I was introduced to Frank Lloyd Wright in my teens or early 20's after watching a PBS documentary. It showed his Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and the compound. I was mesmerized by it and was never really attracted to architecture before.
It was decades later that I actually visited Taliesin West and I keep going back. The funny thing is, I really don't care for the small rooms and his furniture, but I was drawn to his building into and with the earth, trying to blend in as much as possible. I'm still delighted by the acoustics in his very red Music Pavilion.
Although I was first attracted to Taliesin West, I learned to have an interest in the man himself. He certainly lived a colorful life. I was sad to learn that the still-active architectural school, renamed the School of Architecture at Taliesin, has recently been shut down.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Norman Lykes House in Phoenix is Up for Sale
This is a 3,095 sq. ft. house with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a 2-car carport (no garage), and a built-in pool. It is located atop Palm Canyon subdivision with beautiful views of the valley below. You can grab this piece of history for $7,950,000. That comes with an annual tax bill of $13,019 based on 2020 figures.
This house was originally built in 1967 and was his last design. The home is also referred to as the Circular Sun House because of the circular design meant to blend in with the land around it. It has been described as a work of sculpted art.
I looked back to see prior sales history because I was surprised at the current price. I can only find some information dating back to 1994, where it was shown as being part of an estate. Actually, it showed the estate information in 2012, but the same owner's name in 1994. I'm not sure what happened, but the current sellers bought it at auction.
In 2016, it was put up at a price tag of $3,600,000. It stayed on the market at that same price without a buyer for 274 days. The listing agent got one extension since the Phoenix house didn't close during the original listing agreement. It was canceled at 274 days without a sale. It appears it still belonged to the estate.
In 2017, whoever was handling the estate listed the Lykes house with a different listing brokerage and agent at a price of $3,250,000. It was on the market without a price reduction for 138 days before it was once again canceled.
Then in 2018, it was listed with yet a different brokerage at the same price it didn't sell for before - $3,250,000. It was on the market for a total of 669 days and either at the beginning or sometime during the listing, it went to auction. This time, during almost 2 years, there were some price reductions as follows:
- 11 months after this listing, it was reduced to $2,985,000.
- 6 months later it dropped to $2,650,000
- It stayed at that price from May until November of 2019, when it finally sold for $1,677,500! That is a 48.4% reduction of the final, reduced list price!
It appears that these buyers bought it to flip, because they are now trying to sell it for $7,950,000. I realize it's an active Seller's Market in the Phoenix area, but this unique, historical house couldn't sell for much less, so I'll be keeping my eye on this one.
The listings I was able to see mentioned that it was remodeled in 1995. I'm not sure how you remodel a house like this with such history. I can't see the interior photos from previous listings, but the current listing shows a typical Frank Lloyd Wright house with his iconic wood and fabric furniture. A prior listing did mention that the furniture was included.
It's funny to see a big screen TV on top of one of his built-in cabinets. I'm not sure if an automatic dishwasher was included with the original house, but it could have been. It is now stainless steel, which blends in with the fully stainless steel countertops. I wonder what the original refrigerator was back in 1967. Now it is a large built-in side-by-side stainless refrigerator and freezer, with separate doors. They almost look like a smaller version of a Sub-Zero fridge/freezer.
So I don't know what the current owners did. I know it can cost a lot to bring a historical home to its original glory. I just don't know what was done in 1995 to compare with today. I have not conferred with the listing agent.
You can see the partial view of Phoenix in the upper left of this photo
Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
The Norman Lykes House in Phoenix is registered with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. They don't have any control over these historic homes, but they do offer resources and referrals to guide these homeowners on the preservation and maintenance of these historic treasures.
They appear to have every Frank Lloyd Wright-built home on their website and it is very interesting. I grew up in a southwest suburb of Chicago and I knew we had some of his homes, but there are a lot more than I knew about.
The Booth Summer Cottage in Glencoe, IL
Just last year I read an article about the sale of the Booth Summer Cottage, which is not the same as the Booth House. The cottage is where the Booths stayed until their house was built.
The buyers just wanted the land and were planning on razing the house! It was small and outdated and they had no interest in restoring it or using it in any way.
Thank goodness the Glencoe Historical Society decided to step in move the house off of the sold lot. They are building a foundation for it and will reopen it as a museum and research center.
You Can Spend a Night in a Frank Lloyd Wright Building
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservatory has a list of his buildings that can be rented out for a hotel stay, weddings, banquets, etc. I checked the price for 3 days at one of them, and it was over $1,000 for 2 people.
Nothing appears on the list for Arizona, so the only place to visit would be Taliesin West in Scottsdale, which is now open to the public after being closed due to Covid.
If you'd like to view the Lykes House in Phoenix, you will need to provide a pre-approval or proof-of-funds, and I'd be happy to take you on the tour. Give me a call at 480-877-1549.
I can also show you homes in Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Cave Creek, Carefree, Fountain Hills, and Paradise Valley.Posted by Judy Orr on