Home > Architecture & Urban Design, Design, People, Things I Like... > Island for sale (includes a Frank Lloyd Wright house)… or does it?

Island for sale (includes a Frank Lloyd Wright house)… or does it?

December 4, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

If you have a spare $20 million dollars and are looking for a new home, you might be interested in this…


Petre Island is a heart shaped piece of land, approximately 11 acres in size that sits in Lake Mahopac, about 50 miles north of Manhattan and for your money you not only get the whole island, but your very own Frank Lloyd Wright House as well…

petre1Sounds like a bargain, except not everything is exactly as it seems… The island, the price and its availability are all real enough, it’s the Frank Lloyd Wright house that seems to be the issue.

FLW did design a house for this island back in the 1950’s, when the owner asked for something that would surpass Wright’s most famous house, Falling Water (from 1937). Unfortunately the owner at the time couldn’t afford to build Wright’s vision, and so settled instead for a small cottage.

Roll forward to 1996 when the island was bought for £770,000 by a new owner who was determined to realise the original FLW scheme. He approached the FLW Foundation, and ended up suing them after they claimed copyright of the original designs and wanted to charge more than half what he had paid for the island to use them. The courts found in the new owners favour and with the help of an FLW expert and some 3D software, he set about converting the single finished floor plan, a perspective and a handful of elevations into a best interpretation of Wrights’s vision, claiming upon its completion in 2007, that it was “within two inches of Wright’s original design”


Except that not many people agreed with him. Without the great Frank Lloyd Wright (who died in 1959) to oversee the project and work up the details, the resultant 480sqm building, although impressive in some regards, appears lacking and a bit thin in many key areas…



The biggest issues seem to revolve around wrongly shaped roof lights, chimney tops and more tellingly the inclusion of the existing rocks and landscape into the design. A trademark of FLW’s approach, this usually resulted in dramatic juxtapositions where the natural met the man made..  and looking at the photos here, there does appear to be something amiss.

There’s just not the detail and quality you would expect of a Lloyd Wright house. Compare the following images, the first one is from Petre Island, the second two are from the place it was supposed to surpass, Falling Water. Do I need to say more? The lumpen blue walls with the stones stuck into them and the unadorned fire place at the end of the room are surely enough to agree with the critics… let alone the everyday paneled ceiling and overlong, uninspired banquette…




Still it’s easy to be critical and if I had $20 million dollars (and US residency of course) I would definitely be going for a nosey around…

You can find more on this story here and here if you’re interested.

  1. December 4, 2012 at 20:17

    The blue wall with stones is hideous. Another great post Mr Blogs!

  2. SteveWhite2008
    January 16, 2013 at 11:50

    His houses are quite popular for use in Hollywood films, Bladerunner being a good example.

  3. April 10, 2013 at 22:48

    THIS IS FLIPING AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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