Frank Lloyd Wright & Midcentury Design: The Laurent House

The home Frank Lloyd Wright designed for owner Kenneth Laurent is seen Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. The home on Spring Brook Road in Rockford was designed to be wheelchair-accessible.

It has been many months since I last blogged about
Frank Lloyd Wright’s “little gem” right here in my
neighborhood of Rockford: THE LAURENT HOUSE.

The Laurent House, a midcentury masterpiece
built for Ken and Phyllis Laurent is now open to the public!

It was with joy I joined the ribbon cutting celebration
to officially open the architectural delight (the only property
designed by Mr. Wright to be accessible for its owner,
a wounded WWII veteran).

So many design details I could wax on about
after listening to members of the Laurent Foundation,
yet I’m most thrilled to hear the stories,
the human stories that surround the architect,
the Laurent family, and this restoration project.


Yours truly in Mrs. Laurent’s vanity mirror.


For example, the project came to be from a simple
letter Mr. Laurent wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright in 1948
requesting a sensible construction plan after seeing a picture
of a home by Wright in House Beautiful.


Mrs. Laurent’s vanity area in the master bedroom


How magical that the unique needs
(Ken had paraplegia) of an ordinary Rockford family
met the genius of Mr. Wright in a home which has
stood the test of time in terms of function and aesthetics!

The Laurent House is small yet lived beautifully large.


A bedroom in the Laurent House


The painted screens throughout the home are exquisite


As you may have surmised, the furniture is all original
and part of the overall design.

You’ll find tidewater cypress cabinetry
and radiant floor heating throughout the home.

Efficient and sensible furniture design.

A modest kitchen to be sure, with many subtle
understated details which keep it timeless.

Origami-shaped tables, hassocks, recessed lighting,
and a koi pond (flush with the back window wall)
which helps to cool the house in summer are
features which add to the quality and
longevity of the home.

So many accessible details inside, yet
the home’s brilliant construction
leaves no telltale signs the owner used
a wheelchair: lower light switches,
threshold-free doorways,
pull-down cupboard doors…
and this brings me to my favorite part
of the Laurent House:

b e a u t y  f u n c t i o n s  i n  h a r m o n y
within the setting and within the needs of its occupants.

There is no photography allowed in the museum,
so it is an honor to share these images
and a part of the Laurent story to encourage you
to make a trail to Rockford for this
fabulous project and museum.

I will share more about this Rockford gem shortly,
and if you are planning a trip to the Chicago area
by all means, plan to rendezvous here too.

Peace to you right where you are.

michele

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8 Comments

  1. June 17, 2014 / 12:23 am

    to be inside is to experience being inside a piece of important art with amazing positive energy leftover from the occupants!

  2. June 17, 2014 / 2:03 am

    I think that is a great idea to put the board inside. I might try it by adding one to the outside and one to the inside and screwing them together. Your room turned out so pretty and this rolling basket just tops it off so well.
    studio-with-gothic-style

  3. June 17, 2014 / 4:01 am

    Beautiful photos Michele, thank you for sharing your experience and tour of this wonderful Wright home.
    Vera

  4. June 17, 2014 / 8:54 pm

    What a treasure! FLW was such a master, this home feels like the outdoors is coming right inside! Thanks for sharing it!
    xo
    Holly

  5. June 18, 2014 / 4:26 am

    Wonderful project and story M. Thanks for sharing:) xxL

  6. June 18, 2014 / 3:34 pm

    Michele, how wonderful to have such a treasure in your backyard and I feel so fortunate to be able to take a look around via your wonderful photos. Thanks so much for giving us a peek! XOXO

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