Take a Rare Peek Inside a 1940s House by Frank Lloyd Wright

It's not often Wright's homes are up for sale, so the auction was a rare opportunity.

Attention Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts—one of the famous architect's houses is officially off the market. On August 12, 2019, a home in Kansas City, Missouri, that was designed and built by Wright went up for auction through Dallas-based Heritage Auctions and sold for $920,000. While it might have been a little out of our price range, it's not every day we get to take a peek inside one of Wright's homes. Every single room of the Sondern-Adler House is a work of art, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, fireplaces, and beautiful tidewater cypress ceilings throughout.

Living room in Sondern-Adler House
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The house is one of Wright's early Usonian homes—there are about 60 all over the country, and they were designed to be simpler and less pricey than some of Wright's more elaborate houses. Usonian homes are usually one-story and feature an L-shaped design, a low roof, and radiant heating through concrete floors. A number of them are located in the Midwest in states like Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin, but they're also spread throughout the country (one might be closer than you think).

Study room in Sondern-Adler House
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The Sondern-Adler House was originally built by Wright in 1940 for Clarence Sondern, but the architect returned in 1948 to expand the house for the second owner, Arnold Adler. The house at first was just over 900 square feet, but the expansion more than tripled the size to 2,965 square feet. It has three bedrooms and bathrooms, multiple living areas (including a sunken living room), and a study that looks straight out of the '40s.

Great room in Sondern-Adler House
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The home has plenty of unique features that point to Wright's signature style. A few rooms feature clerestory windows—rows of small windows running along the top of the wall near the roofline—that bring even more light into the room. And rather than a garage, the Sondern-Adler House has a carport that's covered by a cantilevered roof. While we're more used to garages now, carports were a relatively new feature in the '40s, and Wright was the first to coin the term for them.

Outdoor terrace of Sondern-Adler House
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Sitting on 1.5 acres, the Sondern-Adler House is located in the heart of Kansas City, but surrounded by trees and woods—you can't even see it from the road. Many of Wright's homes, like his famous Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania, are built in nature, as opposed to suburban neighborhoods. Thanks to the dozens of huge windows throughout the house, the lucky new owner will be able to enjoy gorgeous green views from just about every room.

Koi pond outside Sondern-Adler House
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Like most of Wright's designs, the house integrates nature in other ways. Most notably, it features various terrace and garden spaces, and many of the rooms in the house have doors to the outside. A beautiful terrace and koi pond just off one of the living areas was part of the 1948 addition, and it looks like the perfect place to relax and enjoy the fresh air.

Dining room in Sondern-Adler House
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Living inside a work of art comes with a few drawbacks, though. Because the house was built in the early '40s, there are fewer modern amenities—there's no cable hookup, for one. Additionally, Wright designed many of his homes with a distinct style in mind, which includes custom and built-in furniture. This should be no problem for fans of vintage style (the house still has the original dining room table), but there's less opportunity for the new homeowners to add their own design twists.

As you'd expect, homes designed by Wright don't hit the market very often, so the opportunity to buy one is incredibly rare. The auction was held on August 12, 2019, and a bidder from Nebraska will be the lucky new owner of this piece of architecture history. The home was previously listed for $1.65 million in 2018, so we'd say they got a bargain with the winning bid of $920,000. Right now, the new owner has chosen to remain anonymous, but, according to Heritage Auctions, the plan is to keep the house true to Wright's original vision. Although we won't be moving in, we're happy to admire the stunning photos from afar.

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