The Porter Butts House was designed by William Kaeser, a prominent local architect and noted Wright contemporary.
The College Hills Historic District, part of the woodsy Shorewood Hills neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin, is known as containing the most architecturally significant collection of residential buildings in the area.
So named because of its historical home to many professors from the nearby University of Wisconsin, the College Hills district is essentially a survey of architectural styles—from Arts and Crafts, Prairie School, and Craftsman, to Period Revival, Modern, and International.
Most homes in College Hills were built by prominent local architects in the early-to-mid-20th-century. One such property at 2900 Hunter Hill, historically known as the Mary Lou and Porter F. Butts House, was built in 1936/37 by William Kaeser. An admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, Kaeser was quoted around this time as proclaiming his own intent to "return [architecture] to its organic and creative basis."
While not a student of Wright's Taliesin School of Architecture, Kaeser focused on incorporating many of the same organic principles into his own designs. Specifically, Kaeser focused on blending his homes with their natural environment—including the Butts home, which was designed to wrap around an old oak tree and frame views of the heavily wooden .38-acre lot.
In 1937, the Butts home was reportedly referred to as one of the first 'modern' houses in the Madison area. With interior walls clad in wood paneling and expansive windows overlooking lush greenery, the home is reminiscent of a tree house both inside and out. Scroll ahead to see more of the 2,500-square-foot home, which is currently listed for $900,000.