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Chicagoist Does: The Frank Lloyd Wright Plus Home Tour

By Benjy Lipsman in Arts & Entertainment on May 18, 2009 4:20PM

On Saturday, the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust held their annual Wright Plus home tour, all-day tour which included eight private residences in Oak Park as well as the Wright Home & Studio and the Unity Temple in Oak Park and Hyde Park's Robie House.

We made the trek to Oak Park for the event once again, to get a peek into homes designed by Wright and some of his most prominent contemporaries. While most of the featured homes demonstrated the prairie style that Wright made famous in the early 20th century, some of the homes also featured Italianate and Queen Anne elements. Four of this year's homes were new to the tour, while the other had not been featured in at least five years.

Touring the homes still lived in by families who opened up them up to visitors for the day, we were struck by how much care has been put into updating and expanding these century old homes to make them modern dwellings that work for families of today, while respecting the historic legacies of the architects' visions. Maids' quarters are claimed to expand kitchens to accommodate the Sub-Zero fridge and Viking range; family rooms are added off the back but carry the same oak trim and window arrangement found in the original structure and third floor ballrooms become giant playrooms that are surely the envy of other kids.

We could not have had a better day in which to wander Oak Park. While the weather forecast earlier last week suggested a wet Wright Plus, the skies cleared and provided a beautiful day - keeping the 25-year streak without rain alive. For those who want to attend next year, the Wright Plus event will be held on Saturday, May 15, 2010 -- tickets go on sale October 1. Even with the $95 price tag, the event's 2500 tickets sell out annually so make your plans to attend early.