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House of the Week: A Frank Lloyd Wright, Carefully Preserved

Erika Riggs
September 5, 2013

345 7th Ave, La Grange, IL
For sale: $699,000

Thirteen miles from the Chicago loop, La Grange is a quiet bedroom community of about 15,500 residents. Real estate agent Katie Barreto of ERA Jensen & Feinstein Realtors LLC describes La Grange as a “fabulous town … really great place to raise a family.”

“It’s just has a really great sense of community,” she said.

La Grange also has a great sense of real estate. The small town perched on the commuter train route to Chicago is home to four Frank Lloyd Wright homes, including a “bootleg” one that he designed outside of a contract.

The Stephen M B Hunt House, in particular, is a spectacular example of classic Wright design. It’s currently on the market for just under $700,000.

The home is also only on its third owner — a unusual fact, considering the residence was constructed by Wright in 1907. And it’s this limited ownership that made the home so lovingly preserved.

“The owners have had the home since the ’60s, and they have loved it and maintained it significantly,” Barreto said.

When the owners bought the home, the previous owners had taken it upon themselves to paint the woodwork throughout the home.

“The owners’ children talked about how their father would come home every night and work on it [the woodwork], trying to get it back to the original,” Barreto said. “It took three years to get it back to the original state.”

Sitting on a double lot, the home has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and is constructed in a classic prairie style, with dark woods, horizontal lines and overhanging flat eaves.

In particular, Wright emphasized the home’s open floor plan by building a narrow entry way, maximizing the effect of walking into the living room, Barreto said.

A screened-in porch and the identical nature of the exterior — the front and back of the home look the same — are additional Wright touches.

The house is an architectural treasure, but it’s also just a great home, Barreto said.

“It’s very comfortable,” she said. “People come in, sit and stay, and they don’t want to leave.”

Photos courtesy of John Shipka, 3Di Focus.


Erika Riggsa real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here