie, Homer
Des Lauriers, Robert
Drake, Gordon
Eckel, George
Eggers, Henry
Ellwood, Craig
Ferris, Robert
Fickett, Edward
Forester, Russell
Fowble, Robert
French, Stanley J.
Frey, Albert
Gill, Irving
Goldberg, Bertrand
Goldman, Donald
Gordon, Kenneth & Robert
Grossman, Greta
Hagadone, Walter
Harris, Harwell Hamilton
Henderson, John
Hester, Henry
Hope, Frank
Hufbauer, Clyde
Hubbell, James
Jackson-Scott
Jones, A. Quincy
Jones, Robert E.
Kahn, Louis
Kellogg, Dick
Kellogg, Kendrick Bangs
Kesling, William
Killingsworth, Brady & Smith
Kowalski, Joseph
Krisel, William
Ladd, Thornton
Lareau, Richard
Lautner, John
Leitch, Richard
Liebhardt, Frederick
Livingstone, Fred
Loring, Arthur
Lotery, Rex
Lykos, George
Macy, Al
Malone, Ed
Matthews, Roger
May, Cliff
McKim, Paul
Mitchell, Delmar
Mock, John
Mortenson, John
Mosher & Drew
Naegle, Dale
Neutra, Richard
Norris, Fred
Paderewski, CJ
Patrick, William
Paul & Allard
Paulson, Ted
Periera & Luckman
Platt, Robert
Ray, Eugene
Reed, John
Richards, Sim Bruce
Risley and Gould
Rosser, William
Ruocco, Lloyd
Salerno, Daniel
Schindler, Rudolph
Schoell & Geritz
Sigurdson, John
Simpson and Gerber
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Soriano, Raphael
Spencer & Lee
Stone, Edward Durrell
Therkelsen, Lloyde
Tucker, Sadler & Bennett
Turner, Herb
Veitzer, Leonard
Vickery, Dean
Weir Brothers
Weston, Eugene III
Wheeler, Richard
Wright, Frank Lloyd
Wright, John Lloyd
Wright, Lloyd
Wulff and Fifield

William P. Kesling
(1899-1983)


Kesling Modern Structures at 7522 Girard Avenue (ca. 1950)

Born on October 18, 1899, in Brenham, Texas, the Kessling family moved little William to Calexico, California, in 1916. In 1920, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked his way up from carpenter’s helper to carpenter boss. In 1923 he began contracting carpenter labor and then serving as a general contractor. In 1926 he married Ehrma Williams. He changed the legal spelling of his last name from Kessling to Kesling because he thought it looked better.

Kesling claimed, in 1928, to have served as Rudolf Schindler’s draftsman before opening his own office, Kesling Modern Structures, at 1639 Silverlake Boulevard in 1935.

By 1936 he claimed to have built “…over 450 homes, stores, and apartments in L.A. and the vicinity." At that point in his career, he remarked, "While I have never made a fortue, I have made a fair living.” Kesling eventually constructed many homes in the Streamline Moderne style, some for movie greats like Wallace Beery. These homes, in which he called ‘scintillating modern structures’ in his own ads, featured large glass openings integrating interiors and exteriors.  

In the later years of the Great Depression, Kesling’s business ran into legal trouble when he was sued for his inability to complete some of his houses at the pre-agreed price. Kesling’s overcharges were nothing new; in fact, many architects/contractors of the time sought additional funds from clients in order to finish their work – a practice for which Frank Lloyd Wright himself was notorious. Initially, Kesling prevailed in court but was later subject to a grand jury investigation re-charging him for the same accusations. Frustrated, Kesling pled guilty to one count of stealing $24.00 for which he was convicted and his sentencewas commuted to two years probation. The probation officer stated how overcharging was a “typical means of doing business at the time,” but the method was becoming too rampant and an example needed to be made. Kesling paid the price.

After his probation, in 1939, Kesling moved to La Jolla from Salinas. Joining his extended family, who had moved to La Jolla years earlier, he claimed to construct hundreds of “prefabricated” houses (likely the structures in Clairemont and at 46th and Market). The first reference of Kesling’s influence in La Jolla was from the La Jolla Journal on November 11, 1939, when he built a home at 538 Fern Glen for his brother, Adolph. His work became more noteworthy when his houses were featured in Life and California Arts & Architecture.

Julius Shulman, who photographed both Schindler and Kesling houses, believed that "Kesling has become important historically because he marked the transition from Art Deco Streamline Moderne to Schindler's modern style." Schindler and Kesling had one thing in common - their work was not taken seriously at first by the architectural establishment because they acted as their own contractors. This was not the conventional road for professional architects."

Architect Russell Forrester, who worked for Kesling as a draftsman, argued that Kesling opened the path to Modernist development in confronting San Diego’s habitually restrictive regulations, a thorn in the side of the “rebels” of the Modern Movement. Kesling found ways to get around City code requirements that made it difficult to have large glass areas.

Kesling designed housing for the US Navy during the war, after which he resurfaced in La Jolla. His late '40s designs were conservative wood and brick houses with trellises and patios; along with his design for the Jamar Dining Room restaurant, were photographed by Julius Shulman. A row of beach houses on Dowling Drive were nicknamed by the LA Times "Kesling's Kozy Kowsheds.” By this time it is argued that he had built 3,000 houses in his 30-year career.

Kesling was largely forgotten after his death in 1983, in San Diego, of Alzheimer’s Disease. Long championed by La Jolla historian Pat Schaelchlin, Kesling’s local work was “re-discovered” in 2000 when San Diego architect Wayne Donaldson identified Kesling’s row of houses on Dowling Street.

One of his most significant area houses was the McConnell House. Built in 1946-47 for a retired airline pilot, the house still soars over La Jolla Shores Beach after being featured in a 1947 photo spread in Life Magazine. The J. Paul Getty Museum’s archives holds images of the house, including interior shots made during a party.


Advertisement from 1949 issue of Magazine San Diego

Partial List of Kesling Projects By Year

1937

Skinner Residence
1530 North Easterly Terrace, Los Angeles

1939

Kessling, Adolph Residence
538 Fern Glen, La Jolla


Kaysor Residence, La Jolla

1942

Kaysor Residence
La Jolla

Wartime Housing
100 prefabricated 649-sq ft detached dwellings at the intersection of Market & 46th Streets but are found on 45th Street, G Street, F Street, Market Street, Cotton Street, Craigie Street, Hilltop Drive and Boylston Street.
Published in November, 1942 issue of California Arts & Architecture.


Wartime Housing (ca. 1942)

1946

Martin Coule Residence
6604 Muirlands Drive
Demolished in 2011

Everett House
La Jolla

Ingall House
La Jolla

King Residence
8208 Paseo Del Ocaso, La Jolla
Remodeled



J. Walton MacConnell Residence

1946-1947

J. Walton MacConnell Residence
1890 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla
Published in Life Magazine in the November 3, 1947 issue pp. 154-160
Photographed by Julius Shulman


Kesling's Kozy Kowsheds - nicknamed by the LA Times architecture critic

Kesling's Kozy Kowsheds
6235
, 6243, 6253, 6261, 6311, 6319, 6327, 6333, 6341 and 6351 Dowling Drive, La Jolla
12 detached dwellings approximately 850 sq ft each.


Kesling's Kozy Kowsheds - nicknamed by the LA Times architecture critic

1947-1948

Gamson Residence
La Jolla
This 1196 sq ft house became the Better Homes & Gardens Five Star Home #1711.

Ingle Residence
Beaumont Street, La Jolla


King Residence, La Jolla

Esker Martin Cole and Lullah M. Cole Residence
6604 Muirlands, La Jolla

McConnell Residence
721 Genter Street, La Jolla

Private Residence
7972 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla

Private Residence
4304 Narragansett Avenue, Pt. Loma

Private Residence
4303 Narragansett Avenue, Pt. Loma

Private Residence
4321 Niagara Avenue, Pt. Loma

Private Residence
4359 Niagara Avenue, Pt. Loma

Private Residence
4368 Niagara Avenue, Pt. Loma

Private Residence
Lot 12 Block 69 Pt. Loma Heights, Pt. Loma

Private Residence
Lots 27-28, Block 16 Bird Rock City by the Sea, La Jolla

Private Residence
Lots 28-32 Block 8 La Jolla Park, La Jolla

Private Residence
Lot B, F T Scripps Add to La Jolla Park, La Jolla

Private Residence
Block 1 La Jolla Park, La Jolla

Private Residence
Lot 6 Block 25 La Jolla Hermosa Unit No. 2, La Jolla

Private Residence
Lots 5, 8, 10 & 18 Block 34, La Jolla

Private Residence
Hermosa Unit No. 2, La Jolla

Private Residence
Lot 1 Block 40, La Jolla

Private Residence
Hermosa Unit No. 2, La Jolla

Private Residence
Lots 2-3, 5-6 & 9-10 Block 41, La Jolla

Private Residence
Hermosa Unit No. 2, La Jolla

Private Residence
Lot 9 Block 15, La Jolla

Private Residence
Shores Unit No. 1, La Jolla
 

Martin Coule Residence (ca. 1946). Photograph by Dan Soderbergh 1948

Private Residence
7972 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla

Private Residence
8499 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla

Private Residence
5943 Folsom Drive, La Jolla

Private Residence
639 Rosemont Street, La Jolla

Private Residence
Lot 2 Block 20 of La Jolla Shores Unit No. 3, La Jolla
   

The Borrego Springs Desert Club (1949)

1949

Borrego Springs Desert Club
401 Tilting T Drive, Borrego Springs

1951-1952

Hugh Woods Market (1951)
Christmas Circle, Borrego Springs

Kesling plotted the Cliffside Subdivision from Blocks 16, 17, and 18 of the 1908 Bird Rock Subdivision.
Identified Kesling built homes in the Cliffside Tract are:
5511 Calumet Avenue
5559 Calumet Avenue
5576 Chelsea Avenue
The house at Chelsea & Midway is a Kesling within the Cliffside boundaries

1961

Private Residences
Several dozen homes on Kesling Street and Kesling Court, San Diego


Jamar Dining Room, La Jolla

Date Unknown

Summer House Hotel (demolished)
La Jolla

Jamar Dining Room Restaurant
5786 La Jolla Boulevard


King Residence, La Jolla


King Residence interior