Oak Park house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

LIST PRICE: $989,000
SALE PRICE: $975,000

Kort Gustafson was a bachelor in 1996 when he paid $370,000 for this Oak Park house that is considered an important step in the development of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural style. Since then, Gustafson has married, and he and his wife, Marie Spicuzza, have three sons, but the family’s commitment to the integrity of Wright’s original design meant they refrained from expanding the house.

Known as the Mrs. Thomas Gale House—after its first owner, the widow of a developer who commissioned several residences by Wright—the home was completed in 1909. Its emphatically rectangular forms are the forerunners of similar shapes seen in later Wright houses, including his now-iconic Fallingwater, which was completed in Pennsylvania in 1939.

Gustafson and Spicuzza, the fourth family to own the house, did modernize it, installing air conditioning and updating the plumbing and the small kitchen. Although they didn’t make the house any bigger, they did expand the lot, buying a small rear parcel of land from a neighbor several years ago. Last year, realizing they needed more room, the family opted to move on rather than add on. Lloyd Behrenbruch and Patricia McGowan of Baird & Warner handled the sale; the buyer’s name has yet to appear in public records.


Photograph: Todd Urban