Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pappas House in St. Louis Is Available For the First Time at $1.2M
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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pappas House in St. Louis Is Available For the First Time at $1.2M

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Built from modular concrete blocks, the Usonian Automatic is one of just two Wright-designed homes in St. Louis—and even comes with the original furniture.

Usonian homes were Frank Lloyd Wright’s solution for middle-class, affordable housing in America that he started designing in the 1930s. The Usonian Automatic concept took his vision one step further—first using the term in the early 1950s, Wright hoped for homeowners to save money by building their own Usonian residences with modular, concrete blocks. Ultimately, however, assembling the 12" x 24" blocks proved to be more complicated than anticipated, and contractors became necessary to complete construction.

The Usonian Automatic home is built of pre-cast, terra-cotta tinted concrete blocks, formed on a two-foot module. 

One such construction, now for sale, is the 2,310-square-foot Theodore and Bette Pappas House, designed in 1955 for the Pappas family—the original and only owners to date. Set on 3.36 acres of private land in Town and Country, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, the historically registered home is one of only two Wright-designed buildings in all of St. Louis.

The landscaping plans were an integral part of the design and were said to be included in the architect’s fee. 


The Pappas family worked with Wright on the planning of their residence, but by the time construction began in 1960, Wright had passed away. The home required several additions, including a bedroom and family room to accommodate the growing family, so the project was carried out by the Taliesin Associated Architects, who saw it through to its completion in 1964. Now the distinguished home—and all the original furniture—is being offered for $1,200,000.

The entrance to the Theodore and Bette Pappas House.

The living room features a red concrete floor and warm Philippine mahogany furniture designed by Wright. 

As with most Usonian homes, the living room features high ceilings. The living room also opens to an outdoor terrace.

The workspace, living room, fireplace, and dining area are all set within a square space. 

The terrace off the living room has floor-to-ceiling glass double doors and features glass insets, mitered at the corners to create a grill of concrete and glass. 

There are more than 500 glass insets throughout the home. 

There are also full-height double doors and a small terrace off the dining area.

The home has three different roof levels. Ceilings are composed of modular concrete blocks and the red concrete is scored to resemble tiles throughout.

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Built-in furniture extends throughout the home.

Changes in the floor levels and ceiling planes create differentiation between spaces.

Wright crafted the dining table and chairs out of Philippine mahogany and and fabric-covered, foam cushions. All of the furniture designed by Wright in the home is also included in the sale. 

The kitchen has exposed concrete block walls and open shelving. 

Natural light streams into the kitchen through glass inset clerestory windows at the top of the 12.5-foot-tall ceiling.

Philippine mahogany cabinetry in the kitchen echoes the rest of the home. The original red countertops pick up the red from the concrete floors. 

The four bedrooms in the house also have walls paneled in Philippine mahogany, ceilings of concrete blocks, and built-in furniture.

The materials for the golden drapes and cream-colored bedspreads were selected by Mrs. Wright and were used in all four bedrooms.
Photos by John Flack for Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty

In the bathroom, even the shower is paneled in Philippine mahogany. 

This bedroom features a built-in double desk.

865 Masonridge Road, Town and Country, Missouri, is now being listed for $1,200,000 by Andrew W. Dielmann and Ted Wright of Dielmann Sotheby's International Realty. 

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