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Historic Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Coonley House Back On The Market

By Danette Chavez in News on Apr 14, 2015 3:35PM

If you're an architecture buff or just a millionaire with a penchant for Illinois land, you might have noticed that the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Coonley House has gone on and off the real estate market several times over the last few years. The Riverside home, which Wright described as his "best work," was previously up for grabs in 2012 and 2010 for just under $3 million. Unfortunately, interest in the house waned and the owners, Dean and Ella Mae Eastman, ended up holding on to their 6,000 square-foot abode. In 2012, the retired couple moved into the coach house and found a tenant to take on the rest of their space.

The owners are ready to give it another go and have just re-listed their part of the Coonley House for $2.1 million. They've said they are looking for another "steward" for the property, in which they've invested a significant amount of time and money.

The Coonley House was originally completed in 1907 at the behest of wealthy industrialist and publisher Avery Coonley and his wife Queen Ferry Coonley. Wright set out to create a little town along the Des Plaines River for the couple, complete with interconnecting structures and courtyards. But the property fell into disrepair by the 1950s and local preservationists took up the Coonley House cause to thwart developers' plans to level the whole thing. That was when the multi-acre parcel was split to create two residences in the main home (where the Eastmans lived), one in the gardener's cottage and one in the stables.

In 2000, the Eastmans bought the main rooms and began remodeling; by 2010, they had purchased the stables and embarked on further renovations. They've since restored the coach house, stables and Servant's wings. Dean Eastman, the former head of Argonne National Laboratory, has brought a technical expertise to the drawing board; an engineer, he had designs from the start for everything, from the exterior trim and stucco frieze to the glass patterns and gardens. The years-long efforts have even been chronicled in a book. And while the Eastmans are selling the main house, they'll not be far from the home's new owners; they plan to stay in the stables (which, again, have been converted into a home) going forward.

If you'd rather not commit to putting a bid on part of the Coonley House just for a chance to see it, you can buy a ticket to Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk on May 16. It's the first time the property will be a part of that event.

In 2010, Chicago magazine's Dennis Rodkin took a tour of the property, which you can check out below if you can't make it out to Riverside on May 16.