Stay in a Frank Lloyd Wright House

We show you how to spend the night in a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

The Seth Peterson Cottage in Wisconsin, one of Wright’s last commissions, features a wall of windows overlooking a lake.

Frank Lloyd Wright fans, rejoice! If you’ve always dreamed of spending the night in one of the master architect’s creations, you’ve got several possibilities to choose from. One, a Frank Lloyd Wright farmhouse, is a bed and breakfast, but the other five rent as a vacation houses.

Most of the homes are in the Midwest (not surprisingly, considering the proximity of Wright’s Oak Park studio and Taliesin encampment), and all are located in wooded settings, allowing you to soak up the beauty of nature alongside the incomparable architecture.

Muirhead Farmhouse (1951)
Hampshire, Illinois

After completing the restoration of their Wright-designed family farmhouse in 2005, Mike and Sarah Peterson opened up the master suite for bed-and-breakfast lodging. Guests can page through letters written between Wright and the Muirheads, and look through the Petersdorfs’ restoration journal. 

Seth Peterson Cottage (1958)
Lake Delton, Wisconsin

Boasting a wall of windows overlooking a lake, this one-bedroom cottage was one of Wright’s last commissions. In 1989, a band of local citizens came together and formed a conservancy to undertake a $300,000 restoration project. In addition to offering nightly stays at the cottage, the conservancy also holds an open house the second Sunday of each month. 

Louis Penfield House (1955)
Willoughby, Ohio

The design of the three-bedroom Usonian Penfield House is a direct nod to the stature of its owner—its upward-reaching windows, an anomaly compared to Wright’s squat Prairie designs, were built to accommodate the 6’8” Louis Penfield. Penfield’s son, Paul, and his wife, Donna, rehabbed the home in the early 2000s and began renting it out to architecture buffs soon thereafter. Determined to preserve the atmosphere of a house, rather than a museum, the Penfields don’t give tours of the house—if you want to see it, you’ve got to live in it. 

Duncan House (1957)
Acme, Pennsylvania

The centerpiece of this wooded Pennsylvania compound envisioned by Wright protégé Peter Berndtson is the Duncan House, which was dismantled and moved from its original Illinois location, then rebuilt on the site. The Duncan House shares the 100-acre Polymath Park with three other Usonian-style homes for rent (one of which, the Balter House, was designed by Berndtson). In addition to lodging, the resort also hosts public and private tours of the homes, as well as on-site dining and special events. 

Bernard Schwartz House (1939)
Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Originally designed as “Dream House” for Life magazine, this four-bedroom Usonian, dubbed “Still Bend” by Wright, sits on the banks of the East Twin River. Brothers Gary and Michael Ditmer are the third owners of the home, and have taken great care to preserve its signature features, including wraparound built-in seating, geometrically patterned clerestory windows, a soaring interior balcony, and a distinctive trellis over the terrace. Public tours are given the first Sunday of every month.

Frank Lloyd Wright Reading Recommendations

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FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: THE ROOMS Interiors and Decorative Arts by Margo Stipe (Rizzoli 2014) Intimate immersion inside the Prairie houses, Fallingwater, Hollyhock House & more.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT PRAIRIE HOUSES by Alan Weintraub (Rizzoli 2006) Interiors and details of over 70 extant buildings of the Prairie School years. How Wright broke from Beaux Arts symmetry to create “a tartan plaid of main spaces and secondary spaces, of public rooms and circulation spaces”—with brilliant results.

THE PRAIRIE SCHOOL: Frank Lloyd Wright and his Midwest Contemporaries by H. Allen Brooks (Norton 2006) From its beginning to its end, Prairie School beyond Wright. Discusses the architects’ various contributions.

HOMETOWN ARCHITECT: The Complete Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois by Patrick F. Cannon (Pomegranate 2006) Houses 1887–1913; this book is the pilgrimage documenting 27 Wright houses in Oak Park and River Forest. Photos include interiors.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: THE HOUSES by Alan Weintraub (Rizzoli 2005) From the 1908 Prairie School Robie house in Chicago through his textile-block houses in Los Angeles, and on to Fallingwater and Taliesin West, here are FLW’s residential commissions all in one huge volume.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S INTERIORS by Thomas A. Heinz (Gramercy Books 2002) Shown are 1,000 interiors, including houses and public and corporate buildings, from throughout Wright’s career. Horizontal lines, natural elements, concrete, and brilliant use of three dimensions.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S GLASS DESIGNS by Carla Lind (Pomegranate 1995) Innovative design for windows, skylights, and decoration.

Tags: | Online Exclusive Clare M. Alexander Frank Lloyd Wright Houses OHJ August/September 2010 Old-House Journal Travel

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