Starting the year Wright

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

Late last summer, my husband and I fulfilled our longtime dream of purchasing a Frank Lloyd Wright home in southwest Michigan, where we hope to retire in a few years. Like most homes that need repair or renovation, this one has its own lessons to teach. You can read my new essay online in The Christian Science Monitor. –CL

–Photo of the Carl Schultz house by Doug La Ferle–

14 thoughts on “Starting the year Wright

  1. What a wonderful dream to fulfill! A FLW house in our town came up for sale a few months ago. I did think–for a brief moment–what it would be like to grab that house, but it didn’t fit our lifestyle (or budget). I’ve always wondered who lives in those homes, and now I can imagine my friend in one. Congratulations–I’m sure every project will be a labor of love.

  2. Wow…. Wow….Incredible. I’ve always had a disdain for ranches (spending many growing up years on Long Island) but that is a gorgeous home! I’m so happy for you Cindy- it has such a feeling of peace to it. I’ve had a late start in life, being a modest Social Worker of very modest and solo means for so many years and we are the proud owners of our first home which has a pedigree back to the late 1800’s. This post set off so many thoughts I might just have to write about it!
    I’m sure you and your hubby will add your own special vibes and that will be perfection!

  3. Thank you! Starrlife, I would enjoy hearing more about your house dating to the 1800s. I hope you write about it on your blog. My first essay on renovating older homes, “Does Lurch Live Here,” was published in the Detroit Free Press and is included in Writing Home. It’s still one of my favorite memory pieces, years later, probably because it’s the one that helped me define my writing focus — home and family.

  4. I love that you describe your one home as “brooding”… Our homes really are like family members with their own personalities.
    I will look forward to an invite some day to the the new pad. 🙂
    Sounds magnificent. You two really know to live.

  5. I’m so happy that you’ve been able to make this dream come true and equally happy that you have entered into the project with eyes wide open. As you know, I grew up with three miles of “Frank Lloyd Wright Central” – Oak Park, Illinois. The area has plenty of his homes and we knew several families who resided in these structures. As you husband has noted, his homes are know for having “issues” and someone once said “I’ve never seen a flat roof that didn’t leak.”

    That being said, I’m excited that you are embarking on this incredible adventure. It will be a satisfying and interesting journey.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  6. Suzanne,
    I am smiling as I type this … sometimes I wish we DIDN’T know what we’re getting into with older houses. It would take a much longer essay to detail some of the things we’ve redone, repaired, reconfigured, or just plain put up with over the years! And we keep going back for more. Are we nuts??

    Still, we love love love historic architecture and the bumps and flaws (and charm) that go with it. Our hearts just don’t beat as fast when we’re in new homes. I’m sure we are “old souls.” 🙂 — CL

  7. Cindy-

    Congratulations on becoming the stewards of one of Mr. Wright’s creations. I’m sure your new home will bring you unexpected pleasures on a daily basis as you spend more and more time there. I live in Central Ohio, but I have been to St. Joseph and have seen the exterior of your home, and the setting is quite beautiful. You may already know that there is another Wright home in St. Joseph, as well as a third one in the neighboring town of Benton Harbor.

    I’m gong to include a link to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s Chat Board. If you have not been to this site before, I’m sure you will find it to be both enjoyable and very informative. There are a number of Wright homeowners who frequently post on this site, and they often offer and receive advice from one another. In addition, the more than 500 members of the chat board are extremely knowledgeable about all things Wright, and are eager to share their expertise with anyone who visits the site. Hopefully, you’ll have a chance to stop by the site sometime soon. If you do, you’ll see that we have already started a thread about your new home that was initiated by your recent CSM article.

    Sorry to ramble on so long. Congrats again and best wishes to both you and your husband as you begin your newest adventure.

  8. Another “wow” is what I can add to the posts on this lovely article. I bet anybody who reads it will want to move in with you and Doug!

    Congratulations on finding such a beautiful new home, but also on how you have solidified your heart’s desire and moved forward to embody that in an intentional, yet simple way. I’m sure Wright would be proud to be so honored. Kudos, as always, Cindy. You and your writing are a gem.

    All Love!

  9. Wonderful piece, Cindy! So happy for you both. This renovation project will have so much added depth because of the home’s history. A family friend and architect named one of his children Lloyd. Good thing it was a boy! I’m with Jan Lundy up above — will trade labor for a room.

  10. What fun you are in for. This is the next-best-thing to a grandbaby!! (Not that I would yet know, but downsizing and grandbabies go together in my someday life- plan!)

  11. Wow. Talk about exciting. I’ve always had a fascination with Frank Lloyd Wright – and it looks like you found a gem – and something that could not be more perfectly suited to you and your husband. I read “Loving Frank” a few months back – a fictional account of one of his relationships – and while fictionalized, I’m sure it made a fairly accurate representation of what he was all about. Congratulations!

  12. Cindy,
    Wow…you really kept this news quiet! When you move, I will miss visiting with you or chatting with you at a local coffee shop. But what an opportunity! I can understand why you’d move closer to your son.

    We like touring FLW buildings when we’re in Chicago, and I have a great interest in FLW’s ideas for use of space inside a home and for connecting the home to the land. I’m sure you and Doug will treat this as a historic legacy.

    I also love your nickname for the house. 😉


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