2 Frank Lloyd Wright “Usonian” homes in Galesburg are on the market

This is an opportunity to not only own a masterpiece created by the man considered the greatest American architect of all time, but to own two of their own.

A collection of two West Michigan homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is on the market. The asking price for the pair of artworks is $4.5 million.

It comes with the Samuel and Dorothy Epstein House and the Eric and Pat Pratt House, called “Usonian” houses named after their original owners.

Wright coined the word Usonian to describe the homes he began designing in 1934 that featured local materials, flat roofs, and large overhanging columns.

“There aren’t a lot of American Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the world,” said Victoria Krause Schott, a broker with @properties Christie’s International Real Estate in Oak Park, Illinois, who listed the homes along with Fred Taber, a Realtor with Jaqua Realtors. In Portage. “They are rare pieces of art and you can live in them.”

There are fewer than 50 Usonian homes in the world designed by Wright that still exist, Taber said. He added that these two houses belong to the same owners.

“It is the first time that two Usonian Wright houses have had one owner at the same time,” he said. “In addition, the two homes are located in the same development and on adjacent lots, which is even more rare. Now they are both for sale.”

They said this is the first time in the history of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture that two adjacent homes have been offered together in one sale.

Both artworks are located on Hawthorne Drive off South 36th Street between East ML Street and East MN Street in Galesburg. Epstein’s house is at 11090 and Pratt’s house is at 11036. The two parcels of land are adjacent, but each house offers complete privacy, Taber said.

Galesburg is located about 132 miles west of Detroit between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. The homes are located approximately 10 miles from Kalamazoo International Airport and an hour’s drive from Southaven and Saugatuck.

“It’s kind of a rural area, but you’re close to everything,” Taber said.

Schott and Taber said the history of the two houses goes back to a 1947 project undertaken by a group of researchers at Upjohn. Upjohn’s company was a pharmaceutical manufacturer based in Hastings, about 30 miles north of Galesburg.

The group wanted to build a community of modern, affordable homes on a wooded 70-acre site. Its members, who admired Wright and his work, convinced the legendary architect to design the homes. Their plans called for homeowners to build their own homes under Wright’s guidance.

They called the project Galesburg Country Homes, but it later became known as Acres. Plans initially called for 21 houses but only five were built and only four were designed by Wright. The Pratt House was built in 1951 and the Epstein House was built in 1953.

The fifth house was designed after Wright’s death by one of his students, Schott said.

Marika Brewer and Tony Hillebrandt purchased the Eppstein House and Pratt House in 2016. They then spent the next five years lovingly restoring them. The two also make homes available for rent on Airbnb and HomeAway.

The homes are as Wright envisioned them, but with modern electrical, plumbing and other systems, Schott and Taber said.

The 2,250-square-foot Eppstein House has an open floor plan with large windows as well as three bedrooms, two bathrooms and three terraces all on one level. It features two living areas with fireplaces and built-in furniture designed by Wright. There’s also a 10-foot floor-to-ceiling glass façade that opens to a terrace.

Meanwhile, the 2,200-square-foot, one-story Pratt House has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a library/music room and plenty of space for entertaining. It also has 10-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a fireplace. It also has a cantilevered garage that is a trademark of Usonian homes and several outdoor terraces. Furthermore, there is a workshop/office that was once the original owner’s pottery studio.

“Every house has its own character,” Taber said. “They’re not like traditional homes. They’re works of art and everyone gets their own feelings from them but they have a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere.”

It feels like the outdoors is brought indoors in each home, which is typical of Wright’s designs, Schott said. “Even though they are works of art, they are livable with lots of light,” she said. “It makes you feel safe and secure and frankly, it’s amazing inside because the light is so great.”

The more time a person spends in each home, the more time they want to stay there, both Schott and Taber said.

They also said they believe the homes are perfect for anyone who appreciates Wright’s designs.

“I think it’s perfect for people who don’t look at homes as an investment, but as pieces of art that they can live in,” Taber said.

Schott agreed and said the two homes would also be great for someone looking to rent them out as an Airbnb as the current owners have done. But she said the possibilities are endless and would be great for a quiet, private retreat, a family home or an art collection.

“It could be someone who just loves architecture, or someone who loves mid-century modern homes,” she said. “These are great examples of that, and they are Frank Lloyd Wright designs.”

See the list here and here.

See other recent listings here.


Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

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