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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.