Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian Home in our Backyard!

Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian Home in our Backyard!
One of the blessings of living on the Mid-Peninsula is the prevalence of beautiful architectural homes. We have a lot of them. Whether small or large, a well-designed house is a pleasure to behold. The designation of well-designed is broad, though. There is a smaller subset of truly important homes They were designed by a famous architect and have a sense of lasting historical importance. They are sprinkled throughout our Bay Area neighborhoods, and you might not be aware that they exist. But when you discover one and have the opportunity to experience it, you will remember it.

One of these truly special homes is the Arthur Mathews House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and located at 83 Wisteria Way in Atherton CA. It is a petite 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,940 square foot home on a lavish nearly an acre lot. It is built utilizing his unique love of 30 and 60-degree angles, giving many of the rooms an unusual geometry. The Atherton home is built with warm, earthy materials and features a friendly open floor plan, an abundance of windows and doors with views of the tree-filled garden, and plenty of built-in storage. It is in impeccable condition and still reflects the intent of Wright’s original design. Since the home is currently listed for sale with Monique Lombardelli of Modern Homes Realty, I was given the unique opportunity to take a tour and enjoy the entire property.

Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the most recognizable names in architecture. He achieved a level of celebrity reserved for movie stars and pro athletes, and his creations have a timeless elegance that has stood the test of time. He designed hundreds of commercial and residential buildings across the nation and internationally, and his creative talents extended to the design of furniture, dishes, and even stained glass. He is considered the pioneer of the “Prairie School” movement of architecture and is known for organic buildings that develop out of their natural surroundings.

Most people are familiar with his famous residential projects like “Fallingwater” in Pennsylvania, yet few people are probably aware of Wright’s passion project – the “Usonian Home.” The term is based on the word Usonia, a shorthand that Wright favored for “United States of America.” These homes were Wright’s effort to improve life for middle-class Americans through intelligent, cost-effective design and mass production. Similar to builder Joseph Eichler, his vision was to create suburban enclaves away from the busyness of the city. By cutting construction costs, he longed to take his architectural ideas and make them accessible to a larger population without sacrificing quality design.

Wright planned to build the Usonian homes on a large scale and in a factory setting, but he never met that larger aspiration. The original Usonian homes were meant to sell for $5,000, but with escalating construction costs, they ended up with a price tag closer to $10,000. Construction began in 1936 but only 60 of them were ever built. It is unknown how many of them still stand, but we are lucky to have one in our backyard.

We at Veritas Homes love important architecture. These special structures are jewels that bring together art and history. More than that, though, we are passionate about “home.” Your Mid-Peninsula home need not possess a pedigree to be special. It is the place you go to at the end of the day that is uniquely your own, houses your family, and provides shelter from the harshness of the world. We are blessed to be a part of this process and are here to help you with any of your San Carlos real estate or Mid-Peninsula real estate needs.

Veritas Homes is a boutique residential real estate brokerage servicing home buyers and sellers on the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula. Founded by Val Vandervort, Veritas Homes (Latin for “Truth”) is committed to providing outstanding customer service to all and operate with “Truth” at the center of all we do.

To learn more about the Silicon Valley real estate market, read “It’s Complicated – June 2022 Silicon Valley Market Update”


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