Oskaloosa, IA 1947
The Alsop House designed in 1947 and completed in 1951, one of only seven Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian houses in Iowa, is now offered for sale. In 1947, two young families from the small Iowa town of Oskaloosa approached Frank Lloyd Wright asking if he might consider designing houses for them. Wright agreed, resulting in the creation of the Carroll Alsop house and the neighboring Lamberson house. Both were overseen by apprentice John deKoven Hill, and constructed by builder Jim De Reus.
The more spacious of the two, the Alsop House features four bedrooms in 2300 square feet, nestled into the side of a South and East facing hillside, maximizing views and solar gain. The enclosed space is determined by a simple L-shaped plan built around an atypical 5’ square module. Only the primary bedroom (featuring a second fireplace) deviates from the rectilinear design. The expansive and open living/dining area is divided by a dramatic cantilevered fireplace that is surrounded by glass walls, rather than positioned near the workspace masonry core as seen in most Usonian houses. The material palette consists of red brick, Cherokee-red tinted concrete floors, red tidewater cypress board and sunk batten walls, and plaster ceilings. Another dramatic feature is its large cantilevered carport. Though designed in the 1940s, this is a house that in countless ways anticipates Wright’s later ‘50s works and midcentury modernism.
Included in the sale is the Wright-designed furniture original to the house: three modular dining tables, eight dining/side chairs, and four square tables, all in fine vintage condition with lovely patina. In the 1980s, the original in floor heating was converted to forced air, and AC was added. At the same time, the original wood windows were replaced with the current white windows. A buyer planning a thorough restoration would want to consider the project of returning the windows to Wright’s specifications.
The Alsop House is being offered as a private sale and is not formally listed on the market. The seller will entertain bids above $450,000. All offers will be reviewed – property to be sold as-is.
Photo credits: Photos 1-5 Doug Carr, Photos 6-16 Patrick Mahoney, AIA, Photos 17-21 Stan Ecklund