The ‘Olfelt House’ in Minnesota, USA went on the market in June 2016 for the first time ever – and it was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. If you’ve never heard of this world-renowned American architect and interior designer, then you never heard ‘So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright‘ by Simon and Garfunkel, their personal tribute to the great man. “Architects may come, and architects may go and never change your point of view,” they sang. Clearly Wright was an inspiration across all types of people.
Born in 1867, just two years after the cessation of the American Civil War, Frank Lloyd Wright became a thoroughly modern modernist in the mid-20th Century. He said his work was made for the ‘modern man’ to live and work in. His interiors were lofty but also warm and inviting – like a prolonged embrace. They made luscious use of natural materials like wood and interior brickwork.
Wright designed the brick-built three-bedroom house in St Louis Park, Minnesota in collaboration with the owners, Paul C. Olfelt and his family, in 1958. The architect and designer of over 500 completed and celebrated projects, Wright did not live to see the house completed. He died in 1959 and the house and its interior was not completed until 1960, by Taliesin Architects. It had typically ‘Wrightian’ details, like wonderful use of space and light – enabled by enormous windows and a vaulted ceiling. Custom built and designed original lights and furniture are angular, and, quite frankly, gorgeous.
The furniture and fixtures, like these breathtaking bespoke chairs and the impeccable, impressive pendant light fitting just scream Frank Lloyd Wright. That’s if you know who he is of course. Though, if you don’t, see this as a fabulous introduction. He paid attention to detail – with built-in, one-off pieces of cabinetry and coordinating furniture. Beautifully and skilfully designed and executed, they were the perfect complement to this great house.
An elegant and superlative example of the mid-20th century craftmanship of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Olfelt house is almost pickled in (gold-flecked) aspic, a wonderful example of the tactile, pleasing interiors of the time.
Almost uncannily preserved by the original owners, after over half a century of continuous (and presumably reverential) use, the house looks inviting and well, fabulous. A historic treasure house, it’s a living museum and a lasting tribute to sheer brilliance. There’s some up-dating evident in the kitchen, but overall it’s remained true to its original state.
Just check out those chairs! If you’re tempted to call them cute then be prepared for them to take exception to such lofty condescension. Self contained, strongly built and angular they typify Wright’s attention to form and function.
These awesome desk chairs are unmistakably custom-designed by Wright. The ‘ethnic’ inspired rugs and throw sit happily in their mid-century showcase.
Pared down, this bathroom is deceptively simple in execution. But look at all those mosaic tiles!
I want this library!! Oh my. It’s just tailor-made for lofty contemplation. Wright’s wonderful wall chairs, built into the fabric of the room, have stood the test of time.
So what’s the outside like? Well it’s utilitarian, almost Brutalist in appearance. Typically fabulous and typical of Frank Lloyd Wright in fact.
And it’s on the market for only $1, 495,000. Yup – it’s a bargain!