October 11, 2012Open House at the Frank Lloyd Wright Designed David & Gladys Wright House in Phoenix Arizona
By Sara In AZ
As some you may or may not have heard a Frank Lloyd Wright home here in Phoenix is slated for possible demolition. It is almost hard to comprehend the words ‘demolition’ and ‘ Frank Lloyd Wright House’ in the same sentence isn’t it? Kind of makes my stomach turn just thinking about it.
It’s pretty much the saddest thing I think I have ever heard of and kind of really encapsulates the view that I think a lot of people here in Phoenix have on older homes……… which for the most part is ‘who cares, let’s just tear them down’. ugh.
If we can’t even save a Frank Lloyd Wright house here in Phoenix, how in the world am I ever going to find a time capsule to buy??? Lord have mercy.
This FLW home is on a super large lot in a really coveted section of Phoenix called Arcadia – which is not really a suburb per se, more like a name for the neighborhood – a very large neighborhood. Arcadia was predominantly built up in the 50s and 60s with large ranch homes on even larger lots around Camelback Mountain. Most all of the homes were custom and I don’t even want to think about how amazing all of them probably were back when they were built. Since land values in the Arcadia area have really soared in recent years it has become very popular for developers to buy older homes there and redevelop the home in one of 2 ways – either leave one wall standing and call it a “remodel” while they remodel it into oblivion (my pink ovens came from an Arcadia one wall “remodel” ) or the more popular – just tear down the entire old home all together and build a brand new shiny McMansion. Great huh.
And this was supposed to be the case with this Frank Lloyd Wright house too. It was on such a huge lot in Arcadia the buyers ( a construction/developer firm) bought the home, citing they knew nothing of it’s historical significance, and their plans were to tear down the house and divide the lot into 2 sections to build 2 new homes on the property.
News of this possible demolition has spread like wild-fire and some hearings are coming up with the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission to see if they can prevent the tear-down and give the home landmark status. Apparently the final ruling is supposed to come down in November. I have my fingers crossed that everything works out and that this very special home came be saved forever and ever.
Our Real Estate Agent, who knows we love older homes, saw an article in the paper that there was going to be an open house here the last weekend of September for anyone who wanted to see it. I was super excited to go, as I could not wait to see the inside of this house!
We got to the home about an hour before the open house was to end and there were TONS of people there which was kind of surprised me. We went up to where the front door of the home was and it was roped off. Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!! So the “open house” was not really an open house, it was more just to see the home from outside. Though I was happy to see that the guest house was open for viewing – so I got tons of pictures of that for you all to see.
Some facts about the David and Gladys Wright home:
*It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1950, and built in 1951, for his son David Wright and his wife Gladys
*It is 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, with a separate guest house
*David and Gladys Wright were the only residents of the home, along with their son, and occupied it until David’s death in 1997 at the age of 102, and Gladys’ death in 2008 at the age of 104.
The entire house is built with concrete block, with decorative concrete block surrounding a lot of the edges.
The FAB decorative block.
The house and the guest house both have a metal roof with this really cool edging.
This was a bathroom under the main house (at ground level), as the entire main part of the house is elevated. I think it was meant to be a shower room to use before of after you used the small swimming pool.
The design aesthetic was definitely minimalist, which you will also see repeated in the guest house.
It was really hard to get a good shot of this bathroom because of the circular design and it was quite small too.
This is where you would walk up to the front door…….using this spiral ramp. You can tell where the door was roped off, as no one went further than the top of the ramp. You can see the edge of the small swimming pool at the bottom of the picture.
This would be looking toward the main living room area.
And here we are in the guest house. This is an original lamp to the guest house. I LOVE that perforated screen!
All of the ceilings (and I believe most of the cabinets and other woodwork) in the main house and the guest house are made from Philippine Mahogany. Super Gorgeous!
There was this sweet mini kitchen set up in the guest house! How awesome is this!
The tag on the mini kitchen – Dwyer.
Love the handles on the cabinets!
The bathroom of the guest house.
I promise – we did NOT use the toilet!
This shower was just like the other shower in the previous bathroom – with a concrete formed base.
Here is a view of the shower handles.
And lastly, the door knobs and cabinet pulls.
Mom was happy to hear that the door knobs were a really close match to her original copper tone door knobs!
It was really great to at least be able to check out the guest house, though I REALLY wish we could have seen the main house.
To be honest, just from the small bit that we saw of the home, we could tell that it definitely did need some restoration. Some of the concrete blocks had fallen off and should be replaced, the pool needed work, and the wood under the metal roof looked like it was rotting away. There were various other things too, but nothing that could not be taken care of…….and probably fairly easily for someone with time and patience and some money.
I’m really hoping for the best for this amazing house. It totally deserves to be saved and loved and admired for generations to come!