Sale of the Week: Frank Lloyd Wright's Kenneth Laurent House and Other Design at Wright Auction Chicago

Inside Frank Lloyd Wright's Laurent House
(Photos courtesy of Wright)

SALE: Important Design Including the Kenneth Laurent House by Frank Lloyd Wright at Wright Auctions

DATE: December 15 at 12 noon

LOCATION: Chicago, Illinois

ABOUT: This week in Chicago there will be a rare opportunity to obtain an entire residence designed by one of the most historically renowned American architects, Frank Lloyd Wright. The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath abode was created in Rockford, Illinois, by Wright between 1949 and 1952 commissioned by paraplegic war veteran Kenneth Laurent and his wife.

In designing the house to be handicap-accessible for Laurent, Wright took the opportunity to use soft curves and an elliptical, open floor plan for the first time. Similar features were used in several Wright-designed houses later in the 1950s. The floor plan is in the shape of an American football — elliptical toward the center and pointed at each end — and makes copious use of red and brown tones.

Included with the 2,500-square-foot dwelling are a number of design items that were specially created by Wright to fit: a pair of barrel lounge chairs, a pair of panel armchairs, six occasional tables, nine hassocks (low padded stools), one hexagonal table, two wrought-iron fireplace grates, and two Nessen lamps (one wall and one floor) in Wright’s signature Cherokee red. There are also furnishings that Laurent commissioned from Wright after admiring them at Taliesin, the architect's home in Wisconsin, including a dining table, seven dining chairs (one armchair), one entrance table, two Taliesin slatted wall lights, three decorative screens, and external lighting elements.

If you do plan on bidding for the house, there is at least one serious bidder already on record. The Laurent House Foundation Board, based in Rockford, has been raising money and wants to buy the house to preserve it as a historical site and turn it into a museum according to the local paper, the Rockford Register Star.

The estimate for the home is a reasonable $500,000-700,000 — a steal compared the original $875,000 asking price. But the Wright house is not the only lot going under the hammer at the auction house this week. There are numerous other design items up for auction, including a Harry Bertoia hammered-copper gong  from 1965 that is estimated to sell for $200,000-300,000, a glass-topped 1950 Carlo Mollino coffee table with a pre-sale estimate of $80,000-120,000, and a historic "elevator surround" from the Chicago Stock Exchange (est. $150,000-200,000). The object was designed in 1893 by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan to decorate the extravagant halls of the nation’s largest stock exchange outside New York City. The frame is molded copper detailed with cross and circular patterns, and throught the middle similar patterns occur in iron.


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