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Discussion Q: Of all the remaining Frank Lloyd Wright homes throughout the U.S., which do you consider the most liveable - and why?
- Posts: 1597
- Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:30 pm
- Location: Fremont CA
Goetsch-Winkler would be the one for me if you could do something about the weather. It's the right size, it's beautiful inside and out (more the latter), and it's in a beautiful setting. Apparently it's been well-restored in recent years and so doesn't have a lot of maintenance liabilities.
Otherwise La Miniatura if I had the money and if the current restoration ever gets done.
The Glore house which was on tour two summers ago. It's on a beautiful lot surrounded by ravines and is very secluded. It has updated mechanicals and appears to have been meticulously maintained. It has decent room sizes as well.
I always wondered about Glore. House is huge and the great room appears uncomfortable to do things such as watch TV. What are bedrooms and workspace like in Glore?
G-W is a livable house but not as refined as Mr. Wright's later 1950's Usonians.
- Posts: 29
- Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:39 pm
- Location: Chicago, IL
I have been inside many houses in Oak Park and River Forest. My vote is for the Rollin Furbeck house and maybe Hills-DeCaro.
- Posts: 42
- Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:23 pm
- Location: Lebanon, OH
Last year, Dr. Christian took us through the Christian house in West Lafayette, In. Truly a gem. Spacious "feeling" living room, entrance full of mystery, I could easily live there. Kentuk Knob also gets my vote.
- Posts: 1551
- Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:44 pm
- Location: Austin,Texas
I'd feel lucky to live in any of them, but would choose Mossberg...Lewis...Tracy... Zimmerman, of course,... and...
I gotta go with the Goetsch-Winkler and Kentuck Knob. Both have excellent floor plans and meld with their environment perfectly.
I was in the Goetsch Winkler recently and it lived up to the hype that I had conceived of in my mind. The present owner has done a fabulous job with the house after some very questionable stewardship by previous owners. It is a small house that feels big.
Kentuck Knob also has immaculate workmanship and, in short, embodies everything that is great about Wright's architecture. Bravo.
Also overlooked is the Schaberg House, a very nice floor plan.
Looks like most responding to this question are selecting their favorites rather than the most liveable. My favorites include Walker, Sturges, Pew, Goetsch/Winkler, Staley, Willey (minus the adjacent freeway) and a resurrected Pauson since they would fit my own needs best. But the most liveable houses would include Hoffman, Reisley, Palmer, Mossberg, Bogk and, considering how most American families live, any of the Erdman prefabs. Some of the high end designs, like Sol Freeman with its pie-shaped beds, require owners who are willing to forego certain creature comforts in order to live with a work of art, but as Malcolm Muggerage once said, "Americans confuse civilization with comfort."
Livable for whom?
I would say that the homes of the Prairie period are generally larger
as well as having larger bedrooms and basements, which make them
more suitable or adaptable to families with children. The Usonians with
their usually tiny, often quirkily shaped secondary bedrooms, and no
basements are in my estimation less suitable for families. No 'family'
room to shuffle the kids off to. Of course there are numerous exceptions to these general observations depending on the requirements of the
Speaking for my needs, childless couple, and confining my choices
amongst the houses I've actually been in (upwards of 50) my Dream
Team would include the following.
Penfield: Excellent relationship to the surrounding grove of trees,
nice intimate scale. Only the traffic noise of the nearby
Berger: Again a nicely scaled compact plan.
Sturges: Again nicely scaled for two people.
Pope-Leighey: One of the earliest Usonians and would fit me like a
glove. Too bad it's forever off the market.
All of these are small, therefore less time and money to maintain.
"Don't build more than you can use." If FLW didn't say it he probably
thought it. In the era of Mc Mansions it more appropriate than ever.
I agree with Ed's assessment of Wright's prairie homes. The layouts tend to be family-friendly, but upgrading the systems is challenging since the walls do not easily accommodate new wiring, ductwork, etc. Also, the cleaning and maintenance of the woods, art glass and site-specific architectural elements is a chore/labor of love - depending on how much time you have and how you care to look at it. So, the "don't buy more home than you need" theory holds especially true with these homes.
Jacobs I, hands down for me. Even with the small-ish kitchen. I've been in it during a December evening in Wisconsin with snow outside, and it felt warm and relaxing, even with the expanse of French doors. And having just spent some time over the holidays in a small house with 2 parents and 2 kids, it's not as crowded as you'd think. Plus, the parents always have contact with what the kids are doing (now, when they become teenagers...).
The Greenburg house in WI seemed pretty nice. Small bedrooms of course, but a really nice kitchen and a wonderful living room that I think could suit a family of 4 nicely, even as the kids are growing up. The living room feels much larger of course, because it is banked with windows that look onto private property.
The Prairie Style houses, by contrast for me, are overwhelming. Not just in size, but in details. The Huertley House, for example, was too perfect, almost too precious (although beautiful). I found myself wondering whether a family just go about their daily lives, even 100 years ago (even though a family was living there when I got inside). Hills-DeCaro seemed pretty nice in that way, so maybe I just need to get into more Prairie era homes.
- Posts: 17
- Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:02 pm
I have been in the Meyer May House several times and could easily see myself living there. It is beautiful and perfect for a small family. I am a neat freak and so the preciousness of it would not bother me at all. Infact it fits my personallity just right.
- Posts: 33
- Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 6:30 am
- Location: Virginia
Do Midway Barns count? I've got so many activities and projects going on that I can't imagine living in anything short of a barn. That kind of makes you wonder what my house looks like now, eh?
Midway may be pushing it, but A D German may be available someday soon.
BTW, Peter, great additions to your site. A former member of the Conservancy board lives on the same street as Marden (and Ted Kennedy) and says the house is beautiful inside.