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List Price: $1.695 million
The Property: Bob and Judith Binder built a new Frank Lloyd Wright–style house rather than building an old one because they saw an advantage: “That way you can get modern construction and conveniences along with all the wonderful style of the Prairie design,” Bob says in today’s video. He likes the Prairie School’s flow and “the relationship to nature that brings the outside in.”
Space is arranged so that “you see around the corners but you can’t see everything,” Binder says in today’s video. “It’s showing a little bit of thigh but not too much.” Rooms aren’t separated by doorways but by partitions, such as a wall of Roman brick that contains the fireplace. Thus, although the first floor alone has over 2,000 square feet of space, it has only two interior doors, for the bathroom and laundry room.
Another advantage to being built new in a Wright style is that the house has artful windows that are reminiscent of Wright but are energy-efficient. That includes the fitted corner windows, a type that shows up in some original Wright houses and brings the yard right into the room. There are four of these corner windows in the house, two on each floor.
The first floor has living, dining, family, and kitchen areas—not rooms—some of them more modern spaces, but referencing Wright. The kitchen has cherry cabinetry, exposed metal and granite, and other materials kept raw and natural a la Wright. There’s also something very modern: a very large laundry room and dog wash. It’s convenient, and it’s something you would never see in a Wright house.
But the big skylight hanging over the main stairs is something you might like to have. It brings daylight down over a handsome central staircase and a hallway big enough that it’s as much living space as it is hallway. Arranged around the stairs are five bedrooms, four of them with balconies. The two front bedrooms, mirror images of one another, have small walk-out balconies under eaves that frame a nice view out over the street. There are features of the master that Wright might have offered, like the row of windows that open onto a views of a lush backyard, and all the wood trim that surrounds the room and extends up into a cove ceiling to give it an intimacy and bring it down a little. But there are large spaces that he would not have offered, like a dressing room and a big master bath. Those are the sorts of things that people try to shoehorn in when retrofitting original Wright houses.
The master and another bedroom open onto the third and largest second-story outdoor space. Below is a far larger patio that arcs around the curve of the rear of the house. Out on the lawn, that same curve is picked up by a privacy hedge. There’s more yard beyond but the hedge creates an enclosure, as if the house is an isolated retreat. But the house is not alone in Glencoe: the town has a nice Wright legacy. The Ravine Bluffs subdivision that he designed and other structures are close by. Consider them this house’s distant cousins.
Price Points: The Binders would not disclose the total they invested in building the house, but their listing agent, Annika Valdiserri, said it was appraised at $2.1 million in 2005. They’re asking 19 percent less than that because “this is a different economic time,” Valdiserri says.