Living across the street from a Frank Lloyd Wright house

from the Artsology series The Arts Adventurer

For the past 9 years, I've been living across the street from a Frank Lloyd Wright house, one of four that were built in New Jersey (only three remain). And this week (September, 2016), the current owner, who had lived there for 20 years, put it on the market. And from the rumors going around town, it sold right away, well above asking - which doesn't surprise me at all. If anything, I would have been surprised if it had actually gone "on the market," in the public sense, because there would have been a stampede of people wanting to see the inside of it. One would think there would be an unofficial list of people waiting for their opportunity to buy any Wright house that was ready to change hands, but in truth I have no actual details of how the sale went down.

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exterior view of Stuart Richardson house in Glen Ridge, designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright

But here's the funny thing - I live across the street from this architectural and historical landmark, and yet it's basically invisible to anyone passing by on the street. Below left is a view from my front yard ... as you can see, you can see nothing. See that gas lamp illuminated by the sunlight across the street? That's the entrance to the driveway that goes back into the property where the house is situated. You can't really see anything at all from the street, even at the edge of the driveway - I guess Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to make sure his client had plenty of privacy.

It's known as the "Stuart Richardson House," named after the original occupant of the home, and it was designed in 1941 and built a decade later. It is one of Wright's "usonian" houses, which were designed to be functional homes for people of average means, so it's not a very big house, from what I can tell. Despite my years of living across the street, the owner was a relatively private person, and I respected her privacy, despite my great curiosity about the home. I have no idea when the new owner(s) will move in, and who knows ... maybe there will be a future opportunity to see it firsthand. In the meantime, all I've seen are pictures that I've found online.

photo showing that a Frank Lloyd Wright house is almost impossible to see from the street

aerial view of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in New Jersey

If you're reading this and want to take a look in person, please remember it's a private residential home, not a museum. I've seen plenty of people drive down the street, park their car, and start to walk up to it to look around. Despite the architect's name attached to the house, I'm sure the owner doesn't want people walking around the yard any more than any of us neighbors want people walking around our yards. One time I came home from an errand to find a tour bus parked out front with Japanese tourists toting their cameras, and within 5 minutes, the police were there to move them along. Fortunately, there's enough pictures online from various sources in order to get a good look at the house, and I've pulled a few from those sites to share with you in the slideshow below.

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