List Price: $2.495 million
Sale Price: $2.175 million
The Property: Frank Lloyd Wright’s only project in Lake Forest, this 12-room house, built at the edge of a ravine in the early 1950s, demonstrates the architect’s ability to shape people’s perceptions of the spaces that surround them. Visitors to the house enter along a narrow, low-ceilinged hallway that suddenly bursts open into a soaring two-story living room whose glass walls provide views of the wooded surroundings.
“It’s fabulous, the way Wright did his compression-and-release thing in there,” says the seller, Richard Katz, who, with his wife, Beth, lived in the house from 1999 until this year. The couple also treasured the floating staircase and “the siting of the house,” he says. “Wright and his apprentices made sure that every room has some delightful view.” The Katzes added a three-car garage and expanded a hallway to create a family room, carefully mimicking the original banded mahogany trim. This past January, planning a move to Seattle, the Katzes listed the house for $2.495 million with Baird & Warner’s Mona Hellinga.
In late July, Frank Beidler, who grew up a few blocks away from this house, was in from Los Angeles to visit his parents; with him was his fiancée, Megan Hauswirth, an architect and a fan of Wright’s work. The couple was planning to move to Chicago in the fall, so on a whim they requested a showing of the Wright house. “We really just wanted to see what it was like inside,” Beidler says, “but about midway through, we started looking at each other and realizing, ‘Oh my gosh, this is quite a house. We could do this.’”
The Cherokee red concrete floors—which Wright used in several of his later house designs—caught their fancy, as did that floating staircase, the rows of square windows in the architect’s textile block style, and the angularity Wright used in what he called his “ultramodern” period. The house must also have impressed its first owner, the investment banker Charles Glore; in 1956, Glore became the patron (and likely developer) for the Golden Beacon, an apartment tower that Wright had designed for Chicago’s lakefront (the tower was never built).
On August 28th, Beidler and Hauswirth closed on their $2.175 million purchase of the four-bedroom house and its 1.9-acre site. “We feel like we’re the luckiest people alive,” Beidler says.
Price Points: There are six other Wright houses (one formerly a stable) for sale in the Chicago area, according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, which is based in Chicago. The most expensive is a $1.9-million house in Rockford. But the highest asking price for a Wright house on the market now is $3.88 million, for a four-building compound on ten mountainside acres in Utah.
Listing Agent: Mona Hellinga, Baird & Warner, (847) 814-1855