Earlier this week Ellen and I had an opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do….visit a private Frank Lloyd Wright home. The opportunity presented itself when a friend arranged for us to see the Thomas E. Keys home in Rochester, MN. Mr. Keys was a librarian at the Mayo Clinic. He contracted to have his home built in 1950. The home incorporates both Wright’s cantilever roofs, as well as his use of earth berms.
The home is owned by a retired Mayo Clinic physician. He and his family have lived in the home for decades. They clearly have a true love and respect for the home. At one point as his family was growing he looked for other larger homes in the area…but the pull of the Wright home was strong. He ended up hiring architect John Howe to convert the carport to living area and add a thoughtful addition to the rear of the home. He also constructed a detached garage on a portion of the property.
The current owner has large size plans showing the initial design that attracted Mr. Keys to the home style. Mr. Keys had the design modified to suit his needs and the Rochester site. I enjoyed viewing these designs and seeing the original sketches for the home.
The home has many lovely art glass windows all along the east side of the dining area. With the full, bright sun streaming through these windows it was indeed a remarkable sight.
The interior living areas of the home remind me of the design style of Wright’s Taliesin West offices and school in Scottsdale, Arizona. The main living area has a vaulted ceiling. The kitchen, dining and living room all flow nicely together. The open porch area off the living room has been enclosed with windows to provide more year round use. Typical to so many of Wright’s houses, the home includes extensive interior wood trim and custom furniture.
Rochester has three Wright homes. With my interest and enthusiasm for Prairie Style homes, it was a real treat for me to be able to tour this Wright home.