A Modernist Weekend with Elizabeth Close and Frank Lloyd Wright… and more

It was an idyllic fall weekend, with fall colors on full display. The Minnesota Society of Architectural Historians fall tour featured two modernist homes on a dramatic hillside on Lexington Parkway in St. Paul. Both homes were built for landscape architect Marion Fry and her husband on an ‘impossible’ lot reminiscent of lots in the San Francisco area, where homes are perched on dramatic hillsides.

Their first house was build by Elizabeth Scheu Close at 641 Lexington in 1956. I love the way they both feel like ‘tree houses’. I think this was my favorite Close house I have seen. About 20 years later Marion Fry subdivided the property and commissioned a second house near the original home built by Jeri Zuber at 633 Lexington… one where she could age in place.

I remember showing this home about 20 years ago. It was designed specifically for Marion with no stairs… just an elevator! Some of the windows look out to the trees on the street side of the house, and others look out into the hillside on the back side of the house… all sides are surrounded by nature.

After leaving these houses I went on to an inspection of a home that my clients are buying in the hills of Golden Valley. We don’t know the architect, but it is stunning.

The next day the landmark Malcom Willey House by Frank Lloyd Wright was open for tours… I had only been waiting about 40 years to get in to see it and I wasn’t disappointed! The current owner has painstakingly restored it to be as it was originally intended. This home is known as the prototype for his Usonian homes as well as the birthplace of the open kitchen… I love how the corner window in the kitchen literally opens to the outdoors.

It was a fulfilling weekend… we are so lucky to have such interesting architecture in the Twin Cities!

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – shensrud@homesmsp.com

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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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