List Price: $550,000
Sale Price: $500,000
The Property: Of the five rental homes in Glencoe that Frank Lloyd Wright built for his attorney, Sherman Booth, the Charles R. Perry House is the only one with a pagoda flourish on the façade, a design element inspired by the architect’s time in Japan. The eight-room residence was sold on February 22 for the first time since the 1960s; its $500,000 sale price was 71 percent of its original $699,000 listing in mid-2011.
The seller, Joan Higa, and her late husband, James, were the third—and longest—owners of the home since it was built in 1915. You can see from the listing photos that Wright’s characteristic wood trim is intact and complements, as intended, the sylvan surroundings. Also note the brick fireplace mantel with a wood-trimmed “cap” floating above it that divides the living and dining rooms.
Not shown in the listing are the kitchen and the one full and one partial bath. They all need updating, says Jamie Roth, the @Properties agent who handled the sale. (Disclosure: Roth is a friend of mine.) He believes the kitchen was last renovated in the 1940s. He adds that the small second-floor room that was once a maid’s bedroom and later an office could be made into a second upstairs bathroom. The house has an old furnace and no air conditioning.
The Perry house was built as part of the Ravine Bluffs development that included six houses, a train platform, and one of only two freestanding built bridges designed by Wright. (The original bridge was demolished; this replication dates from 1985.) An attempt to rebuild the demolished train station, announced in 2005, hasn’t moved forward yet. Around the corner from today’s house, the architect John Eifler is nearing completion of his renovation of another of the rental homes.
I could not reach the buyer (identified in public records as Margreatha Hein) of the Perry house for comment.
Price Points: According to Roth, experts on Wright’s homes told him that, when in good condition, they command a premium of 20 to 40 percent over similarly sized vintage homes without the Wright pedigree. Given this one’s location in a wooded area near a bike path, a beach, good schools, Glencoe’s downtown, and other Wright artifacts, he considers it “a 40 percent location.” Roth won’t estimate the cost to bring the house up to date. “It depends on the choices the buyer makes,” he says.