Prairie School architecture is commonly associated with Chicago and the Upper Midwest between the 1890s and 1920s, when it fell out of favor with the general public. Today it is considered an indigenous American architectural style as Prairie style designs have no classical European references and instead reflect the horizonality of the surrounding natural prairie landscape. Inspired by the Arts & Crafts movements, architects were attempting to create something modern and entirely new with simple, functional buildings. All of the following homes were designed by contemporaries of Frank Lloyd Wright, either working as one of his draftsmen or sharing ideas with him. For instance, Lawrence Buck and Myron Hunt were both members of a group of young progressive architects in Chicago known as “The Eighteen,” who all had offices together in Steinway Hall (Wright was also a member of this group). It’s not a surprise that Wright’s hometown of Oak Park, where two of the homes for sale are located, has the highest concentration of Prairie style residences in the world.
Multiple offers have already been received on this beautiful five-bedroom, two-bathroom home that just hit the market last month. Known as the Charles H. Reeves House, the English Arts & Crafts style design by architects Lawrence Buck and Vernon Watson was featured in various magazines like House Beautiful and Ladies Home Journal after it was built in 1905. Due to its appearance in these publications — as well as the fact that Buck later sold his plan of the Reeves design to numerous clients and builders — there are copies of the home located across the country. The interior has been remodeled since it last sold three years ago, but original details survive like the central inglenook with fireplace and gorgeous woodwork and windows.
Before he moved to Pasadena, architect Myron Hunt designed this magnificent Arts & Crafts-influenced house in Evanston for his neighbor, department store heir John T. Pirie, Jr. Originally built in 1898, the design received a lot of attention when it was exhibited at the Chicago Architectural Club. The exterior stands out with its cedar shingles, diamond-paned windows, and triangular dormers and gables. Inside is a feast for the eyes with authentic craftsman details throughout this award-winning five-bedroom, three-bathroom home. I’m absolutely in love with that tiled fireplace in the living room, butler’s pantry off the new kitchen, and built-in bench in the dining room.
Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood is known for its variety of beautiful historic architecture, where designers did not limit themselves to the aesthetic of the Prairie School but took inspiration from Arts & Crafts. Located on a corner lot, this 1905 American Foursquare has touches of both styles, which you can see inside with its magnificent woodwork and the flat spindle balusters of the foyer staircase. While the five-bedroom, two-bathroom home has some great bones, there have been updates, including a completely redone bathroom as well as brand new roof, electrical, and radiant flooring. Plus the fenced backyard has a lovely pergola with a new brick patio.
Returning to Oak Park to share a three-bedroom, three-bathroom residence that recently returned to the market after a pending sale fell through last month. Designed in 1906 by former Frank Lloyd Wright draftsman Charles E. White, this local landmark exhibits all the architectural elements associated with Prairie style, including stucco surfaces, horizontal massing, geometric patterns, and window banding. The architect wrote an article about this particular home in a September 1910 issue of House Beautiful, calling it “a plaster house without an attic.” Interesting to find out original owner Charles W. Helder worked for the Winslow Brothers, who created the ornamental ironwork on what is now known to TikTok users as the “goth Target.”
As reported in The Economist Ezra Stafford, president of the E.H. Stafford Furniture Manufacturing Company, purchased a vacant piece of land in Glencoe for $22,000 from former Chicago mayor Hempstead Washburne in 1906. Five years later, Prairie School architects Tallmadge & Watson designed a handsome brick mansion for Stafford, which today is worth $3.6 million. The interior is full of Prairie style elements like millwork and art glass, but it has been tastefully updated. Although the original property was later subdivided, there are still plenty of views of Lake Michigan from the six-bedroom, eight-bathroom residence. It also comes with an in-ground pool and fire pit.