Getting Wright Right

Brown like the nearby tree trunks and terminating in a raised porch that blends indoors and out, the George Millard house in Highland Park exemplifies how well a residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright can coexist with its surroundings. Now the family that has spent 19 years restoring the home is ready to move on.

The George Millard house, located in Highland Park

Brown like the nearby tree trunks and terminating in a raised porch that blends indoors and out, the George Millard house in Highland Park exemplifies how well a residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright can coexist with its surroundings. Now the family that has spent 19 years restoring the home is ready to move on. Juan and Claire Montenegro listed the place for sale in May, asking $1.399 million.

With 68 art glass windows, a heart-of-the-house fireplace, and a rustic board-and-batten exterior, the house has a real Wright character—but it isn’t grand. “I don’t think he thought of this as a fancy house,” says Claire Montenegro. “It was a casual place, for a family.” The house was built in 1906 for George Millard, a Chicago rare books dealer, and his wife, Alice. They lived in it for six years before moving to Los Angeles.

The Montenegros paid $485,000 for the house in 1992. It was in bad condition: I wrote about it a few months before they bought it and found walls covered with fabric to hold back crumbling plaster. One wing of the house even appeared to be separating from another. The Montenegros have done extensive work, right up to last year, when they restored the original porch, which previous owners had enclosed.

“What you tend to become is not an owner but a steward,” says Jan Kerr, the Montenegros’ agent. Potential buyers should contact Kerr, who has represented seven Wright homes for sale, at 708-829-7752 or jankerr@gloor.com. Click through the photos to learn more about the house.

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