FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S 'RUNNING WATER HOME'
HISTORIC REAL ESTATE
|Frank Lloyd Wright's Running Water Home|
June 8th will mark the 150th birthday of Frank Lloyd Wright. Five of his most dramatic homes are featured this week at TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.
“Frank Lloyd Wright's 150th Birthday”
Out of over 500 structures built from Frank Lloyd Wright's designs, there are residential homes, museums, churches, commercial buildings, mausoleums and more stretching from the United States around the world. He not only concentrated on the plans, but paid special attention from the building site to the interiors, designing the furniture, lighting fixtures, stained-glass windows and decorative ceilings. Most of Wright’s work was inspired by his appreciation of the simplicity and functionality of Japanese design where large walls of Shoji doors could be pulled back to expose calm gardens that became an integral part of the whole living experience.
During his career, Wright created four design styles: Prairie, Textile, Organic and Usonian. Out of these designs have come many of the features we use and love today such as the open floor plan, radiant floor heat, which he began using in 1935, and glass walls and doors. TopTenRealEstateDeals.com has rounded up five of the most interesting Frank Lloyd Wright houses that are currently or recently on the market.
“Frank Lloyd Wright's Running Water Home”
One of Wright’s most interesting homes and a stunning location was built in 1955 in New Canaan, Connecticut in the hemicycle, or horseshoe shape. Tirranna, the native American word for running water, encompasses 7,000 square feet of living space on the Noroton River and a waterfall along with 15 heavily wooded acres.
In recent years, Tirranna was owned by memorabilia mogul and philanthropist Ted Stanley and his wife, Vada, who carefully restored the home’s original gardens and replaced any previously sold loose items designed by Wright with reproductions. The home’s most striking feature is the curvature of Tirranna and its glass walls which offer a panoramic view of the Noroton River and a dramatic waterfall.
Unusual for Wright in its amenities and more adapted to busier lifestyles, larger families and need for more guest space, there is a rooftop observatory with telescope, a caretaker’s suite, a guest studio, gold-leaf chimneys and the master suite has his-and-her baths. Overall, there are seven bedrooms and nine baths. Also included are a large barn, swimming pool patio, tennis courts and sculpture paths to the river’s edge.
With the death of his parents, Ted and Vada’s son, Jonathan, listed the property for sale with all the proceeds to be donated to charity. Originally priced at $8 million, Tirranna has been reduced to $7.2 million.
“Homes for Michigan Scientists”
Wright designed homes for the super rich such as his most famous work, Fallingwater, for the owner of Kaufmann’s department store in Pittsburgh, but he was also an advocate of functional home designs that the middle class could afford. In 1949, a group of twelve scientists from the Upjohn Company in Michigan sought out Wright to design a community of homes. With simplicity, form and function in mind, Wright’s Usonian designs met their criteria. They wanted houses that they could build themselves or with limited help and chose a 70-acre parcel of open and wooded land with a three-acre pond in Galesburg, Michigan. They originally named it Galesburg Country Homes Acres but later abbreviated it to The Acres. Each scientist wrote a letter to Wright requesting his help to design the project. The plat outline consisted of 22 homes on one circular acre each with 50 acres left natural for the enjoyment of the residents.
The Acres' Usonian designs were Wright’s first foray into organic ranch-style architecture. They were affordable but tailor-made to the individual client’s needs, practical, functional and blended in with their surroundings. They were organic in that they appeared to come “out of the ground and into the light,” as Wright was fond of saying. Access to nature, both physically from every room in the house and visually from inside the home interiors, played a major role in defining Usonian style. Homes were built with natural materials, walls of glass for winter passive solar collection, radiant-heated floors, flat roof lines with overhangs, carports and built-in furniture which, according to Wright, made additional furniture unnecessary.
Although the project had many supporters at Upjohn, it was a bit of a drive from Kalamazoo before Interstate 94 was built and the designs perhaps too unusual for Midwestern tastes. Only four Wright homes were ever built at The Acres: The David and Christine Weisblat Residence, the Eric and Pat Pratt Residence, the Samuel and Dorothy Eppstein Residence and the Curtis Meyer Residence. A fifth residence that was designed by Wright protegee Francis "Will" Willsey for Günther and Anne Fonken, now referred to as the Günther and Anne Fonken House, was built in 1959, the same year Wright died.
On the market last year was the Samuel and Dorothy Eppstein Residence. Samuel was a research scientist and Dorothy a researcher at the Upjohn labs. They had only been married six months when they commissioned their new home and construction was completed in 1953. The 2,250-square-foot Usonian includes three bedrooms, two baths, two fireplaces, and a large general purpose room. Though the kitchen has been rebuilt by a local craftsman in the Wright style, the home has all of Wright’s built-ins including two tables that were reconstructed to exact specifications. Ten-foot walls of glass are positioned to capture idyllic views of valley and meadows. There is also a swimming pool that was added in later years.
Asking $455,000, the Eppstein Residence was the lowest priced Wright home on the market in 2016 and a rare opportunity to own a Wright Usonian in a 70-acre, fully Wright-designed community kept completely intact since its inception. The home sold last July for $368,000, setting a record for the highest sale in The Acres.