The Future of Wright’s Blossom House Still in Question

Following the controversial debate over a proposed bed-and-breakfast in 2013, the future plans for the Frank Lloyd Wright George Blossom House, 4858 S. Kenwood Ave., have been a mystery.

The house, which Frank Lloyd Wright designed while working as a draftsman for Adler and Sullivan in 1892, was sold on September 30, 2014 for $675,000—a noticeably steep drop from its original asking price of $1,480,000 when listed on October 6, 2012.

According to Louisa McPharlin, a Coldwell Banker realtor and the listing agent for the house, the new owners have plans for the property.

“I am in touch with the new owners of the Blossom House and know that their plans are to restore the house,” McPharlin said in a statement.

It seemed to neighbors that the house would finally be getting the TLC it deserved when construction work began in October 2014, but as of June 2015, construction fences have been taken down and restoration seems to have been halted.

Chuck Thurow, a neighbor of the Blossom House who lives on Kenwood Avenue and who was strongly in favor of the proposed B&B, said, “I don’t know anything about the current condition of the Blossom House, except what one sees from the street. I understood they had a good preservation architect, but it looks like all work has stopped.”

The architect last known to be working on the house was John Eifler of Eifler & Associates. Eifler is known for his interest in restoring Frank Lloyd Wright homes, such as The Mary Adams House in Highland Park and The Balch (Pearson) House in Oak Park.

When reached for comment about his involvement with the house, Eifler said, “I am the architect of records for the house.”

Eifler refused to comment on the house’s current condition or any plans for its restoration.

According to an online forum on SaveWright.org, Eifler was still working on the house in March of this year. He posted photos of the house’s progress and said, “The garage is in pretty bad shape, but the plan is to put a new roof on and tackle the rest of the work after the house is done.”

While it appears not much progress is being made on the exterior of the house, there is documentation that the interior is getting reviewed and updated.

According to the Department of Buildings website, the Blossom House was approved for various reviews since the beginning of this year, including ventilation, electrical, architectural and fire.

There is a description of renovation which includes a minor addition to the house, as well as a confirmed permit by the owner on June 24, 2015, although the website does not go into detail about what type of permit was approved.

Nothing is confirmed on the future of the house, but its costly reparations could be why the process is slow.

Rick Szekely, a Redfin real estate agent who has been involved with selling Wright’s homes, said, “Frank Lloyd Wright homes have a well-deserved reputation as being expensive to maintain. As an example of the type of expense involved, the last client I represented who was selling a Frank Lloyd Wright home paid $100,000 just to update their interior trim prior to selling.”

The current owner of the Blossom House could not be reached for comment.

[Via: Hyde Park Herald]

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