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Masterpiece Potential? Buy a Frank Lloyd Wright Fixer-Upper in Illinois

Masterpiece Potential? Buy a Frank Lloyd Wright Fixer-Upper in Illinois

Because many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes are now a century old, signs of age have crept in. Multiple owners add up to structural wear and tear. In addition, decorative decisions made over the decades may not have kept with Wright’s original aesthetic.

Returning a Wright home to pristine condition typically takes a major renovation. If you’re ready to put in the time and effort, we’ve found a prime turnaround example in Illinois.

This Wright-designed ranch in Glencoe has had only three owners, but could use a fresh set of eyes. It was built in 1913 as a cottage that Sherman Booth, an attorney and friend of Wright’s, could live in while his main house was being constructed. The structure was later moved to its current site on a third of an acre.

After Booth’s tenure, the home passed into the hands of another family. Now, the younger generation of that family is ready to let the three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home go.

The potential for this 1,755-square-foot home in the North Shore suburb of Chicago is easy to see. It could be a masterpiece with some TLC from a new owner. Listed for $599,900, the home is represented by Diana Matichyn of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage-Barrington.

“It will need cosmetic work, but the construction is good,” says Matichyn. “It has so many nice, big windows and open space.”

Living room


Dining area


Trademark Wright designs include windows spanning walls in many of the rooms, a floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace in the living room, and built-ins in the home office.

So what needs help? According to Matichyn, the vinyl flooring in some rooms will need to be replaced, new windows will need to be installed, and the walls need a fresh coat of paint. Also, new kitchen appliances and updated baths could make the home feel more modern.

“The owners’ very big wish is for someone to buy it and bring it back to life,” she says. The ideal buyer is “someone who wants to put their own touch on the history.”

Glencoe lies 25 miles north of downtown Chicago along Lake Michigan, and is serviced by a commuter train. A few blocks away is the Green Bay Trail, a conservation area within Turnbull Woods, a Cook County forest preserve. The Chicago Botanic Garden is 2 miles from the home.

“This is where most people go to get a home if they have a job in the city,” says Matichyn.

The ranch home (due to its lack of stairs) is perfect for downsizing empty nesters, or for a young couple buying their first home, she adds. “There’s plenty of space to grow a family, too.”

Potential home office

One of the bedrooms

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