This Rare Frank Lloyd Wright House in New Hampshire Is Available For the First Time Ever

This Rare Frank Lloyd Wright House in New Hampshire Is Available For the First Time Ever

By Kathryn M.
Offered at $850,000 the 1955 Toufic H. Kalil House in Manchester is one of only seven Usonian Automatics ever constructed.

Take a drive along Heather Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, and you will find not one, but two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes: the 1950 Zimmerman House in his Prairie School style, and the 1955 Toufic H. Kalil House, a rare Usonian Automatic design. The latter home, held in the family for almost 65 years, will soon be sold for the first time ever.

An exterior view of the Kalil House at 117 Heather Street. Molded masonry blocks are the main building material, informing the design of the entire structure, as well as exterior retaining walls and a carport.

The location of two Wright-designed homes on the same block is hardly a coincidence. Dr. Toufic Kalil and his wife Mildred were so inspired by the home of their friends, Dr. Isadore Zimmerman and his wife Lucille, that they commissioned Wright to design a home for them as well. The Kalils desired a simple and functional house; Wright's answer was one built using his self-designed Usonian Automatic Building System (UABS), a method of construction using prefabricated masonry blocks.

A hallway inside the main entry divides the home's L-shaped floor plan—a spatial arrangement common in Wright's Usonian homes. Throughout the home, Philippine mahogany paneling contrasts with concrete block walls and stained concrete floors

The UABS method is modular by design, completed by stacking molded concrete blocks without traditional mortaring techniques. Instead, the structure is reinforced with rebar placed in semicircular grooves running around each block; later, cement is pumped into the remaining cavities. The name Automatic comes from Wright's original hope that homeowners could save money by building with the UABS method themselves. However, that proved a difficult task with each block weighing a reported 220 pounds, requiring contractors to build most of the Usonian Automatic homes.

To the right of the main entry, the large living room features a striking rear wall composed of 350 individual embedded-glass window blocks, allowing light to pour into the space. A dramatic sunken hearth surrounds the original wood-burning fireplace.

The Kalil House is designed around a two-foot grid floor plan, with the walls built using 4" x 1' x 2' blocks and the ceilings using 2' x 2' blocks. An estimated 4,800 individually cast rectangular blocks were used for the project. The home cost an estimated $70,000 to complete in 1957, proving the method to be more expensive than Wright had hoped. 

Reportedly, Dr. Kalil had a special machine built that "created each block under pressure, allowing the blocks to be removed from their forms immediately enabling the start of the next block." In remarkably good condition, the 1,400-square-foot residence offers buyers two bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a small detached studio in the backyard.

Philippine mahogany paneling lines side walls in the living area. Like the rest of the home, the space is complete with Wright-designed furniture and the original Schumacher or Jack Lenor Larsen textiles. 

"This house was kind of their Shangri-La," says Steve Kalil, the nephew of Dr. and Mrs. Kalil. "It’s pretty special. The decision to sell it was not easy at all. My siblings and I have taken extreme care to preserve the house in its original condition." 

Although many were designed, the Kalil House is the fourth of only seven homes built using the UABS method; two others are located in Phoenix, Arizona, another is in Washington state, and the rest are scattered in the Midwestern United States. Continue scrolling to see more of this rare property, which will officially hit the market in October.

A small breakfast area sits beside the kitchen. The glass-block wall continues seamlessly from the living room, meeting a glass door that provides access to the rear yard.

The kitchen is placed within the double-height central core, rising up to meet more of the glass-inlaid blocks to create a clerestory window arrangement near the ceiling. All original cabinetry and appliances remain with the exception of a modern refrigerator. 

In one of two bedrooms, a Wright-designed bed, night stands, upholstery, and built-in desk remain. All furniture is included with the sale of the home.

Philippine mahogany paneling continues into the master bathroom, one of two full baths in the home. Several of the embedded glass blocks were used to brighten both sides of the space.

A 264-square-foot annex is located near the rear of the lush .73-acre lot. The open space could be used as a guest house or studio.

A look inside the detached structure. More glass-inset blocks brighten the small space, staged only with a few pieces of Wright-designed furniture.

A view from the back edge of the lot. Aside from electrical updates, a new roof, and other minor repairs overseen by historical professionals, the home remains in remarkably original condition.

117 Heather St in Manchester, New Hampshire, will be officially listed in early October for $850,000. For more information, visit the listing website or contact Paula Martin of the Paula Martin Group at Keller Williams.

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Find out how to submit to Dwell.

Save
Get the Dwell Newsletter

Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design.

See a sample