By , V.L. Hendriclson
Published May 23, 2017
Owning a home by Frank Lloyd Wright would be a coup for an architecture aficionado at any time. But there’s a special significance as his 150th birthday approaches on June 8 and, as luck would have it, there are currently three homes designed by the preeminent architect on the market in and around Chicago.
The Laura Gale home was put up for sale May 15 in Oak Park, a suburb to the west of the city. Built around 1910 for Gale, a widow who has since died, and her family, the four-bedroom, two-bathroom is listed for $1.075 million.
“This was the fifth house he had designed for the family,” said agent Greer Haseman of At Properties. “She allowed him to do a little experimenting here.”
Those experiments—like the slab roof and multiple cantilevers—are some of the design elements he later used for the famous Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, according to Haseman.
Wright’s famous Prairie School style is in full effect here, with large windows and generous outdoor areas. From the street, the home has seclusion and privacy, Haseman said, but once inside, “there’s a feeling of openness.”
The home is on a tree-lined private street, and “every single window has amazing views” of the leafy surrounds. The kitchen also offers glances at the backyard and deck, while the second floor houses the bedrooms and a studio or office. The floors have recently been restored, and a deck was added in the 1990s. It was part of Wright’s original design, but wasn’t completed in the build, Ms. Haseman said. The completed deck share similarities with Fallingwater, she added, especially as water drains from the deck.
The current owner bought the house in 2010 for $975,000, according to public records.
For those in the Chicago area on May 20, the home will be included in Wright Plus 150, a walking tour of the architect’s designs organized for his birthday by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.
In Elmhurst, the F.B. Henderson House returned to the market Monday at $1.1 million. The current owners have made some upgrades to the house in the more than 25 years they’ve been there, but were careful to maintain the Wright aesthetic, according to listing agent Marilyn Fisher of L.W. Reedy Real Estate.
The six-bedroom, four-bathroom home built in 1901 is also in the Prairie style, with all the wood and windows one would expect. A large foyer opens up into the main living area, which includes a library with bookshelves along the lower part of the wall and a counter going all around the room. There’s also a fireplace and french doors leading out to the terrace.
The house is 5,500 square feet, and still has much of the original stained glass, Wright-style lighting fixtures and built-in cabinetry. Upgrades include a master bathroom on the second floor, stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, as well as a finished basement with a wine cellar, laundry room and additional bedroom and bathroom.
The home was last up for sale in 2015, for $995,000, and has been on the market off and on since 2012, according to public records. The home was purchased in 1994 for $630,000.
A third house by Wright was listed in April at a far lower price point. This five-bedroom, two-bathroom house in the West Pullman area of Chicago is listed for $239,900, and may need some work to restore it to its former glory.
But there are still built-in cabinets and other details, according to the listing. Plus, the home has a distinct style to it, with a steeply pitched roof, and takes some cues from Japanese architecture.
It was built around the turn of the century as a summer home for a local lawyer, Stephen Foster, and was made a Chicago landmark in 1996. The home’s stable has been converted into a two-car garage. Public records show it was last sold in 2005 for $240,000.
Listing agent Jeffrey Knight was not immediately available for comment.