Frank Lloyd Wright designed more than 1,000 structures in a career that spanned from 1890 until his death in 1959. He created some of the world's most famous buildings including the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. In 1991, he was named "the greatest American architect of all time" by the American Institute of Architects.
If we think of Mr. Wright as just being a remarkable architect of his time, we’re missing out on understanding how strongly he influenced the modern homes we live in now. Today, when we talk about wanting an “open plan” in searching for a house, we learn that it was Mr. Wright who conceived and designed it first. Or today, when we get wistful over the thought of someday having radiant floor heat, did you realize he was using it in 1937 in his Usonian construction? As you sit sipping your morning coffee enjoying the view of the garden through floor-to-ceiling glass, did you know that he was the first to design a house bringing the outside inside?
Frank Lloyd Wright had interesting character traits aside from being a visionary designer. He was resourceful and was a risk taker. When he built his own house and studio in a Chicago neighborhood, he found it necessary to borrow money from his employer, architect Louis Sullivan. In order to pay it back promptly he had to come up with additional income. Of course selling his architectural services would make the most money, but there was the issue of that pesky little clause in his contract with Adler and Sullivan that said independent work outside the company was forbidden. But Wright decided to take the chance. He managed to build eight of these “bootleg houses” before being caught and fired.
The Winslow House was the first house he designed after his firing. He designed it in 1893 at the age of 26. It was Wright’s first complete break from the traditional houses of the time and it was said that the owner, William Winslow, would take a different train to work instead of his usual one so that he could avoid the comments from his neighbors about the house’s radical design.
According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the 5,036-square-foot home also includes a library, enclosed sun porch, four generously-sized bedrooms, a second-floor family room with fireplace, and 3.5 baths. In addition, there is a 550-square-foot bonus room with fireplace on the third floor (formerly maid’s quarters) which could easily be converted into a children’s play area or media room. Its unique features and craftsmanship represents Wright’s first attempt at the Prairie Style. All original elements of the house have been meticulously maintained except for the kitchen which has been replaced to meet today’s expectations.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Winslow House in River Forest near Chicago is now for sale for the first time in 55 years. Priced at $2.4 million.