Rockford’s Only Frank Lloyd Wright House Up for Auction

In 1948, Kenneth Laurent, a young man from Rockford who had lost the use of both his legs during his World War II service, wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright to ask if the architect would design a home for him and his bride, Phyllis. The couple had $15,000 to spend from federal and state grants for paralyzed veterans. By 1952, when their new home was completed, they had spent about $31,000 to build the two-bedroom house…

A Frank Lloyd Wright home in Rockford
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In 1948, Kenneth Laurent, a young man from Rockford who had lost the use of both his legs during his World War II service, wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright to ask if the architect would design a home for him and his bride, Phyllis. The couple had $15,000 to spend from federal and state grants for paralyzed veterans. By 1952, when their new home was completed, they had spent about $31,000 to build the two-bedroom house.

Almost 60 years later, the Laurents still live in the only home Wright designed in Rockford. Expanded by one bedroom and well maintained, the house is a gem. But the Laurents are ready to move into a care facility. At 92, Kenneth Laurent jokes that the move is a precaution “in case I get old.”

The Laurents put the house on the market early this year, asking $875,000; they later dropped the price to $849,000. Now Wright, a Chicago-based auction house, will put the house up for bidding on December 15. Michael Jefferson, a specialist in 20th-century design at Wright, says there is no minimum bid. “Our estimate of what it will get starts at $500,000,” he adds.

Click through my slideshow to see more of the house.

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2 years ago
Posted by Dennis Rodkin

Kenneth Laurent told some tales of the home's history and its charms in this segment of WBEZ's '848' show: http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/segment/audio/2011-December/2011-12-07/wright-home-rockford.mp3

2 years ago
Posted by grandjem

There is another Frank Lloyd Wright designed home in Oregon, Illinois,hidden amongst the trees. It has been very lovingly cared for, and I and granddaughter were given the pleasure of a private showing through the home. The elderly couple had put it on the market, as they needed to move into an area for seniors, closer to shopping, Doctors, etc. The lady had one of the surviving harps in the world, and she played it beautifully.

2 years ago
Posted by SteveB

If you visit Rockford to see the Laurent home, you might also want to visit the only chapel FLW ever designed, in a cemetery in Belvedere, IL, about 10 miles east of Rockford. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pettit_Memorial_Chapel It's small but elegant, worth a stop if you're in the neighborhood.

2 years ago
Posted by Dennis Rodkin

The auction had only one bidder, a preservation group that was founded for the purpose of buying the house and operating it as a museum. The group, The Laurent House Foundation, had raised $578,500, and bid that amount. Ownership will now transfer from Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent to the foundation.

For more details: http://www.rrstar.com/go/news/x1761814465/It-s-bid-day-for-Frank-Lloyd-Wright-home-in-Rockford

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