Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wright fest in Oak Park

Today was the Wright Plus house tour of a particularly prairie-style neighborhood in Oak Park. I found out about the tour when I was checking out the Wright Preservation Trust website for tours of Wright's house and studio there. My parents came along, because my dad loves Frank Lloyd Wright even more than Dave and I do.

The idea behind the tour is to open up some privately owned Frank Lloyd Wright (or non-Wright-designed prairie-style homes) to public tours. All of the homes were on two streets in a four-block area of Oak Park, and let me tell you, it was one amazing block.

This is the Peter A. Beachy House, which actually ended up being the first house we saw from the road, but the last house we'd tour during the day.

Wright had just come back from Japan and designed this for a very, very rich lady. I think I remember the tour guides saying that it cost under $7,000 when it was made in 1906.

The thing about this block is that there are other Wright homes on the block that you don't get to go into, like this one.

Among the non-Wright-designed homes we visited were the Andrew J. Redmond House, the W. H. Yorke House, and the Americus B. Melville House II (my favorite of the non-Wrights). Some of the interiors were so amazing, I wish I had been able to take photos.

My favorite house of the day was the Arthur B. Heurtley House, designed by Wright in 1902. It really emphasizes horizontal lines, and the interior was so open, yet intimate.

This was where the lines came in. For the three non-Wright-designed houses we visited, we hardly waited in line at all. For this one, and the first one I saw (photo at the beginning of this

My parents saw the non-Wrights and the Heurtley House with us, but Dave and I were on our own for the Beachy House. But we met some fun people in line!

Our tour also included the Unity Temple and Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, and the Robie House and Rookery lobby in Chicago, but that is good for anytime this year. So we decided to call it a day, because Dave was coming down with something and it was starting to rain anyway.

It was an amazing morning - it blows my mind that people actually live in each of these homes. These are pieces of history - particularly beautiful pieces of history - and the lovingly done renovations are awe-inspiring.

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