To say that the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and interior designer Louis B. Fredrick was contentious is an understatement. Fredrick first commissioned Wright to design a home for his 10-acre plot in Barrington Hills, Illinois, in 1954. Wright offered two house plans, both of which were rejected. (The first was a concrete block design that the Fredricks passed on because "the word concrete block scares the daylights out of us.")
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By March of 1956, the strain between the men was such that Wright sent Fredrick a caustic telegram: "There can be but one Louis Fredrick. He has impressed me with the idea that he needed an architect. We know better now. He does not know what he wants nor what he does not want. He has cost us more pains in time and money therefore than he can ever repay. If ever he gets into a house he will be the architect and God help both him and the house."
Yet the two parties did eventually agree on a design in the fall of that year, when Wright submitted a third set of plans to Fredrick’s approval, and the home was completed by 1957. The plan is a long and lean single story with a partial basement, measuring in at a total of 2,650 square feet. Two windowed corridors radiate from the centralized cluster of living spaces. One corridor terminates in a playroom, while the other provides access to three bedrooms, including a master suite.
What Fredrick did not presumably know was that Wright’s offering was "a slightly revised version of a home designed for George Dlesk in Manistee, Michigan," says Chicago–based Eifler & Associates Architects. The firm recently wrapped a meticulous renovation of the Fredrick House for the newest owners, who purchased it in 2016. (The Fredrick family lived there until Louis’ death in 2002, after which it changed hands only twice.)
The recent top-to-bottom renovation restored all of the home’s defining elements, from the roof shingles to the tint in the concrete floor, with any modifications kept in line with the original design. Despite its contentious beginnings, it’s that spirit of accord that pervades the house now, as the homeowner/architectural team even fabricated furniture pieces custom-designed by Wright for the project, but which had never before been built.
Before: The Exterior and Terrace
After: The Exterior and Terrace
Before: The Kitchen
After: The Kitchen, Living, and Dining Area
Shop the Look
Before: The Master Bedroom
After: The Master Bedroom
Before: The Master Bathroom
After: The Master Bathroom
Before: The Study
After: The Study
Architect of Record: Eifler and Associates Architects
Builder: Restoration Arts, Johnathan Leck
Landscape Design: Mariani Landscape
Interior Design: Virginia Eby of Eifler and Associates Architects
Cabinetry Design: Distinctive Woodwork, Inc
Fillmore Association, Wood Conservation, Jim Madson
Deer Creek Construction Management, Bill Lackovic