The architect Frank Lloyd Wright had several clients who commissioned him for more than one property. One example, Alice Millard and George Madison, rare-book dealers for whom he designed homes both in Highland Park, IL, and Pasadena, CA.
Built in 1906, the home in Highland Park, Illinois that Wright designed for the couple—known as the George Madison Millard Home—has recently landed on the market for $950,000. Considered a prime example of his Prairie School architecture, the home has undergone an extensive renovation overseen by the seller, who bought it for $687,500 in 2015. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, ensuring that its integrity would be maintained.
The listing has attracted much interest from buyers—it's already in contingencies, after less than a week on the market. The four-bedroom house features board-and-batten siding and sits on a large, wooded lot. A floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the living room, crafted from brick, is a signature Wright feature, flanked by a built-in bookshelf on one side. Other typical Wright touches include a built-in bench on the ground floor that's surrounded by stained-glass windows in a diamond motif. The 68 art-glass window frames of the 3,061-square-foot home were painstakingly refurbished and can now be opened with ease. See the photos and the listing here.
The Elmhurst Art Museum reopens with new exhibitions for this fall and strict safety guidelines, in accordance with the Restore Illinois Plan.
One of the new exhibits, set to open September 8 and running to January 3, is curated by Chicago's cultural historian Tim Samuelson, who has been called a Chicago treasure in his own right. Exploring early work by the young architect "Frank L. Wright," Wright Before the "Lloyd" is a journey via images and artifacts that portray the myriad of ways Wright flirted with styles including modernism, classicism, Tudor, Colonial and Japanese. What followed these eclectic, youthful explorations was the career of one of the world's greatest architects, which continued to evolve over seventy years until his death at age of 92. In cases where fire and decay left only fragments and shards, cutting-edge technologies have been deployed to make Wright's home designs whole again. This show complements Elmhurst History Museum's upcoming exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior, which opens Oct. 23, and will explore the interior spaces and objects found inside Wright's homes.
On the museum’s campus is the McCormick House, a single-family home designed in 1952 by Mies van der Rohe, one of the great architects of the 20th Century. The McCormick House is one of only three residences designed and built by Mies in the United States – and one of only two open to the public. The Elmhurst Art Museum is both an international destination for Mies van der Rohe scholars and fans and a regional center where people from Chicago and the western suburbs learn to see and think differently through the study of the art, architecture and design of our time.
Admission is $15, $12 for seniors, and free for students or children under 18. The museum encourages non-members to purchase tickets in advance online. Members, children, and students may check-in without an advance ticket purchase. For more information, including most up-to-date summer hours, visit elmhurstartmuseum.org. All visitors must wear a face mask and are asked to review the museum's COVID-19 protocols before visiting at www.elmhurstartmuseum.org/visit/covid/. More here.
Just over a year ago, eight sites by Frank Lloyd Wright were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. To mark this anniversary, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is celebrating via the meticulously detailed drawings of these sites by artist Michael Pipher. His illustrations have been seen in the Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly magazine and they are now available as commemorative fine art prints. Read the article in The Whirling Arrow and view the prints here.
Smithsonian Magazine highlights the Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois, a trailblazing example of accessible design built 40 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. Wright became one of the first architects to fully embrace a level of accessibility in housing with the home he designed for Ken and Phyllis Laurent.
"In 1946, Ken Laurent, then a 26-year-old World War II veteran, became paralyzed from the waist down when doctors accidentally cut a nerve on his spine while trying to remove a tumor. Over the next couple years, he spent weekdays at a rehabilitation center near Chicago, heading home to his wife, Phyllis, in Rockford on the weekends. But those weekends quickly turned frustrating as Ken and Phyllis struggled to adapt a standard house to Ken’s new life in a wheelchair. They needed something different.
Phyllis found the solution in 1948, when paging through House Beautiful. The magazine featured the Wright-designed Pope-Leighey House in Virginia, one that showcased open spaces and a lack of barriers from one part of the house to another. (That house is now open to the public for tours.) Phyllis showed the profile to Ken, who had received a $10,000 Federal Specially Adapted Housing grant for disabled veterans, suggesting they contact Wright to design them a home. Ken wrote a letter to Wright outlining his disability and what he needed, and suggested Wright build them a home for $20,000.
Wright wrote back agreeing on all but the price. According to Jerry Heinzeroth, the president of the Laurent House Board of Directors and personal friend of the Laurents while they were alive, the architect replied, “Dear Laurent: We are interested but don't guarantee costs. Who knows what they are today.” From that point, a partnership between Wright and the Laurents was born. A friendship blossomed as well, and once the home was built, Wright frequently stopped by while he was traveling. The Laurents even attended Wright's birthday party every year." Read the entire article and see the photos of the Laurent house here.
The Grabow House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright's chief draftsman, is on the market in Rochester, Minnesota, for the first time ever. Designed by Howe and built in 1970 for Dr. Jack Grabow, this architectural gem has a list price of $750,000.
The 2,180 square foot home, which has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, is defined by sensible, organic architecture and built with natural materials. The one-story, single-family home was built in 1970 and sits on more than 2 acres, with the listing noting every space in the home is maximized with built-in storage and shelving throughout. See the listing and more images here.
Mark Hertzberg's Wright in Racine blog recently added a couple of "Rainy Day" entries on a few Frank Lloyd Wright stories that were waiting in the wings to be posted. The first is on a new roof for the Hardy House and the second is on the design connections of the Guggenheim Museum's dome and one at S.C. Johnson Wax Administration Building. Read them both here.
Henry Whiting has written a reflection of living at Teater’s Knoll for the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's website. His observations of living with Nature and Wright's architecture are a window on how to find peace during these troubled times:
"In the last forty or so years of observing, the comment I have most frequently heard from Frank Lloyd Wright homeowners is, 'We see something new every day at our house.' This observation became so frequent that I began pondering it in more depth, and realized that more often than not, the person was talking about the relationship of the house with nature — architecture and nature — and usually the observation had to do with light, be it the sunlight moving through the house during the day, or oftentimes the change in the angle of the sun with the seasons, revealing different aspects of the architecture.
Since 1982 I have been observing my house, the Archie and Patricia Teater studio (aka 'Teater’s Knoll') in this regard. Teater’s Knoll is actually not even a house, but is an artist studio designed by Wright in 1952, for landscape painter Archie Boyd Teater, in Bliss, Idaho. It is a one room studio that doesn’t actually have a bedroom — a sleeping area is partitioned off the main studio space. As an artist studio, Teater’s Knoll is of course all about light. Read more here.