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Where to Vacation in a Frank Lloyd Wright Home

By Devorah Lev-Tov

Jul 11, 2017

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The Seth Peterson cottage in Baraboo, Wisconsin

Photo by Kit Hogan

The Seth Peterson cottage in Baraboo, Wisconsin

What’s better than touring a Frank Lloyd Wright house? Sleeping in one

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If you’ve ever wanted to sleep in a home designed by America’s original starchitect, Frank Lloyd Wright, here’s your chance. Over his lifetime, Wright designed more than 1,000 innovative offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, and museums. He also designed hundreds of houses, from vast estates for wealthy bankers to modest suburban homes for small families, all of which incorporate his principals of Usonian design and his signature organic style. And a few of those houses can be rented for a night or a week at a time. Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the architect’s birth by booking a retreat in one of these seven homes across the country.

1. Palmer House, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tucked into the northeast side of Ann Arbor’s Nichols Arboretum, this home was built in the early 1950s for local residents Bill and Mary Palmer. The 2,000-square-foot house is a study in geometry, from the cantilevered overhang down to the Wright-designed furniture (including five-sided beds and triangular armchairs). Wright’s love of nature shows in the home’s hillside orientation; every room offers views of delicate red cypress trees. Bonus: The house is close to the University of Michigan and just a five-minute drive from the dining and art scene in downtown Ann Arbor. 227 Orchard Hills Drive, Ann Arbor, MI | Two-night minimum | From $410 per night

2. Seth Peterson Cottage, Baraboo, Wisconsin

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In 1958, when Wright was nearly 90 years old, a young man named Seth Peterson asked Wright to build a cottage on Mirror Lake, a reservoir in the architect’s native Wisconsin. Wright agreed but died the following year, before the home was fully completed. Peterson committed suicide before the cottage was finished, and the home sat abandoned until 1989 when a group of residents launched a restoration project. The fully restored cottage is a small, but mighty example of Wright’s desire for architecture to be a bridge to nature. Perched at the top of a wooded hill, the 880-square-foot cottage has a wall of windows overlooking the lake below, and the flagstones used for the cottage floor continue outside, where they form a small terrace. The cottage was the first Wright-designed house to be available for rent, and it offers a weekend escape in what is now Mirror Lake State Park, near the Wisconsin Dells. Fern Dell Road, Baraboo, WI | Two-night minimum | From $250 per night

3. Emil Bach House, Chicago

This Prairie-style home was built in 1915 in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Declared a Chicago Landmark in 1977 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, the Emil Bach House is part of a series of geometric homes with flat, overhanging roofs built by Wright in the early 1900s. The Bach House is the only Wright house of this style left in the Windy City. And though the home is now surrounded by high-rises, the two-story, two-bedroom house is still in touch with nature: It’s only a block from Lake Michigan. 7415 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL | One-night minimum | From $495 per night

4. Alpine Meadows Ranch, Montana

While this ranch in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley was originally founded as a retreat for university professors in 1909, it’s now privately owned. Of the four structures on the 205-acre property, Wright designed two. The Frank Lloyd Wright Farmhouse has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a sunroom, a kitchen, and a living area with a fireplace made from river stones, plus views of the Sapphire Mountains. The Writer’s Cabin is a small cottage with one bedroom, one bathroom, a kitchenette, a living room (also with a river stone fireplace), and a small porch, plus easy access to the Bitterroot National Forest. Located two miles from the town of Darby, the ranch is the perfect base for hiking, fishing, and (in winter) skiing. Bunkhouse Road, Darby, MT | Two-night minimum | From $1,200 per night

5. Hawaii Frank Lloyd Wright House, Waimea, Hawaii

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The only Wright house ever built in Hawaii wasn’t actually designed for Hawaii. Originally conceived in 1954 for the Cornwell Family, the three-bedroom home was intended for a site in Pennsylvania. It’s unclear why the project was not built there. In the early 1990s, a Honolulu-based ad executive named Sanderson Sims partnered with Taliesin Associated Architects (Wright’s now-disbanded firm) and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to bring the plan to life in Hawaii. The team selected a site on the edge of the Waiaka stream with views of the ocean and three of the island’s most important volcanoes—all on display through the curved living room wall of floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows. Other perks include an outdoor hot tub made from lava rock and easy access to the white-sand beaches of the nearby Kohala Coast. 62-2145A Ouli Street, Waimea, HI| Five-night minimum | From $800 per night

6. The Wright House, Peoa, Utah

Situated on 66 acres in an Aspen grove near Park City, The Wright House was designed by its namesake in 1956 and built by his great-nephew between 1997 and 2002. The home was not originally planned for this plot of land (it was meant for a site in Michigan), but one of Wright’s early apprentices—David Elgin Dodge—selected this location. The self-sufficient home has three bedrooms, three fireplaces, and windows that look out on the surrounding mountains. From the house’s location in Peoa, Utah, it’s an easy 20-minute drive to Park City and all the activities northern Utah has to offer, including skiing, hiking, fishing, and cycling. Browns Canyon Road, Peoa, UT | Three-night minimum | From $450 per night

7. Duncan House, Acme, Pennsylvania

Built in Lisle, Illinois, in 1957, the Duncan House is one of Wright’s lesser-known prefab homes. The three-bedroom home was slated for demolition in 2002—until the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC) stepped in. FLWBC  found buyers who were willing to pay to have the home relocated to the Polymath Park Resort, a Wright compound in Pennsylvania (and not far from Fallingwater, considered by many to be Wright’s masterpiece). The house now stands near two other Usonian-style homes designed by Wright apprentice Peter Berndtson in the 1960s.  All three homes are available to tour or rent. And an on-site restaurant, Treetops, offers outdoor dining in the forest. Make your getaway totally Frank Lloyd Wright–centric by visiting Fallingwater, as well as Kentuck Knob, another residence designed by Wright. 187 Evergreen Lane, Acme, PA | One-night minimum | From $399 per night

>>Next: Test Your Knowledge of World Architecture

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