Here’s a cute story that softens Wright’s reputation as being an arrogant and reckless hot mess: In 1956, 12-year-old Jim Berger wrote the architect who designed his family’s home in San Anselmo, Calif., if he would be so kind as to also design a backyard shelter for his beloved black lab, Eddie. The architect in question, an 88-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright, was busy overseeing the construction of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and implored Berger to write him later in the year when his schedule was less hectic. “I may have something then,” Wright wrote. When Berger followed up several months later, Wright decided to indulge the youngster by sending him a set of drawings outlining the design of Eddie’s triangular kennel.
As the story goes, Berger himself never built the Wright-designed doghouse, but his father and younger brother went about constructing it in 1963 (Eddie apparently wasn’t too fond of it and preferred to sleep by the front door of the main house). Ten years later, the recently widowed family matriarch, Gloria Berger, unloaded “Eddie’s House” at a local dump because she “didn’t see much value in it.” Ouch. However earlier this year, the only Wright-designed doghouse was reborn when Berger, now in his late 60s, rebuilt the structure according to Wright’s original plans and took it on tour with “Romanza,” Michael Miner’s documentary about Wright-designed homes in California.