Already no stranger
to constructing low-impact abodes for the descendants of iconic American visionaries, modern prefab powerhouse Blu Homes
has unveiled a precision-built beauty for a client with a surname that even architecture unsavvy folks will recognize: Wright.
The Wright in question would be documentary filmmaker Tim Wright, grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Before I get to the home, a quick refresher on the sometimes complicated Wright family tree:
Tim Wright’s father, Robert Llewellyn Wright, was the sixth child born to the scandal-prone proto-starchitect and his first wife, Catherine, in 1903. Robert Wright, who went by Llewellyn, was an attorney who lived in the Washington D.C. area with his wife Elizabeth and their three children. And while Frank Lloyd Wright did
design a family home for his youngest son, the concrete block Usonian dwelling
in West Bethesda (one of only two Wright-designed structures in Maryland) wasn’t completed until 1957, two years before his death. Following the deaths of Llewellyn and Elizabeth Wright in 1986 and 2005 respectively, Tim Wright's older brother, Tom, took over the home. He plans to pass it on to his own children.
As for Boston-based Tim, he also maintains a home on 112 acres of land in bucolic southwestern Wisconsin, not too far, of course, from Taliesin, his granddad’s summer studio and primary place of residence near the village of Spring Green. The site of a tabloid headlining tragedy that rocked the nation in 1914 and two major fires, the Taliesin estate is a National Historic Landmark District and serves as the summer campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture
where Wright serves as a professor in Visual Literacy. Wright’s wife, Karen, is a board member of Taliesin Preservation
One would think that Tim and Karen Wright’s Wisconsin residence, a Balance model from Blu Homes, would receive an enthusiastic thumbs-up from the Master himself.
With an emphasis on expert craftsmanship, innovation, and the blurring of exterior and interior living spaces, the home, like much of Wright’s finest works of organic architecture, is designed to meld harmoniously into the landscape around it. And true to Wright’s style, glass walls, clerestory windows, radiant floor heating, and an open floor plan play heavily into the design. The roof of the Balance, however, is mercifully not flat.
While the Wright Balance is no doubt an elegant and unfussy beauty, in the end it’s all about what’s outside of it:
The Wrights chose the Balance model in part because it perfectly complements their property in Wisconsin. Located in an area untouched by glaciers, the region is characterized by a beautifully sculpted topography, which includes forests, valleys, streams, wetlands, and prairie. The Balance model’s generous use of glass windows and expansive sliding glass doors under a double angled, protective roof create both prospect and refuge.
Tim Wright provides a nice blurb for Blu:
The Balance was the Blu model that suited our needs the best . . . it’s a beautifully crafted house, and it’s so reassuring to know that the person designing your house is also manufacturing it, and is going to deliver it with a crew of talented people who will put it up on site. In addition, it was enormously stress relieving to know in advance what the home would cost. Looking back, we could not be happier to have chosen Blu to design, build, deliver and erect our home.
Coinciding with unveiling of Tim and Karen Wright’s Balance model in picturesque Jones Valley, the Vallejo, Calif.-based company has launched a next-gen update of the hugely popular original Balance design called Balance Vista
. Geared specifically for larger lots with even bigger views, the two- or three-bedroom Balance Vista offers 2,212-square-feet of living space complete with soaring 16-foot ceilings, a wall of glass doors, and a flexible layout. It starts at $465,000.
Just one week ahead of the launch of Balance Vista, Blu Homes also unveiled its first new home design for 2014: the Breeze Aire
. Starting at $350,000, Breeze Aire is the most affordable model in the higher-end Breeze family
and was directly inspired by the work of late, great California real estate developer Joseph Eichler who, as the story goes, was hugely influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and lived
for a spell in a late-era Wright home. The architect responsible for designing Eichler’s original Modernist tract homes, Robert Anshen, was himself a disciple of Wright.
And similar to the Balance garnering acclaim from the grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Breeze Aire received a positive response from the grandson of Eichler: "This is an extraordinary expression of the best of California design traditions,” said Stephen Eichler of the home.