James B. Irving House (1928)

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    1318 Isabella Street
    Wilmette, IL
    Architect: John S. Van Bergen

    Nice article by Blair Kamin that sums up the story of this threatened prairie-style house. Basically a developer bought this property, which has two significant prairie-style designs on it and (of course) wants to demolish both structures. John Van Bergen, who ran Frank Lloyd Wright's Studio in 1909, designed this second house for James B. Irving, which still has many original interior touches. The first structure, located in the back of the lot, is a 594-square-foot cottage designed by the Austrian-born Rudolph Schindler in 1920, who also ran Wright’s Oak Park studio for a time. Schindler would later move to the Los Angeles area and earn fame and acclaim for his modernist designs. After Wilmette chose last month not to take ownership of the building, preservationists scrambled to dismantle the small cottage and move it, while the bigger house sits on the market, but is still threatened with demolition if it's not sold in the next few months.

    More info here (in case you can't get enough of this story like me).

    The house's listing is here...someone please buy it. I would but monopoly money isn't real! :(

    Ross Dunn, ken of dartmouth, AnnaOze, and 2 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Ross Dunn 23 months ago | reply

      I love this style of house.

    2. marty hackl 23 months ago | reply

      Yes, this house is still very much threatened! I was the one who initially put out the alarm that this property was threatened. Problem is, the Frank Lloyd Wright people latched onto the whole thing, and they, with, most other interested parties, put all their efforts into saving the coach house, which is just a shack, of little architectural merit. But they are only putting their half-hearted "hopes" into saving the main house, which is the real gem. You should have seen the email exchanges! Dozens, if not hundreds of dedicated "preservationists" going back and forth about how to save the coach house, with the main house as essentially a footnote. "Oh, we hope that can be saved too."

      It's all about the name. If you put Frank Lloyd Wright's name on a cow pie, preservationists would stop everything and put all their resources into saving it. It would be a national emergency.

    3. chicagogeek 23 months ago | reply

      Definitely agree. How different this house's future would be if FLW magically appeared as the architect, instead of JVB. I like all prairie style designs - they're simply amazing and all of them should be saved no matter who did what. If the FLW people really cared about architectural preservation, they would've been interested in saving both houses together. Insane if you ask me.

    4. ihynz7 23 months ago | reply

      half the time, FLW got these other folks to do all the hard work, anyway, am I right? (or even took credit for their designs) this looks like the Isabel Roberts house ...

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