A Rare $900,000 Home and Two Other Frank Lloyd Wright Houses That Have Hit the Market This Year

Photo: Laura Bennett, VHT Studios

For those who have dreamed of living in a Frank Lloyd Wright house, 2024 is shaping up to be a good year to do that, as a number of properties by the famed architect have already hit the market. Below, AD covers three properties by the visionary that all went up for sale during the first three months of the year. The homes span various eras in Wright’s career, from his Prairie-style days to a brief stint with modular designs up to one of his most dramatic Usonian creations. Could this be the year you move into a piece of architecture history?

A Rare $900,000 Wright Design in Wilmette, Illinois

In Wilmette, Illinois, a 1,460-square-foot home by the architect listed in early March with a $899,000 asking price. As predicted by Crain's Chicago Business, the home went fast. At the time of writing, it already has a pending sale.

The living room features a central hearth, a common design element in Wright homes.
The living room features a central hearth, a common design element in Wright homes.
Photo: Laura Bennett, VHT Studios

The seller, Melody Eckroth, bought the home in March 2021 before it was even technically for sale. Her realtor, Julie Fleetwood of Jameson Sothebys International Realty, was able to see the house before it hit the market after noticing a Facebook post from the original seller’s realtor, who was at the home having photos taken. Fleetwood and Eckroth submitted an offer that same night, and the sellers accepted. Fleetwood is once again working with Eckroth, this time as the listing agent.

The kitchen has been remodeled, though some of the original cabinetry was retained.
The kitchen has been remodeled, though some of the original cabinetry was retained.
Photo: Laura Bennett, VHT Studios

The northern Illinois home was one of a few realized iterations of Wright’s American System-Built Homes, a line of precut houses the architect designed throughout the 1910s. According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Wright created over 960 drawings for the project and crafted more than 30 variations of the houses, as he was extremely passionate about offering Americans affordable, well-designed homes. Small units went for $2,750 up to $3,500, while larger ones cost between $5,000 and $100,000. The architect worked with Arthur L. Richards, a Milwaukee manufacturer, whose factory would cut and ship construction materials for builders to assemble. However, World War I saw necessary materials diverted abroad, which effectively stopped the business. The prefab homes were only available for about a year, and only 10 exist, according to the foundation.

A small office in the home.
A small office in the home.
Photo: Laura Bennett, VHT Studios

The one that went up for sale, known as the Lewis E. Burleigh House, was produced from the Model C3 design. The original blueprints show a single-story home with a central front porch, a living room, and kitchen at the front of the house, and two bedrooms and a bathroom at the back. There is also a basement. Since buying the property, Eckroth has remodeled some, adding a full bathroom to the primary as well as updating the kitchen. According to Crain’s, the home was also enlarged at some point, but there aren’t exact records noting when it happened or who was the architect.

“This is such a unique offering. Not only is this a Frank Lloyd Wright design, it has been so well maintained,” Fleetwood tells AD. “Every owner has invested in preserving and updating.” The home is four blocks from Lake Michigan and is priced slightly higher than the average home in the area, which is valued at $764,004, according to Zillow.

One of the bedrooms in the home retains trim from Wright’s original design.
One of the bedrooms in the home retains trim from Wright’s original design.
Photo: Laura Bennett, VHT Studios

“This little nook of southeast Wilmette is a hidden gem just blocks to Lake Michigan, Canal Shores Golf Course, near public transportation, and sandwiched between Evanston’s Central Street shopping district and downtown Wilmette,” Fleetwood adds. “The one-level living option is in high demand from down-sizers and empty-nesters, and anything under $1,000,000 in east Wilmette is a true anomaly.”

A Relatively Affordable Usonian Home in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Also in March, the McCartney House, a 1950 Usonian home in Kalamazoo, Michigan, listed for $790,000. At the time, it was the most affordable Frank Lloyd Wright house for sale. “The home, like many in the area, fell into a state of disrepair,” Fred Taber, one of the listing, tells AD over email. (Victoria Krause Schutte is the colister.) The current owners, who bought the home in in 2021, took great care to fix it up and are now ready to pass the torch to the next steward.

The McCartney House in Kalamazoo
The McCartney House in Kalamazoo
Photo: Mathew Truman Photography

The property is located within Parkwyn Village, a Wright-designed neighborhood that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2022. In 1946, a group of young families wrote to Wright, asking if he would consider designing a housing community for them. “We have just purchased a 47-acre site,” they explained, expressing hope to offer homes for 40 to 60 families priced between $5,000 and $20,000. The architect agreed to lay out roads and house sites and drafted a plan that included 40 roughly-one-acre lots in addition to gardens, tennis courts, and playgrounds on the remaining seven acres. The visionary also designed four of the homes in the community, though many in the neighborhood today are inspired by Wright’s ideas and style.

The galley kitchen is a common feature in Wright homes.
The galley kitchen is a common feature in Wright homes.
Photo: Mathew Truman Photography

The McCartney House, one of the four original homes, was built for Ward McCartney, a dentist, and his wife, Helen, who bought their lot in the early days of Parkwyn Village. “Your house is an experimental geometric form: a triangle, or several of them, almost a star. I hope you will enjoy living in it,” Helen, who wrote a short book about building and living in the home, remembers Wright saying when the couple visited Taliesin to collect the blueprints. The property was designed based on a four-foot parallelogram grid, with each wing shaped like a triangle and made from concrete blocks. The site spans 1,671 square feet and includes four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Continue reading about this Usonian home here

One of Wright’s First Prairie-Style Homes

A few weeks later, one of Wright’s first Prairie-style homes hit the market in Kankakee, Illinois. Known as the Warren Hickox House, the home sits next to another Wright design, the Bradley House, which a brother and sister—and their respective spouses—commissioned at the turn of the century. The Bradley House, the larger of the two, was built for B. Harley Bradley and his wife, Anna Hickox Bradley, while the Warren Hickox House was designed for Anna’s brother, Warren, and his wife, Laura. The Bradley House is perhaps the more famous of the pair—and often credited as Wright’s first Prairie home—though the Warren Hickox property shares many similar qualities and is just as monumental.

The Warren Hickox house.
The Warren Hickox house.
Photo: Realvision

Not yet established as a pioneering architect, many early Wright homes show less of a distinguished style and look similar to other Victorian and Colonial homes that were popular during the era. This all changed with the two Kankakee homes. Though they lack flat roofs and the earthy red and yellow accents that would come to define his later work, the overhanging eaves, windows with geometric designs, and a noticeable emphasis on horizontal lines are all classic Wright. The Warren Hickox House “fits into a turning point for Wright,” John Waters, preservation programs manager the Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Conservancy, told Crain’s Chicago Business.

The living room features a central hearth, common in Wright designs, and is flanked by two alcove units.
The living room features a central hearth, common in Wright designs, and is flanked by two alcove units.
Photo: Realvision

Though the pitched roofs are still evocative of Victorian sensibility, the homes shows what Waters described as Wright “working towards the simplicity and clarity” of the homes he’d design later in his career. The flared roof ridges also demonstrate a noticeable Japanese influence, an aesthetic Wright would continue to reference throughout his life.

Looking into the living room from the dining room.
Looking into the living room from the dining room.
Photo: Realvision

“The home was designed during a turning point for Wright as he started moving toward the Prairie style,” Victoria Krause Schutte of @properties Christie’s International Realty, the home’s listing agent, tells AD. “He would often bring Chicago-area clients down to the home and seat them in the reading nook’s built-in benches to help them visualize the new direction his work was taking.

Continue reading about this Kankakee home here

Other Frank Lloyd Wright homes for sale

In addition to the three Wright designs that hit the market this year, there are a number of other properties by the architect listed in 2023 (or even 2022) that are still available. The Midwest is a particular hot spot for Wright designs, where a pair of homes were listed together for $4.5 million in Galesburg, Michigan. Wright’s Fawcett Farm in Los Banos, California, is still awaiting its next steward as is the Norman Lykes house, the last property the architect ever designed.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest


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