Why not rent a home designed by one of America’s most famous architects for your next getaway? Frank Lloyd Wright designed more than 1,000 structures during his lifetime — 532 of which were realized to completion. Today many of his residences have been turned into house museums or rental properties, either used for special events or weekend escapes. This presents a perfect opportunity for people looking to experience what it’s like to live in a Wright residence without actually buying one. The good news is you don’t have to travel too far to check out the five homes available for rent. But don’t forget architectural significance will cost you.
Located near the Wisconsin Dells is one of Wright’s last and smallest commissions, the Seth Peterson Cottage (1958), a design of native sandstone and Philippine mahogany. The tiny retreat — just 880 square feet of living space — has walls of windows that take in the views of Mirror Lake and the surrounding state park. Besides relaxing among the beautiful scenery, there is still plenty to do here whether it’s picnicking, boating (weather permitting), swimming, fishing, or cross-country skiing. The extremely popular property has a two-night minimum, and reservations are taken up to two years in advance.
Known as Woodside, this five-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Marion, Indiana, was originally built for Dr. Richard Davis, who assisted on Frank Lloyd Wright’s gallbladder surgery at the Mayo Clinic in 1950. The Usonian style design’s most striking feature is the central octagonal section located under a teepee-like cedar roof. It has been owned by Matthew Harris for the last 20 years, who has been restoring the two-acre property based on Wright’s design principles.
On the way to Door County, a popular getaway for Chicagoans, you can stop at Still Bend in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. In 1938, Life magazine published Wright’s idea for a “modern house for a family of $5,000-6,000 income.” The following year it was adapted and built by Bernard Schwartz on the East Twin River with its angled T plan taking advantage of the water views. The current owners, brothers Gary and Michael Ditmer, lovingly restored the rare two-story, Usonian-style home. Its distinct features include the wraparound built-in seating and geometrically patterned windows. The home is available for both public tours and overnight rentals (two-night minimum stays).
On a quiet, dead-end street not far from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is a red cypress wood and brick house originally commissioned by William and Mary Palmer in 1950, which was kept in the family until a little more than a decade ago. The second owners have made it available for rent as a guest house and meeting location. Sheltered by a long, broad-hipped roof with deep overhangs, the play of angles (there are no 90-degree corners) is what makes this Wright residence one of his most visually stunning designs. Located down the hill on the two-acre wooded property is a tea house that is included in the rental (but not during the winter months).
Milwaukee is a great city for a quick getaway. If you’re looking for something different, why not consider one of Wright’s restored American System-Built Homes? It’s part of a series of duplex structures on the same block in the Burnham Park area. In 1916, Wright created these “prefabricated” designs for Arthur L. Richards of the American Realty Service Company. The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom residence is close to Mitchell Park Conservatory and the Milwaukee Domes, Miller Park/American Family Field, and Forest Home Cemetery, the final resting place of the city’s famous beer barons.