Feb 12, 2012

Stop the Press! A Frank Lloyd Wright home for sale???

For any architecture nut,
architectural history nut,
or simply anybody who likes their houses a little unusual,
owning a Frank Lloyd Wright house would be 
beyond a common everyday wish. 
So I'm thinking a quick talk to immigration may be in order, 
because the Millard House in Pasadena, California,
is up for sale. 
 Experimenting with patterned concrete blocks,
Wright was able to use this new product
(which could have appeared clinical),
 with warmth & character,
more befitting of a craft than a factory process.
To truly get the concept of just how extraordinary this house 
would have been in 1923,
remember that concrete was seen as something used 
for commercial
and particularly for large ones at that.

"La Miniatura" (as it was also known) was built for Alice Millard, 
a rare book & antiques dealer.
Wright had previously designed a home for the widow, 
and her then husband, in Chicago in 1906.
But this one pushed the envelope much further, 
by introducing, and exploiting the beauty of,
the patterned concrete blocks.
Unlike most of his houses,
Frank Lloyd Wright expressed the vertical elements
(over his favoured horizontal lines)
in this project.
The emphasis on verticality was inspired by the lines of the 
surrounding Eucalyptus trees.
(Look carefully here.
See the tree growing "in" the building?)
As is typical of all of his houses,
the detail is meticulous.

While all of Wright's residential designs are thoughtful,
this one strikes me as perhaps a little more romantic & wistful. 
Maybe it's because Alice Millard was "allowed" 
to add some of her own ideas.
Now that may strike us as odd - fancy a client wanting to 
bring in their own ideas to their own house!
But in Wright's work, this was most unusual. 
He was famously known for controlling every little detail.
The ornate screen in the fireplace here was Alice's idea.
As were the rustic timber doors. 
Which tie in beautifully with the whole design.
An absolutely extraordinary property, 
and for one very lucky buyer,
an absolute honour to be able to enjoy it on a daily basis.

Would you love to live here?
(I would!)

All house images & Agents details: Crosby Doe
Property: Millard House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pasadena, California.
Ladies shaking hands: Lanvin 1923


  1. Such a genius.
    I always regret not getting to Fallingwater when we briefly lived in Pittsburgh. There was something about children not being allowed that put me off at the time, but now I wished I had tried harder to get there!!

    1. Oh, you lived there? Well that just makes it a good excuse to go back!

  2. oh my goodness! Can you imagine?!! For me, it's the sensitive woman's touch that makes this property even more special- the carved doors are perfection!!

    I love the way you pieced this story together V.

    xo em

  3. You have put together the most engaging post. I read and enjoyed every word. What a stunny piece of architecture.
    x KL

  4. Thank you for such an unusual post. As an architecture nut I loved it. If you ever get to Oak Park near Chicago, where Wright's heritage is worshiped and preserved, you'd like to buy the whole town at once as a package. Can you imagine that many of his scattered masterpieces were demolished in 30s and 70s? If there are architectural Gods it should be Wright and Antoni Gaudi.
    I liked how you added some 20s visuals . They fit perfectly to THAT interior.
    Great post thoughtfully put together.

    1. I have to agree about your Gods selection Natalie! A few others spring to mind as demi-gods, like Lutyens & Mies van der Rohe, for starters. mmm... that would make a fascinating post actually - you have just given me a great idea! Thank you!

  5. Oh my this absolutely made my morning Virginia. So incredibly beautiful and yes, surprisingly wistful. I just can't believe that it hasn't sold already! 5 million does not seem expensive for such a home and you would think that someone that loves architecture, like Brad Pitt, would have snapped it up already.

    Here is a link about a novel that you might if you haven't read it already: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12536605. It is about FLW's affair with the wife of one of his clients. Very well written.

    1. I have read most of the books on him, but this one has escaped my attention! So thank you, I will order it. It seems very cheap to me - $5m for such a house, which is on large grounds as well, so I am surprised it hasn't been snaffled up already too.

  6. What an incredible house, and so ahead of its time!

  7. Love the home/post.....the concrete bricks are amazing. I have hijacked a few of these shots for my inspiration files....thanks...k

  8. Lovely pictures<3

  9. Yes! Yes! I could easily live in this stunning house!
    What a wonderful and interesting post! F.L.Wright's fantastic architecture and a very beautiful interior under the motto "less is more"!

    Love it!

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog, your kind comment and to be a follower. Welcome!

    Greetings from the PĂ©rigord,

  10. I am delighted to find your post. I had been blogging about one of FLW's four textile block designs in Los Angeles, Ennis House, and knew quite a lot about it. But I had never visited La Miniatura/Millard House, nor had I seen any internal photos. FLW romantic and wistful? Possibly not :) But spacious, airy, modern and bold? Yes indeed.

    Art and Architecture, mainly


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