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For sale: Frank J. Baker House - Wilmette, IL

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:08 am
by DavidC

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:08 am
by Roderick Grant
Unfortunately, I have reached my limit, and must subscribe to a newspaper I have no interest in, so I cannot access the article.

This sale should be watched carefully. The neighborhood is good, but one can never underestimate the "tear down/McMansion" fever.

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:04 pm
by Roderick Grant
Thanks to Eric O'Malley, I have now seen the article, and it confirms my concern about the future of the house. From the looks of it, restoration might cost quite a lot, and $900K seems to be a bit spendy for such a venture. Since this is one of the masterpieces, every opportunity to see that it falls into sensitive hands should be taken advantage of. It will be bad enough to lose the Booth Cottage, but to lose Baker would be tragic.

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:15 pm
by SDR
Right (west) end of house:

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Photo Clarence Feurmann

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plans © 1993 W A Storrer

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:43 pm
by SDR
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© 1987 A.D.A EDITA Tokyo Co., Ltd. and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:39 pm
by Duncan
No need to subscribe...realtor's listing has 40 illustrations.

https://www.estately.com/listings/info/ ... -2#gallery

While the protections they offer are porous, it is a National Register Landmark and a "Wilmette HIstoric Home" according to the listing.

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:52 pm
by Roderick Grant
While the Carriage House is modest of design, since the even more modest Copeland Garage got published, why not Baker?

Mr. Eifler, off-hand, as a wild guess, what would you estimate a restoration of this house would cost, structural corrections notwithstanding?

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:42 pm
by SDR
Wright's longitudinal section drawing shows ceiling trim in the dining room---just one element among many that are either missing now, or which have been altered.

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Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:33 am
by loo tee
Given the climate in the Chicago area, it looks to me like this house is vastly underserved by radiators and by the measly A/C inserted in the wall of the living room. Also poorly oriented, if the front faces north.

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:28 am
by Matt2
Google maps shows it's on a mid-block lot. I wonder if the lot was originally larger and parts sold off. The tres around it are huge and any one of them would crush the home.

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:10 am
by outside in
its nice to see the house emptied out - Walter Sobel's wife ran an antique store in Wilmette and managed to fill the house with items from the store - it was hard to make out the original building sometimes.

Walter loved the house, but like most homeowners who have been in a place for too long, let it deteriorate slowly. The sons did their best to keep it together, but it needs some pretty basic structural and mechanical improvements. The front window bay is listing to the east due to lack of diagonal reinforcing in the windows combined with a foundation issue below. The LR ceiling/roof has no horizontal ties and the clerestories are all bowing out at the top edge. Not very difficult to fix, but will probably scare the potential buyer. All in all, the repairs are typical for any 100+ year old house, but it will take a buyer with courage, patience and a big bank account, of which there are almost none. I am deeply concerned about the future of this house.

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:46 am
by Reidy
Alice Millard was a dealer in antiques and rare books and used La Miniatura as a showroom; she built some pieces, such as the wrought iron around the fireplace, into the house and grounds. The Lloyd Wright addition was intended from the start as a showroom. She picked the problem lot because it was the only way she could afford to be close to her high-roller clientele.

Wright said in his autobiography that the antiques looked good in the house, but he may have been the last.

Fireplace


Figures 252 and 253 in Hitchcock's In the Nature of Materials and figure 41 in Sweeney's Wright in Hollywood show more.

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:53 am
by SDR
I like that color photo; here's the one in Sweeney.

Did Mr Wright have any editorial control over Hitchcock's text and captions ? "The antique furniture which Mrs Millard had on sale is unfortunately not very appropriate to the setting the interiors provide."


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Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:49 pm
by loo tee
Prof. Hitchcock was not the kind of man who would cede editorial control to anyone. He worked with Wright amiably, not realizing that Wright, behind his back, made fun of him and Philip Johnson for being gay. In the Nature of Materials is still the best study of Wright, because Hitchcock had an eye for art, and most architectural historians don't.

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:37 am
by DavidC