frank-lloyd-wrights-first-home-1889

Frank Lloyd Wright’s First Home, 1889


Frank Lloyd Wright is arguably one of the most famous and influential American architects ever known. Many of his structures and designs, though already several decades old, are still considered to be very modern. To no surprise, one of his first designs was his own home located at 951 Chicago Avenue in Oak Park, Illinois. Frank Lloyd Wright lived at this home for 20 years (1889 to 1909) with his first wife, Catherine Tobin and their six children.


Always Changing: Frank Lloyd Wright’s First Home

Built in 1889, Frank Lloyd Wright’s first home seemed to be under constant construction. Throughout the years, as he honed his craft, he would add, take away, and completely change nearly every aspect of the house.

When first built, the front room on the second floor of the house was his original drafting room. However, in 1898, Wright added a studio annex, which would serve as his studio for the next 10 years. The studio annex is an octagon shaped room that contained the reception area, the drafting room and a presentation library.

In 1895, prior to the studio annex, Wright added a polygonal-shaped bay onto the south side of the home. On the first floor of this bay was the dining room, which also contained a dining room table and chairs that were also designed by Wright. Unfortunately, the windows of the bay room would later be remodeled again when Frank Lloyd Wright would modify the south portion of the home as well, which blocked the natural flow of light into the bay room.

As expected, remodeling of the Wright home doesn’t stop there. That same year, in 1895, Wright added a two story extension to the east side of the home. In the upstairs of this extension, his children would get their own playroom.

In 1911, two years after Wright had moved into a new home, he would remodel his first home yet again by moving the main entrance to the southern side of the home. This was done because the original portion of the home was converted into a rental unit and therefore the main residence would require a new entryway.

The Frank Lloyd Wright House Today: A Public Museum

Today, the home in which Wright lived during the first twenty years of his career has been restored to the way it was in 1909; Wright’s last year in the house. Restored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (though it is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.) Visitors can gather more information about visiting the home as well as buy tickets online at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust website.