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Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The William E. Martin House


Frank Lloyd Wright would go on to become one of the most influential American architects ever to live, to date. Meanwhile, William E. Martin was the president of the Martin Stove Polish company in Chicago, Illinois.

The Martin home, designed by Wright, is located in the historic Oak Park neighborhood and is nearby to several other homes that were also designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself; including the William G. Fricke house approximately 1 block away, the Thomas H. Gale house, the Nathan G. Moore house and Frank Lloyd Wright’s own home and studio.


Early Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture: The William E. Martin House in Oak Park, Illinois

Some sources state that the William E. Martin house showcases Wright’s struggle to decide between designing the house upward (vertically) or outward (horizontally.) It is one of few three-story Prairie styled homes that Wright would ever design during his career. This home is significant in Wright’s history, as it would lead to additional out-of-state commissions, made by the brother of William E. Martin, Darwin D. Martin. Darwin D. Martin would later commission Wright for additional homes as well as an office building in Buffalo, New York.

With a stucco exterior accented by wood trim, the home is similar in composition to several other Wright-built homes in that area, such as the Frank W. Thomas home and the later built Mrs. Thomas H. Gale house. It also features art glass windows, a low hipped roof and the expected overhanging eaves that were found in many of Wright’s past and future works.

The home—which boasts a massive 4,200 square feet of living space, originally heated by three Roman brick fireplaces—features five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a powder room. There is also a cook’s kitchen, third floor family room and a billiards room.

Once inside the home, guests will notice that all of the original oak trim is still intact as well as the built-in cabinetry, as the home was previously restored to it’s original historic floor plan.

Some sources state that originally the home featured formal gardens that were quite extensive. However, over the years that part of the property was sold off and a new house now exists there.

The William E. Martin House Today

At the time of this article’s completion, the William E. Martin house was listed for sale at $1,579,000. Though the home is for sale, it is still a private residence and any prospective visitors should remember to be courteous of the current (and any future) owners’ privacy.