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Homeowners Find Solace Through Architecture and Daily Living in their Wright-Designed Homes

By Marsha Shyer, Co-Owner, Brandes House (Editor)

Photo by Norman Silk (Turkel House)

“The mission of an architect is to help people understand how to make life more beautiful, the world a better one for living in, and to give reason, rhyme, and meaning to life.”

-Frank Lloyd Wright, 1957

Todd Levin, owner of the Richardson House in Glen Ridge, New Jersey

“Doctors and Medicine may Cure, but only Artists and Art can Heal.”

John Major, co-owner with Susan of the Jones Estate, Penwern, in Delavan, Wisconsin

Susan Major

“Owning a Frank Lloyd Wright home is very much like owning a piece of art.  It is art.  Highly innovative art.  Art with the ability to bring a smile each time you look at it from a different angle, or when you’re in a different mood.  This is all the more important and more special when the world is experiencing change.  It’s a perfect way to find some solace.”

Ted Muntz, co-owner with Deborah of the Lovness House in Stillwater, Minnesota

Troy Thies Photography

“Like most responsible Wright enthusiasts, who are able, our household has been pretty much shut down since mid-March. After three months of this experience, fear of the virus has morphed into concern about financial stability and, lately, wonder about personal security.

Our lives have changed.

However, despite all, we remain confident in the future.  In our seventies, we’ve been through troubled times before including the pandemics of 1957 and 1968.

Although we have been inconvenienced by events, Debi and I have been blessed to live in a place where escape is not only possible, it is according to a plan – not ours.  In Carla Lind’s book, ‘The Wright Style’, of the Lovness House she wrote: ‘Together, architect and clients created a home with the richness and serenity of a temple.’  And it is truly that.  Nestled lakeside on twenty acres, the house grows out of the landscape to meet nature and invite it in.  All facets of site and structure are complementary.  Wildlife abounds here to provide both entertainment at close range and insight as to how it works.

Don and Virginia Lovness spared no energy in realizing Wright’s vision for them.  After sixty odd years of the property’s blissful existence, we are pleased to have been able to contribute to and live in their legacy.”

Safina Uberoi, co-owner with Lukas Rueker of the Tonkens House in Cincinnati, Ohio

“I have been feeling guilty because this terrible time of COVID has been enormously positive for Lukas and me. Shut away from the world, we have become even more deeply involved with the Tonkens House. Even though our mode of engagement is restoration ‘work’, it is deeply pleasurable. Every day I escape our little cottage-home, to hang out in the dust and concrete of the roof work. At 3pm the last drilling stops, the workers pack up, and the dog and I settle into the office. We have set up a desk in one of the bedrooms of the Tonkens House. There is no other furniture, no rugs, no paintings–nothing which qualifies as comfortable. But the piercing beauty of Wright’s architecture shines through even this ascetic shell.”

Dale Morgan, co-owner with Norman Silk of the Turkel House in Detroit, Michigan

“I’ve had the blessing of spending the past couple of years enjoying being inside a house that Frank built, in an ever-changing garden, spending time inside myself, accepting the world as it is, quietly changing my thought of reality. The rhythm, scale and repetition of a Wright house puts one in a state of being aware with a quiet mind, where inner energies awake without effort. Being at one with nature; its light, sound, movement and colors, lulls one to accept reality as it is without judgment, becoming a part of God’s flow, calming and healing the heart.”

Christine Denario and Dan Nichols, co-owners of the Sweeton House in Cherry Hill, New Jersey

DAN NICHOLS:

“How many times have I thought or said that I sleep, eat, and clean in my house, but rarely do I get to BE in my house? Working from home and leaving only to do necessary errands or for walks has enabled me to truly LIVE WITH the house and appreciate it like I never have before. I have noticed more about the house’s play of light and shadow, how it behaves as a storm approaches, how best to modulate temperature and humidity with the window openings and closings, but most importantly what a lovely place it is to inhabit.”

 

CHRISTINE DENARIO:

“I always liked the house, but this era of physical distancing has caused me to appreciate far more the house’s openness to its surroundings and its connection to nature.  We are fortunate in this home not to have the sense of detachment and isolation from nature and natural light that is inherent in most homes.”

Nicholas Hayes, co-owner with Angela of the Murphy House in Shorewood, Wisconsin

Pre-Covid-19 student tour with art teacher Angela Hayes

 “We sometimes feel like the luckiest quarantiners to be waiting out the pandemic in this tiny house. However, we dearly miss being able to invite guests into our home to be astonished by Mr. Wright’s brilliant plan; the paths and nooks that direct people to be close enough to share stories or make memories over a meal. Wright understood that we humans are social animals who depend on nature for life, so he wove both the social and the natural into his art. Covid-19 has inconvenienced the social part. For now, we’ll greet curious visitors on the walk, remaining diligently masked and six feet apart while acquainting, so that we may all have a future in which to care for and share the history around us.”

Liz and Ken Allen, co-owners of the Sequoyah Project (by E. Fay Jones) in Fayetteville, Arkansas

“Our first exposure to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture occurred forty years ago in Oak Park.  Several decades later we are now very fortunate to be able to live in a home designed by E. Fay Jones, who always and freely acknowledged Wright’s deep influence.  No matter the season, no matter the weather, no matter the time of day, organic design has given us a nourishing connection with the natural world – and has sustained us during this time of physical disconnection with friends.”

Marsha Shyer, co-owner with John of the Brandes House in Sammamish, Washington

One of Wright’s sprites beckons us home while we are caring for family elsewhere

Brandes House

“Family always comes first. But we’ve learned that our Frank Lloyd Wright home has become part of us, in the way it nurtures us and lightens our heart. Like family. We take care of it, and it takes care of us. When life gets hard, a ray of sunshine, or a drop of rain, or a snowflake seen through the world that Wright has given us, brings joy and peace and hope. Our hearts can open. We can breathe again and go back to life, whatever that may bring.”

Posted on July 24, 2020

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