While in Chicago, we visited the Frank Lloyd House & Studio, which is located on Chicago Avenue in Oak Park. FLW built the home in 1889, using a loan of $5000 from his employer Louis Sullivan, to purchase the property and start construction. The home received an extensive remodel and addition in 1895, and the Studio was added to the property in 1898. Both the Home & Studio were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
The FLW Preservation Trust currently owns the home and studio. They have restored the property to it’s condition in 1909, when the Wright’s lived there, raising six children.
The home has made use of a lot of stained glass, skylights and indirect natural lighting. Pictures were hard to come by, while on a tour. Our group was 15 strong, which is a full tour group. Many of the rooms, and hallways are quite small, but then open into larger rooms with tall ceilings. It was a challenge to take photos without including members of the tour.
As much as I enjoyed the home, I think I liked the studio even more. It is a wonderful workplace. Two sections of the studio are octagon shaped rooms, connected by the front entry room. FLW’s private office was octagonal, as was the two story room, where the designers and craftsmen worked on projects. If you go, look for the structural chains in the main design room.
The Studio must have been a major presence on Chicago Avenue at the time it was built. No doubt, it offered some wonderful, free advertising. If someone wanted to build a unique and “out-of-the-box” home, a trip down Chicago Avenue would tell you that FLW was worth contacting.
The guided tour lasts about an hour, and is well worth the time, if you are wandering around Oak Park, and looking for something to do.