For the first 20 years of Wright’s career, this remarkable complex served first and foremost as the sanctuary where he designed and executed more than 130 of 430 completed buildings. The home began as a simple shingled cottage that the 22-year-old Wright built for his bride in 1889, but it became a living laboratory for his revolutionary reinvention of interior spaces. Wright remodeled the house constantly until 1911, when he moved out permanently. During Wright’s fertile early period, the house was his showcase, but it also embraces many idiosyncratic features molded to his own needs, rather than those of a client. With many add-ons—including a barrel-vaulted children’s playroom and a studio with an octagonal balcony suspended by chains—the place has a certain whimsy that others might have found less livable. This was not an architect’s masterpiece, but rather the master’s home, and visitors can savor every room for the view it offers into of the workings of a remarkable mind. The Home and Studio offers two tours: the Guided Interior Tour explores the inside of the house and the career or Frank Lloyd Wright, while the Historic District Walking Tour is a self-guided tour pointing out different Wright properties and Wright-inspired properties in the neighborhood.
Advance reservations are recommended, especially during the busy summer months; you can book online or by phone (tel. 312/994-4000). Allow 1 hour for the tour, more time if you want to browse in the bookshop.