Bloody Disgusting!

The Iconic ‘House on Haunted Hill’ Mansion Just Hit the Market in California

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It’s always fun to imagine living inside of an iconic horror movie house, which is why we always like to report on such locations going up for grabs. The latest, brought to our attention by Variety , is the mansion from William Castle’s original House on Haunted Hill , which was actually also featured in Blade Runner .

The 6,000 square foot house, with four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, is located in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood, and it was built in 1924 by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright. The house is highly unique both inside and out, with the exterior being featured in House on Haunted Hill and the interior playing the role of Deckard’s apartment in Blade Runner .

Variety details, “ Positioned high on a .83-acre hillside parcel with cinematic views that sweep over the city, the main residence and guest quarters atop a detached garage — originally designed as a chauffeur’s apartment — together measure somewhat more than 6,000-square-feet with four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. The landmarked residence has been featured in dozens of films, television shows, fashion shoots and music videos including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twin Peaks and, most famously, 1982’s Blade Runner .”

“ An exceptionally, almost dizzying long interior loggia with a mausoleum-like marble floor links multi-level interior spaces that feature the same textured blocks as the exterior along with delicately geometric leaded glass windows and hardwood floors ,” the site continues. “ The airy living room has a shimmering, mosaic-tiled fireplace and the cathedral-esque dining room offers a soaring, exposed-beam ceiling, another fireplace and a cleverly framed view of the downtown skyline through a frameless corner picture window. There’s also an intimate library, a black and white tiled vintage kitchen restored to functionality and, discretely tucked on a lower level, a games/screening room with open fireplace and curved bar .”

The mansion was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1994 but was subsequently restored, at great expense to its most recent owner. The current price tag? A staggering $23 million .

Check out a full gallery of inside and outside photos over on Variety .

the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

Photo Credit: Hilton & Hyland

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Writer in the horror community since 2008. Editor in Chief of Bloody Disgusting. Owns Eli Roth's prop corpse from Piranha 3D. Has four awesome cats. Still plays with toys.

the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

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Frank Lloyd Wright's Striking Pop-Cultural Legacy

150 years after the architect was born, the Ennis House is a testament to his continued influence—particularly onscreen.

Ennis House

The apartment of Rick Deckard in Blade Runner . The titular House on Haunted Hill , where Vincent Price’s character invites guests to survive a night of frights and win a fortune. The penthouse setting of Twin Peaks ’s faux soap opera “Invitation to Love.” The Great Pyramid of Meereen, prominently featured on Season 6 of Game of Thrones .

These TV and film settings span decades and genres, from science fiction to horror to fantasy. But they have one crucial connection: They all either filmed in, or were directly inspired by, one private residence in Los Angeles: the Ennis House, built in 1924 by Frank Lloyd Wright. Stone-colored and covered with intricately patterned tiles, it looms imperiously from atop the Los Feliz hills—and, as the Historic American Buildings Survey described it in 1969, “appears from the distance as a tremendously large monument rather than a two-bedroom dwelling.”

Wright, who was born 150 years ago this year, may have gone too far with the Ennis House; it’s a dramatic, not particularly inhabitable example of how far he would go in his experiments toward developing regional styles. But as a paean to striking grandeur, it has had a beguiling effect on its viewers. And it’s a remarkable example of why, nearly six decades after his passing, Wright is still considered the preeminent American architect, who has been described as “a mass of contradictions” but also as “a maker and mirror of the American century.” The Ennis House is a mostly unconsidered piece of that legacy, but incorporated into pop culture again and again it serves as a peculiar and living testament to Wright’s unique contributions to the visual landscape—in real life and onscreen.

On the cusp of building the Ennis House, Wright was in an unusual place professionally. The architect’s career was seemingly secure. He had made a name for himself in Chicago, winning important contracts and making bold statements, like Unity Temple in Oak Park. But large-scale success eluded him. By the early 1920s, Wright was returning from a multi-year stay in Japan and hoping to establish an office in Los Angeles. He was already using the practices he’s best known for, now referred to as “organic architecture”: the blending of indoor and outdoor, transitions between rooms bursting from small spaces to vast halls, modular building elements, unique patterns for each project that integrated ornamentation into construction, and the use of local materials and colors.

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At this point, it was almost a decade before Wright would build Fallingwater—the private residence in the western Pennsylvania woods dramatically cantilevered over a waterfall that would finally put him on the cover of Time and permanently in the national spotlight. To his great frustration, Wright wasn’t being offered the most prominent projects available. To remedy this, and because he saw an immense opportunity, he began creating houses in Southern California with his son, Lloyd Wright, and Rudolph Schindler, an Austrian architect. Refining his ideas with each project, Wright sought to create a regional style, taking into account everything from LA’s weather to the latest architectural trends and techniques.

Los Angeles was attractive to Wright for several reasons. The city’s rapid expansion presented a chance for the architect to indulge a growing interest in urban planning. Both Wright and his son had contacts in LA’s film industry, and he hoped to leverage them into new work. According to Merrill Schleier, a professor emerita of art and architectural history and film studies at the University of the Pacific, Wright corresponded with the directors Cecil B. DeMille and Preston Sturges, as well as actors like Charles Laughton. Wright had already explored blending interior and exterior spaces, too—his compound in Wisconsin, Taliesin , was built into a hillside, seamlessly incorporating a loggia and gardens—and sunny California seemed like a natural venue to experiment further with outdoor living.

Wright looked south for inspiration, too. Mayans and other pre-Columbian societies built intricately carved stone structures and enormous, stepped-back pyramids. They also had a rich ornamentation featuring jungle animals and gods. In the 1920s, as Art Deco began to take off, copying Mayan designs was becoming popular with American architects. Wright wanted to incorporate some of those elements in a way that would emphasize LA’s topography and climate, and that was affordable and replicable throughout the region.

the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

The architect thought that an experimental construction technique with concrete—already a relatively common building material, and available in do-it-yourself form for use at home—might be the key. He didn’t particularly like concrete, writing in his autobiography that it was “the cheapest (and ugliest) thing in the building world.” But he did understand the material’s potential and challenged himself to make it beautiful, posing the hypothetical, “Why not see what could be done with that gutter-rat?”

For his new LA projects, Wright developed a system to mold the concrete with metal and knit it around a steel lattice—literally making it into a textile—at the construction site. The blocks were 16-inches square and about four inches deep. They were faced with a Mayan-influenced geometric pattern, and buff-colored, like sandstone. In each of his California houses, from Hollyhock to La Miniatura to Storer to Samuel Freeman, Wright refined the technique. But the first time Wright used the blocks to full effect was in the Ennis House.

In Blade Runner , Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, returns to his apartment, which is clad in Ennis-style textile blocks . The interior set was created by production designers who made a foam mold of the Ennis blocks, then built the walls and ceiling of Deckard’s cramped and dark apartment using the dummy blocks. The effect is impersonal, near-alienating; it’s the perfect futuristic interpretation of a Chandlerian noir detective’s office. (The only footage actually shot on location at the Ennis House is an exterior shot that sees Ford wrapped in a blanket, staring out at a sci-fi Los Angeles, circa 2019.)

Wright’s bold vision may have worked well for Blade Runner , but ultimately Ennis fails at its primary real-life function: being a home. It’s just not suited to everyday living. The house’s unusual windows, inset between rows of blocks, diffuse the bright California light and accentuate the interior’s eerie quality. Some ceilings are as high as 13 feet, making for rooms that can feel cavernous.

Kenneth Breisch, an architecture professor at the University of Southern California, says Ennis is in line with Wright’s other textile-block homes in LA, including the Samuel Freeman House (which Breich is responsible for the restoration of). “I’ve spent a lot of time up there with students,” he notes of Freeman. “It’s cold and damp in the winter. It’s not well heated. And it’s hot in the summer. They’re not very comfortable houses, really, in the end. You’re living in a concrete box, basically.”

According to Schleier, even Wright, an architect who unabashedly iterated on the same idea from project to project, acknowledged that he might have missed the mark with Ennis, saying in a 1954 oral history:

I built the Storer house up on a hill—it’s a little palace. It looks like a little Venetian palazzo. Then I built the Freeman house, and then there was finally the Ennis house, which was way out of concrete-block size. I think that was carrying it too far—that’s what you do, you know, after you get going, and get going so far, that you get out of bounds. And I think the Ennis house was out of bounds for a concrete-block house.

It’s hard to know exactly what Wright meant by “out of bounds.” For living in? For widespread public adoption? But decades later, a way in which Ennis was definitely in bounds was as a dynamic set for film and television. In Blade Runner , the house—and the facsimile version of it built for interior shots—is an ideal fit. It feels both futuristic and like it’s from an ancient civilization, a sensibility that Schleier, at the University of the Pacific, calls “archeological.” The geometric patterns on the textile blocks could be seen as Central American, or as reminiscent of circuitry. The blocks look both earth-wrought and machine-made, which they are. Through its specificity, the Ennis House has acted as a pop-cultural cipher: It blends into the multiracial future depicted in Blade Runner and as a lair for the undead in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In Buffy , the house serves as the Crawford Street Mansion, ostensibly an unoccupied Southern Californian mansion, which isn’t too much of a stretch. But in the Buffyverse, the house is a headquarters and hideout for vampires (first Angelus, and then Spike and Drusilla). As in Blade Runner , the production designers created a faux interior that would match the exterior of Ennis House. Logically, it’s another great match—from the outside, Ennis looks like a place that doesn’t get a lot of vampire-disintegrating sunlight.

the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

A production that uses the actual interior of the Ennis House to great effect is Twin Peaks , in its original two seasons. A cult masterpiece famous for its weirdness and ambience, Twin Peaks mostly takes place in the foggy darkness of the Pacific Northwest. The series’s interiors, as in the Great Northern Hotel, are typically timber, rugs, and antlers. For the show within a show, the cheeky soap opera called “Invitation to Love,” the director David Lynch and his crew chose to shoot on location at the Ennis House. The mansion’s concrete-clad rooms provide a useful contrast to help differentiate between the two settings, with Ennis serving as a splendidly Lynchian backdrop: creepy but credible.

Other factors contributed to the Ennis House appearing onscreen a lot. Proximity to Hollywood didn’t hurt, and later, the nonprofit responsible for the house at times needed to raise revenue. An earthquake in 1994 caused damage, but according to Breisch, “the textile blocks have always been a problem. They tended to erode.” Augustus Brown, the owner of Ennis throughout the ’60s and ’70s, made things worse by applying an epoxy to many of the concrete blocks that locked in moisture and exacerbated their deterioration.

In 2011, Ennis was bought by the billionaire Ron Burkle. Terms of the sale prescribe the rehabilitation of the building, and at least 12 days of public access each year. Burkle’s plans for the house, including its future use as a set, are unknown.

Regardless of the countless times the Ennis House has been immortalized on film, Wright’s textile-block structures were not the big break the architect was looking for. Hollywood contacts were not enough. Wright headed back east and would not build in California again for years. He would briefly go into bankruptcy the year after Ennis, taking him into the difficult years of the Great Depression.

Even before that period, as he was working on Ennis, Wright found his personal life in tumult, thrown into darkness: In short order, his mother died, he married his partner, and then they separated because of her morphine addiction—all before he finished Ennis. It’s possible that these events influenced the way the house was built. Breisch points out the stark difference between the plans for Ennis and those for Doheny Ranch, an ultimately unbuilt Southern California suburban development. Of the latter, he says, “It’s just shortly before [Ennis], but before a lot of the problems that he had. It’s still sort of Mediterranean, and optimistic in a way.”

Intentionally or not, then, Ennis may be Wright’s darkest project. The architect always carefully planned out how visitors would approach his buildings, but few are as imposing to the viewer as Ennis. “You drive for a ways,” says Breisch. “On these curving roads, up to the canyons, and then you kind of come around a big curve and you’re looking at the other side of the house, from the roadway. It kind of looms in front of you. It is an experience just getting to the house.”

the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

The house is somber in other ways, as well. While the architect’s knowledge of the Mayans was superficial and arguably appropriative, perhaps he knew—he was always careful with the small details—that they typically used their temples as tombs. That built-in mood, more than anything, may explain the success of the Ennis House: It could fit any bill as a location, as long as it was home to monsters, villains, or anti-heroes. Though many kinds of movies and shows used it as a setting, pulpy, genre projects in particular gravitated to its unusual cinematic possibilities.

But just as Wright aestheticized and embellished concrete, experimenting as he went, films and television shows recontextualize the Ennis House for their own purposes, too. As video production technology continues to evolve, the uses of Ennis become even more abstract. Deborah Riley, a production designer on Game of Thrones , has said that the Great Pyramid of Meereen is based on Wright’s textile-block houses. The show’s interior scenes are mainly shot in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but Riley and other designers created sets in the style of Ennis, with help from computer-generated visual effects. And so, for an exterior shot featuring Daenerys Targaryen on a terrace of the pyramid—nowhere near Ennis, but inspired by it—the stone got a once-over in postproduction that turned it into that familiar, patterned concrete. The textile-block houses, in various states of disrepair, live on through the recycling of the ideas they’re built on. Nearly a century in, Ennis house is just getting started.

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House on Haunted Hill (1959)

The slumber party begins: (L-R) Julie Mitchum, Alan Marshal, Vincent Price, Richard Long, Carolyn Craig, and Elisha Cook Jr.

It’s a very straightforward film, but efficiently designed and executed, like the stately, severely right-angled Frank Lloyd Wright home which stands in for the titular haunted house (it also featured in Blade Runner ). At the outset, we sit in the darkness of the theater listening to sounds that could be coming from any Halloween sound-effects tape: screams, creaking doors, moans, rattling chains; then the head of character actor Elisha Cook Jr. ( The Maltese Falcon , The Killing ) drifts toward us Zardoz-like. He introduces himself as Watson Pritchard, the owner of “the only real haunted house in the world,” which has claimed several lives, including that of his brother. “I only spent one night there, and when they found me in the morning, I was almost dead.” (If you’ve ever read Richard Matheson’s Hell House , or seen the film The Legend of Hell House , this character and his story might seem familiar. Matheson’s excellent novel borrowed liberally from both this film and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House , published the same year Castle’s film was released.) Price, as the millionaire Frederick Loren, takes over narration duties; he gets to be a floating head too, lucky guy. He explains that he and his wife have invited a small group of strangers to spend an evening at “the House on Haunted Hill,” to meet up at midnight. He introduces the cast one at a time, as they’re conducted to the estate in hearses. In addition to Watson Pritchard, there’s Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig), a pretty young employee of Loren’s company; Ruth Bridges (Julie Mitchum), a newspaper columnist writing an article on ghosts; David Trent (Alan Marshal), a psychiatrist; and cocky test pilot Lance Schroeder (Richard Long). All of them have been lured by what seems to be easy money: survive one night in the house and Loren will award each of them $10,000. They’ve never met Loren, nor do they understand his motives, but they’re in desperate need of the money.

Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) trades insults with his bitter spouse, Annabelle (Carol Ohmart).

But we know that Frederick Loren has been making death threats to Annabelle, his fifth wife, which she is returning in kind. They seem less concerned with the prospect of murderous ghosts, and more with trying to survive another evening of hate-filled marriage. After some Taming of the Shrew -style exchanges of frosty wit in the bedroom, Frederick goes downstairs to introduce himself to his guests, pour some hard liquor, and begin a tour of the house conducted by Pritchard. The house has no electricity, and after midnight the caretakers will lock them inside; to further up the ante, Frederick gives each of them a loaded gun which arrives in a cute little coffin-shaped box. When the party heads down to the cellar, Pritchard displays a trap door which leads to a pool of acid. Nora nearly falls in, so it’s a wonder that she lingers in the dungeon with Lance when the others go upstairs. As the two begin exploring the adjacent closets and rooms, a door suddenly slams shut between them, Lance is knocked unconscious, and Nora watches all the candles in the room flicker out one-by-one, before she sees an eerie-looking woman with white hair and white eyes drifting toward her out of the darkness. She screams and runs for help, and Lance is shortly rescued, nursing a bad bruise. Refusing to learn their lesson, a few short scenes later and Lance and Nora are exploring the basement alone again . They’re once more separated, and Nora now comes face to face with the ghostly woman, who sneers at her from a few inches away. She screams, and when Lance reaches her a moment later, the old woman is gone. Not to worry: when they return upstairs, they learn that Nora’s ghost is actually just the blind wife of the caretaker; we can only assume she’s given to wandering around in the cellar with the acid pool, lurking in closets and jumping at strangers, just for kicks.

Not a ghost, but an incredible simulation: the blind caretaker.

Here’s the thing: as utterly ridiculous as this sequence of events is – I love it. It has a nightmare logic which is perfect for young, impressionable kids who have no idea how absurd and silly this all is. That Nora is left alone twice, and that on the second occasion the hideous spectre she glimpsed from a distance is now suddenly right before her, bad-breath-close , is just the kind of campfire folklore that drives straight to the center of the nervous system for every bedwetter daring to watch the film between sweaty fingers. But William Castle has a few more tricks up his sleeve. First Frederick’s wife Annabelle is found hanging from a noose in the stairwell. (That’s right – someone manages to laboriously rope her up in the most heavily trafficked section of the house, and nobody witnesses this.) After her corpse is tucked back into bed, the haunting really moves into full swing. Nora is chased from one corner of the house to another, and finds herself at the end of her rope – literally. She witnesses Annabelle’s ghost lurking outside her bedroom window, and one end of the cord that hanged her moves, animate, into Nora’s room and wraps itself around her legs. Later she finds a bloody head in her luggage, and a cobweb-covered organ that plays its own ghostly tune; she even has to fight off a monstrous hand that grasps at her from around a corner. In other words, she’s in a carnival funhouse: always the atmosphere that William Castle revels in. We soon learn that Annabelle is still alive, anticipating that the hauntings hide her escape with her lover, psychiatrist Dr. Trent.  She’s also planned to have her husband murdered at the hands of Nora, who’s been driven to manic hysteria, and shoots Frederick as soon as she sees him. (That this plan actually works is as ludicrous everything else in the picture.) But after it seems that Frederick’s been dissolved in the acid bath, the undead millionaire rises as a walking skeleton. The skeleton chases Annabelle into the acid, and Frederick emerges from the shadows, operating the device with strings: the great puppetmaster. Nora’s gun, it seems, was deliberately loaded with blanks. Frederick has triumphed over his fifth wife after all.

Dr. Trent (Alan Marshal) discovers the body of Annabelle.

Castle had initiated his series of famous marketing gimmicks with his previous film, Macabre , in which life insurance policies were issued to the audience members in case the film scared them to death. For House on Haunted Hill , he decided to make the moviegoing experience more interactive. He introduced “Emergo,” a one-of-a-kind technique that would never be utilized again. When Vincent Price’s skeleton appeared onscreen at the film’s climax, a glow-in-the-dark skeleton was dangled on a wire over the audience’s heads. William C. Wind, a witness to Emergo, wrote to DVD Talk’s Glenn Erickson in 2005, describing the gimmick thus: “As I waited for House on Haunted Hill to start, I noticed a small black booth that had been mounted by one end of the screen. The booth was painted black, with a black curtain on the front. From the booth, a thin wire could be seen leading up to the opposite end of the balcony (I was seated downstairs). When the big scene began and Vincent Price began cranking, a skeleton emerged from the booth and slowly climbed up the wire toward the balcony. Immediately, all the teenage girls in the audience (and some of the boys) began screaming in mock horror.” As cheesy as the technique was, showman Castle received such great publicity that he immediately began plotting a topper – an escalating series of theater pranks which would secure his reputation: The Tingler, 13 Ghosts , Homicidal , and so on. After The Tingler , Price formed a new partnership with a different kind of huckster: young Roger Corman, who initiated a lucrative series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations beginning with House of Usher (1960). I imagine it was a grand time to be a frightened young child.

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Discover the Filming Locations and Haunted Houses of Classic Horror Movies

By Elizabeth Stamp

While nothing is quite as scary as the murderous or supernatural characters in horror movies, often the settings can come very close. Directors such as John Carpenter and Wes Craven have long had a knack for choosing locations, particularly houses, that provide the perfect backdrop for murder and mayhem. Many of the homes, such as Frank Lloyd Wright ’s Ennis House, are either famous in their own right or iconic thanks to their time on the big screen. As Halloween approaches, AD looks back at the homes from some of the most popular horror movies of all time.

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House on Haunted Hill

Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Ennis House in Los Angeles has been featured in many Hollywood productions, from Blade Runner to the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The 1925 landmark made one of its earliest and best-known appearances in William Castle’s 1959 film House on Haunted Hill, where it was used as the exterior of the titular home.

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In the 1982 movie, the Freeling family moves into a home in a California development only to find that it is haunted by ghosts. The exteriors were shot in a split-level house in Simi Valley, California.

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The Amityville Horror

While the real-life home that inspired the book and 1979 movie is in Amityville, Long Island (and currently on the market), the film was shot at a colonial-style home in Tom’s River, New Jersey.

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The Haunting

Based on Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House, Robert Wise’s 1963 movie follows a group of people investigating paranormal activity. The production filmed at the Ettington Park Hotel, a Gothic Revival mansion in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

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Michael Myers terrorizes Haddonfield, Illinois, in John Carpenter’s 1978 movie. The homes of both Myers and protagonist Laurie Strode, whose home is shown here, are located in South Pasadena, California.

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The Exorcist

William Friedkin’s 1973 horror flick brought William Peter Blatty’s novel about the demonic posession of a 12-year-old girl to the big screen. The film takes place in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood, and a brick house in the area was used for the exterior shots of Chris and Regan MacNeil’s home. (The movie’s famous staircase is located nearby.)

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Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven introduced the world to Freddy Krueger and the fictional town of Springwood, Ohio, in the 1984 slasher film. Character Nancy Thompson’s home at 1428 Elm Street is actually located in Los Angeles.

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Sensitive to Art & its Discontents

Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models Let You Build the Miniature Guggenheim of Your Dreams

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Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models: 14 Kirigami Buildings to Cut Out and Fold (courtesy Laurence King Publishing)

With the recently-released   Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models: 14 Kirigami Buildings to Cut Out and Fold   from  Laurence King Publishing , you can build tiny models of Fallingwater, the Guggenheim Museum, and Taliesin West. There are also templates for some of  Frank Lloyd Wright’s  lesser-known structures, such as the Mayan Revival-style Storer House , constructed in the 1920s with textile blocks, and even one Wright failed to realize himself: the  National Life Insurance Building designed for Chicago with 25 stories of copper panels.

Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models: 14 Kirigami Buildings to Cut Out and Fold (courtesy Laurence King Publishing)

Cover of Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models: 14 Kirigami Buildings to Cut Out and Fold (courtesy Laurence King Publishing)

It was that unbuilt model that I decided to tackle from the book by Marc Hagan-Guirey. A kirigami and paper artist, he previously authored the 2015 Horrorgami , with models of haunted houses and scenes from horror films. (The Ennis House, setting for the 1959 film  House on Haunted Hill , is in Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models , for a bit of crossover.)

Kirigami is distinct from origami, as it uses both cutting and folding. Many of the details for the Wright models are already die-cut, with lines and thorough instructions for the rest. However, the kirigami is definitely challenging, and although I have some origami skill (or at least can make a decent crane and horse), I quickly mangled the paper into a mess of unstable folds.

After failing, like Wright, to build the National Life Insurance Building, I would recommend having a very sharp X-Acto knife, self-healing cutting mat, and time for concentration. Don’t just rush in with the dull blade sitting around your office, using cardboard from an old box, and try to complete one among the noisy din of a workday (this is now from experience). Nevertheless, even though I was not successful with my first attempt, I did enjoy how the craft caused me to spend time thinking about each line of the architecture, considering Wright’s decisions in its angles and perspectives. Much like my experience with  Zupagrafika’s Brutal London paper models  (which I had an easier time with, blocky Brutalism being a bit more straightforward for folding), the model created a tactile connection with this building.

Along with the model templates,  Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models  has brief texts and photographs of the real place. So if you finish, say,  Unity Temple  or the Robie House, you can compare them to the original, and see how Hagan-Guirey engineered their forms into paper.

Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models: 14 Kirigami Buildings to Cut Out and Fold (courtesy Laurence King Publishing)

Folding a model from Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models: 14 Kirigami Buildings to Cut Out and Fold (courtesy Laurence King Publishing)

Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models: 14 Kirigami Buildings to Cut Out and Fold (courtesy Laurence King Publishing)

Frank Lloyd Wright Paper Models: 14 Kirigami Buildings to Cut Out and Fold  by Marc Hagan-Guirey is out now from  Laurence King .

Allison Meier

Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print and online media since 2006. She moonlights... More by Allison Meier

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haunted house

The Heinous Crime & Haunted House Story of Frank Lloyd Wright

Taliesin/tan-y-der spring green, wisconsin.

Screen Shot 2019-08-10 at 11.33.32 AM

When it comes time to explain why some homes are priced below $50,000, OHU50K often sees comments like, “Look at those orbs in the photos,” or “It must be haunted.” Whether one believes in ghosts or not, most everyone loves a good haunted house story.

In celebration of Halloween, this month we are featuring some of the most famous haunted houses stories in the country. Let’s make it clear. These homes are NOT for sale.

When you think of Frank Lloyd Wright, you naturally think of great architecture. You don’t associate him with a heinous crime and a haunted house. But a scandalous affair and a grisly massacre is just what this haunted house story is about.

In 1903, Frank Lloyd Wright’s wife, Catherine, introduced Martha “Mamah” Borthwick Cheney and her husband Edwin Cheney to Wright when the Cheney couple decided to commission a new house. No good deed goes unpunished, however, because soon after, Wright and Mamah started an affair. Cheney divorced his wife and received custody of their two children. Catherine refused to agree to a divorce, but that didn’t stop Frank and Mamah. Wright abandoned his wife and six children, and in 1911, he began construction of Taliesin where the couple moved in together, a highly immoral act in those days.

Screen Shot 2019-08-10 at 11.49.15 AM

On August 15, 1914, while Wright was in Chicago on business, Mamah, her two children, eight-year-old Martha and five-year-old John, along with a group of Wright’s draftsmen and laborers, were being served lunch in the dining room by Barbados native, Julian Carlton. Earlier in the day, he had been reprimanded by Mamah. As related by 19-year-old draftsman Herbert Fritz and his table mates, “We heard a swish as though water was thrown through the screen door. Then we saw some fluid coming under the door. It looked like dishwater. It spread out all over the floor.” Carlton had poured gasoline though the locked doors, and the dining room was engulfed in flames.

According to the August 16, 1914 edition of The Detroit Tribune , Mamah, in an attempt to escape the flames, was the first to put her head out an open window. Carlton, waiting outside, wielded a hatchet to cut her neck and crush her skull. He then systematically did the same for each person attempting egress from the burning house. Seven people were massacred, including Mamah, her two children, two workers and a 13-year-old boy. Two survived but were badly injured.

Screen Shot 2019-08-10 at 12.49.16 PM

The Aftermath

Carlton was found hours later after the attack inside the basement furnace of the house. He had swallowed muriatic acid and was barely conscious. He never suggested a motive for the massacre and died from self-inflicted starvation eight weeks later.

Screen Shot 2019-08-10 at 11.41.49 AM

Talisin Part 2

Taliesin was destroyed, but Wright rebuilt it in Mamah’s honor. Apparently, the Gods did not look fondly on the new incarnation of Taliesin either, as the home was struck by lightning in 1925 and was burnt to the ground a second time. Third rebuild was the charm.

Screen Shot 2019-08-10 at 12.49.41 PM

The Hauntings

Right after the murders, the bodies were taken to a cottage on the grounds called Tan-Y-Deri. It is here where the ghost of Mamah purportedly resides. Usually dressed in a flowing white gown, she is a peaceful presence but appears restless and lost. Doors, windows and lights have been known to open and close by themselves. Groundskeepers who lock the cottage up for the night, have reported finding doors and windows wide open the next morning.

the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

Mamah’s gravestone

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Sherry Hood

Such an interesting and scandalous story. You never hear anything about Wrights personal life, just all the praise for his architecture.

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Ennis House

Ennis House

The last and largest of Frank Lloyd Wright’s four “textile block” houses was designed by the father and built by the famed architect's son Lloyd.

After the Ennis House was partially restored by the nonprofit Ennis House Foundation, the iconic residence was purchased and fully restored in 2011.

the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

Place Details

  • Lloyd Wright,
  • Frank Lloyd Wright


  • Preservation Award Recipient

Property Type

  • Single-Family Residential

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  • L.A. City Council District 4, Councilmember Nithya Raman
  • Private Residence - Do Not Disturb
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the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

Ennis House, 2014 | Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

The Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by his son, Lloyd, is the last and largest of the elder Wright’s four “textile block” houses in the Los Angeles area. These homes are noted for their patterned and perforated concrete blocks, which give a unique textural appearance to both the exterior and interior.

Built for retailer Charles Ennis and his wife Mabel, the home and chauffeur’s quarters span over 6,000 square feet. They are constructed of more than 27,000 concrete blocks, all made by hand using decomposed granite extracted from the site. The home’s unique appearance has made it a popular filming location for TV and movies, including  The House on Haunted Hill  (1959),  Blade Runner  (1982), and the television series  Buffy the Vampire Slayer .

Charles Ennis passed away in 1928, only a few years after the house was completed, and Mabel Ennis sold the property in 1936. The house passed through several owners, including radio personality John Nesbitt, who hired Wright to renovate the property in 1940. Lloyd Wright converted a basement storage area into a billiard room and designed a swimming pool for the north terrace.

By 2005, deferred maintenance, earthquakes, and heavy rains had taken a toll on the Ennis House. Foundations and walls had begun to fail, and the situation grew so dire that the National Trust for Historic Preservation included the home on its 2005 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places. Work to stabilize and restore the house began in 2006, earning a Conservancy Preservation Award in 2008. It is currently a private residence.

For inquiries about visiting the Ennis House head to  or email  [email protected] .

The Conservancy does not own or operate the Ennis House. For any requests, please contact the Ennis House directly at (323) 660-0607.

About This Place

Our position, october 2019.

The Ennis House was sold again to new owners, as reported in Variety . It is now a private residence and owners should not be disturbed.

Business executive Ron Burkle purchased the house and over the next few years completed the full restoration of the Ennis House.

Following stabilization work and initial work to restore the Ennis House, the Conservancy recognized the effort with a Preservation Award.

November 2005

A conservation easement is placed on the Ennis House, protecting the house in perpetuity whereby the Conservancy will ensure the house is maintained and preserved in the future, despite any subsequent ownership changes.

In nonprofit ownership and operation for many years, the Trust for Preservation of Cultural Heritage was renamed as the Ennis House Foundation. Deferred maintenance, earthquakes, and heavy rains had taken a toll, with foundations and walls beginning to fail, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation included the Ennis House on its 2005 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places .

Following its purchase and ownership by Augustus O. Brown, it became known as the Ennis-Brown House.

Media personality John Nesbitt purchased the Ennis House, an engaged Frank Lloyd Wright to return to the property to add a pool on the north terrace, a billiard room on the ground floor, and a modern heating system.

The Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by his son, Lloyd, is the last and largest of the elder Wright’s four “textile block” houses in the Los Angeles area.

the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

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In the news.

  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House sells to Ron Burkle for $4.5 million, LA Times, July 16, 2011
  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s fully-restored Ennis House is for sale for $23 million, Arch Paper, June 29, 2018

The New York Times

T magazine | the house that love built — before it was gone, the house that love built — before it was gone.


For Monica Vitti, Eileen Gray and Frank Lloyd Wright, their homes were the culmination of passionate affairs. And the places they ended.

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SOME OF MY FAVORITE STORIES are stories of houses. “The Spoils of Poynton,” about a house full of beloved antiquities. “Rebecca,” about a house haunted by a first wife. Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt”: a house that takes over parenting. I love James Lees-Milne’s stories of National Trust houses, postwar stories of houses built on dynasties and coming apart. Then there is the special house, the one built on love, for a muse, a mistress, an adored spouse. In Virginia Woolf’s brief masterpiece “A Haunted House,” the ghosts are content, the walls of the house thrumming with whispers of peace, a happy marriage.

But so, too, can a house be haunted by a disappointment, by expired love, curdled, lending an imperceptible perfume to the halls and rooms. It is the whiff we catch at open houses and estate sales, whose occupants have divorced. According to 1 Corinthians, love is patient, love is kind. According to Joy Division, love will tear us apart. What happens when a couple outgrows a house, when they wake in a beloved room to realize they don’t belong there, that they’ve been living an illustration of a dream?

My friend Niklas Maak, a writer and architecture critic, took me to a house on Sardinia where the actress Monica Vitti once lived. The house, called La Cupola, was designed and built by the Italian architect Dante Bini for Vitti and her then boyfriend, the director Michelangelo Antonioni, in the late ’60s. Vitti was in her late 30s, Antonioni was in his mid-50s. Together they had made “L’Avventura,” “La Notte,” “L’Eclisse” and “Red Desert.” I brought my watercolors and paper. As we drove up the Costa Paradiso, he explained that the current owners were journalists in Naples. The house was barely used, renovations were expensive. The electricity was shut off.

It was beautiful. It was a wreck. It blistered on the rocky hillside: a perfect dome, gray weathered concrete and granite connected by a bridge to an eroded staircase. The day was warm and bright, the interiors were crumbling and stuffy. Some rooms contained odd bits of dusty ’60s Italian modern furniture, bright-green glazed tiles and faded taupe cushions. An Italian paperback copy of Patricia Cornwell’s “Cause of Death” was left on a kitchen countertop. Looking around the main room, it was easy to imagine Vitti stepping carefully, cinematically, barefoot down the banister-free staircase that Antonioni built to watch her descend. But by 1972, Vitti and Antonioni were at the end of their affair. I climbed the stairs to the master bedroom. The old mattress on the bed was covered in blue flowers.

As I sat down at a massive built-in dining table and laid out my watercolors I snapped at Maak, for some perceived slight. He snapped back. We bickered. He stalked out. A moment later Maak returned to the room accompanied by six strangers. They had scaled the gate and come to look at the house, too. One was the Italian Modernist architect Alberto Ponis, 83, impeccably dressed in a white safari suit and pink cravat, and his wife AnnaRita. Two were Texan, the others were German. One of them mistook me for the owner. All of us were trespassing. It was vintage Antonioni.

Maak and I flew out of Sardinia that evening, compiling a list of residences built on the foundations of love. They included Bini’s La Cupola, Eileen Gray’s E.1027 and Taliesin, by Frank Lloyd Wright. Maak pointed out that in every case the love affairs lasted just three years after the houses were completed.

AT THE NORTHERN END of the Costa Paradiso, a run-down 1970s-era vacation town in Sardinia, a concrete dome juts out from the granite cliffs, surrounded by a jungle of rock roses, gorse, olive trees and pines. Most summer tourists on the narrow coast road take little notice. But in the early 1970s, it was the setting for the love affair between Vitti and Antonioni.

The idea for the dome started with the architect Bini, who had acquired a patent for what he called a “Binishell” in 1964: a building technique that involved a house-size plastic balloon and a metal scaffolding. The balloon was covered with concrete and then inflated. When the concrete hardened, the balloon was removed and doors and windows cut into the dome. The result looked like a laboratory for eccentric experiments involving exotic magnetic forces.

The cupola functions as a labyrinth of inner and outer spaces. There are enough ideas packed into the concrete shell for two or three houses, which may have something to do with the fact that the house was envisioned by an architect and a film director. Architectonic and cinematic ideas of storytelling and space collide. The inner staircase is built of raw slabs of local granite jammed into the round interior wall. Negotiating them requires balancing, as if crossing a stream on slippery rocks. It seems a monument to danger and beauty — a theme in Antonioni’s work. Antonioni, at the foot of the staircase, could watch Vitti perform the balancing act required to get down the stairs, like a fetish scene.

A stair descends from the cupola down the red cliffs to the sea, where some say Vitti would swim naked. From the isolated cove, the house can’t be seen. Antonioni’s films have a nearly surreal precision in their approach to color and objects, as if he had ripped the milky filter off the lens to show things as they really are. In the house, everything was chosen for maximal sensory impact, including the plants, the furniture and the lighting. Aromas were emphasized: the smell of the cliffs from the open windows, of the chamomile that was embedded in the terrazzo floor, the rosemary in the interior garden. The sound of the waves is made more intense from within the silence of the concrete cupola.

Antonioni was fascinated by the writer Curzio Malaparte, who built himself a house on Capri at the end of the 1930s. Jean-Luc Godard used it as the setting for “Contempt,” starring Brigitte Bardot. Casa Malaparte is a place that intensifies physical experience to a nearly violent degree. When waves crash into the cliffs, the whole house shakes. But the cupola takes the opposite approach: It’s an observatory for things that are so tiny and unremarkable they might otherwise go unnoticed.

Vitti and Antonioni holidayed in the house for three years. In 1972, Antonioni met Enrica Fico on the Piazza del Popolo in Rome. She had been invited to stay in a commune there, and worked as an artist’s model. In 1974, Vitti met her future husband, the director Roberto Russo.

EILEEN GRAY WAS 51 YEARS OLD when she completed her first private residence. It was a white Modernist villa on a slope descending to the sea in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, a small village on the Côte d’Azur. Her lover, the Romanian architect and editor of L’Architecture Vivante, Jean Badovici, was 36 when they moved in, in 1929. The house was situated between the train tracks and the beach, among rocks and pine trees with a view of the bay of Monaco. Seen from the sea, it resembles a white yacht anchored behind reddish rocks. In designing the house Gray adopted a number of precepts formulated by the architect Le Corbusier in the mid-1920s. The structure stands on thin stilts, the windows form a horizontal band. Badovici was a close friend of Le Corbusier, and Le Corbusier and Gray knew each other from Paris. She was nine years Le Corbusier’s senior and one of the best-known furniture designers of her time. But Gray was the darker of the two. She was a close friend of the occult celebrity Aleister Crowley and had an open affair with the singer Damia. The two women cruised the boulevards of Paris wearing Lanvin, a panther curled up in the back seat of their car.

Though Gray’s house has a clinical air when seen from the outside (painted pure white like many early Modernist buildings), it is unexpectedly dim inside. The effect is of slipping into progressively deeper water, as one reaches the house’s most intimate corners, which are decorated in dark blue or black. E.1027, as the house is known, nods to Le Corbusier only at first sight. The spiral of the stairs, to Gray, represented both a physical form and metaphor — and she used it as a basis for a critique of Le Corbusier’s notion of the house as a “machine for living,” a phrase he had coined. A house, Gray once wrote, is “not a machine to live in. It is the shell of man — his extension, his release, his spiritual emanation.”

“The poverty of modern architecture,” she later added, “stems from the atrophy of sensuality.”

Gray’s house sinks into the landscape. It is emphatically not a living machine; it is not informed by hygienic brightness. It is packed with lovingly executed details, including a trolley for taking a gramophone outside. Shutters filter the Mediterranean light. Everything was made to contain love, even the name of the building. “E.1027” is code for an affair of the heart. The “E” stood for Eileen, the numbers corresponding to letters of the alphabet. (“10” for “J,” the tenth letter of the alphabet, referring to Jean. “2” for “B” [Badovici], and “7” for “G” [Gray].) Her name holds his.

But Badovici only occasionally used the house. Gray separated from him in 1932, left E.1027 to him and built herself a new house in Castellar. At Badovici’s invitation, Le Corbusier holidayed in E.1027 with his wife, Yvonne, and in 1938 to 1939 painted the interior walls with erotic murals. He called them “a gift” for his hostess, but Gray saw them as an act of vandalism, almost of revenge. Later, during World War II, German soldiers used the walls for target practice.

Badovici died in 1956. Le Corbusier, who had built himself a wooden shack, the Cabanon, within sight of E.1027, always wanted to acquire the house. Finally a friend of his, the wealthy Swiss gallerist and furniture dealer Marie-Louise Schelbert, bought the villa. Gray never returned to the house. Le Corbusier would drown in the sea near E.1027, in 1965. Schelbert’s gynecologist, Peter Kägi, a morphine addict, was murdered there in 1996. Over time, the house deteriorated. In recent years, E.1027 was restored and last year was made open to the public. The sea, seen from the windows on a bright summer day, looks remarkably dark.

TALIESIN WAS A REFUGE. In 1911, when Frank Lloyd Wright built this house near Spring Green, Wis., where his mother’s family had lived since the Civil War, he was persona non grata in Chicago, and so was the woman for whom he built the house, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. They had met in 1903 when Cheney’s husband commissioned Wright to build their new family home in Oak Park, Ill. The house was finished within a year, and Wright and Cheney began an affair. They kept it secret, but in 1909 they left their spouses and embarked on a trip to Europe. There, Mamah (now Borthwick again) worked on the English translation of “The Morality of Woman,” by the Swedish feminist and suffragette Ellen Key.

Upon their return, the couple’s story played out in the press. Their open, nonmarital relationship was already scandalous enough. That Borthwick was a combative, self-confident feminist was even more outrageous. Local newspapers accused Wright of bringing shame to the neighborhood. His professional reputation suffered considerable damage, and for years afterward, apart from one major project in Chicago, he received no significant commissions.

Wright decided to go to Wisconsin with Borthwick. He sketched a house in 1911 that had three wings, with spaces for work, living and agricultural pursuits. It was a typical Prairie School building, with a low-pitched roof with overhanging eaves, like a hat with the brim pulled down over the forehead to hide the wearer’s identity. Its form echoed the flatness of the plains, and the natural limestone outcroppings of Wisconsin’s Driftless Area plateaus. Like a cave dwelling, with a huge fireplace tracing an aesthetic of simple beginnings, the house combined the American pioneer idea of promise with a very personal story of self-renewal.

Wright built the house on a hill he had been fond of since his school days. He named it “Taliesin” after a Welsh bard. The word itself means “shining forehead.” From late 1911 onward he lived there with Borthwick.

In August, of 1914, while Wright was in Chicago, a staff worker named Julian Carlton set fire to the building and murdered Borthwick and her two children, who were visiting during their summer vacation. He also killed laborer Thomas Brunker, draftsman Emil Brodelle, gardener David Lindblom and Ernest Weston, the son of foreman William Weston. Wright eventually rebuilt and enlarged the property several times. He designed his famous Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum from Taliesin and, in 1940, the complex became part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Wright died in 1959.

In 1968, Deep Purple put out a record called “The Book of Taliesyn,” featuring a cover of the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out.” It begins with a quote from the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, a monument to careful confidence.

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You’re in the Wright Place!

California , Film Site , Mayan Revival

Ennis house (1923).

ennis house

Frank Lloyd Wright had designed the first of his California homes in 1909. Built in 1910 and located in Montecito, the design was a 5,000 sq, ft. “summer cottage” for Emily and George C. Stewar t. His third design in the state (there were 24 in all) was a home for Charles and Mabel Ennis. Designed in 1923 by Wright and built by his son, Lloyd in 1924, the home is located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

This house is privately owned and not available for tours.

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2655 Glendower Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Through its almost 100-year existence, the house has the interesting distinction of appearing in countless Hollywood productions (more than 80, according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation). If you have seen Blade Runner, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Black Rain, Twin Peaks, The Karate Kid Part III, House of Frankenstein or House on Haunted Hill (a favorite Vincent Price vehicle), you have seen various shots of the Ennis House. See below for additional movies.

The exterior of the building is constructed from 27,000 precast and intricately patterned “textile” blocks ion a post-and-lintel system – also called a trabeated system – of horizontal beams held up by columns / posts. decorated in a Mayan revival style. The interlocking and delicately decorated blocks suggest Wright may have been greatly inspired by Mayan architecture.

The Ennis house is the last and – at 6200 sq. ft. – definitely the largest of Frank Lloyd Wright’s four “textile block” houses in the Los Angeles area. Charles Ennis passed away in 1928, only a few years after the house was completed. His wife, Mable sold the property eight years later.

From Architectural Digest (October 17, 2019): “After a little over a year on the market, the unique 6,000-square-foot residence—also known fondly as the Blade Runner house—was recently purchased by an unnamed buyer for $18 million, making it the most expensive property designed by the legendary architect ever sold.”

Movies Filmed on Site

There are a number of movies and music videos that have been filmed in Wright’s Ennis House over the years. The movies are listed below in chronological order and have links to Amazon where may trailers are available to watch for free or the movie may be rented or purchased. Some are also linked to YouTube. You can view our YouTube channel at

This page may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure about affiliate links here .

Female (1933) Ruth Chatterton, George Brent

House on Haunted Hill (1959) Vincent Price

The Day of the Locust (1975) Donald Sutherland, Karen Black, Burgess Meredith

Blade Runner (1982) Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah

Black Rain (1989) Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Kate Capshaw

The Rocketeer (1991) Billy Campbell, Alan Arkin, Jennifer Connelly

Grand Canyon (1991) Steve Martin, Danny Glover, Kevin Kline

Ricky Martin music video, Vuelve (1998)

The Thirteenth Floor (1999) Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Dennis Haysbert

Fuel video of the song “Bad Day”

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Yvonne Carpenter-Ross

Flw enthusiast & webmaster.

Architecture and home design have always fascinated me. As a young girl I enjoyed drawing floor plans, rearranging my parent’s furniture and playing with Lincoln Logs and Legos.  My passion has always been the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Since I have been old enough to drive a car, I have visited Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the Chicagoland area and attended the Wright Plus house walks. Now, as co-owners of Northern Sky Designs , my husband & I are able to combine our website design skills and FLW travels to bring you this website! Enjoy!

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House on Haunted Hill

A millionaire offers ten thousand dollars to five people if they last all night trapped in the haunted house he rented for the party he's throwing for his fourth wife. When you consider that the millionaire is played by Vincent Price and that the film is directed by Schlock master William Castle, you can bet that everyone's in for a long, bumpy night! This super shocker of the century was a smash hit upon its 1959 release. For architecture buffs, the home used for the exteriors of the haunted house was actually designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1924!

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the house on haunted hill frank lloyd wright

Travels & Treasures

Travels & Treasures

Authentic Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tour Review

Posted: September 1, 2023 | Last updated: November 25, 2023

This Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio tour review is long overdue. After living in Oak Park for over 20 years, I finally got around to taking the tour and I have much information to share.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was founded in 1909. Its mission is to preserve and promote the works of the famous architect and manage several of the properties that he designed including Taliesin and Taliesin West.

Among his most famous designs in the Chicago area are The Robie House, The Rookery, Unity Temple , and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.

There are many Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the United States that you can visit, of which several are located in Oak Park . Among the most popular is his home and workplace which operates as a museum today.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tours

There are three guided tours available that range from $15 to $30 per person.

Home and Studio Interior Tour

This is the most popular tour for Oak Park visitors. You’ll have guided views of the architect’s home and work studio. The duration of this tour is about 1 hour.

  • When:  Every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Where:  Oak Park, Illinois
  • Visit:  Tickets start at $20,  Tickets

For the best chance of starting the tour at a desired time, purchase your tickets in advance. I walked in and purchased tickets at the counter and had to wait about 20 minutes for the next available tour.

Check availability for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tour

Outdoor Historic Neighborhood Audio Tour

This tour may be the best for those who are challenged with mobility and want to see the famous architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. The duration is about 1 hour.

Interior Tour + Outdoor Historic Neighborhood Audio Tour

This is a tour of the home and studio’s interior. Afterward, you’ll use a hand-held device to take a self-guided audio tour and walk in the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District to learn about some famous homes and architecture in the neighborhood. The duration of this tour is about 2 hours.

The audio tours start at early at 9:30, so there is plenty of time to grab breakfast at one of the Oak Park restaurants nearby .

The Tour Review

What to expect.

While I waited for my tour to begin, I browsed the gift shop for unique items to gift. This is one of the best places to pick up souvenirs of Frank Lloyd Wright .

The tour is led by a local who is passionate about the heritage of Oak Park and the legacy of Frank. They spill bits of interesting information and give plenty of opportunity for personal photos.

On the home and studio tour, we visited the restored interior spaces, which feature Frank’s architectural style elements such as long horizontal lines, natural materials, and open floor plans. You can literally stand and one room and see 2 or 3 others.

Noteworthy spaces in the home include the main living area showcasing his philosophy of integrating interior and exterior space, and the children’s playroom decorated with Wright-designed furniture and art glass.

The drafting studio is where Frank developed innovative designs, like Unity Temple, the Robie House, and several Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the area. The ground floor was used by him and his students. There is also an upper balcony with stunning art glass and an octagonal ring that holds the roof in place.

Interesting Facts

  • Frank Lloyd Wright practiced architecture for 72 years.
  • The building was once reconfigured to house 7 apartments.
  • Frank built his studio around nature; there are remnants of a tree growing through a wall.
  • The entire family of eight shared one bathroom.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Parking

Only street parking is available, and it is easy to find nearby.

On Forest Avenue, 2-hour parking is available from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. There is limited parking on Chicago Avenue which is close to the home and studio.

Things to Know Before You Go

Because the building is historic, it is not ADA-compliant. The home and studio have 19 steps ascending to the second floor for which half the tour takes place. The outdoor audio tour is the best option for wheelchair users.

The tours are in English. However, there are printed translations of information regarding the tour that you can request at the start of the tour.

Nearby restaurants like Cooper’s Hawk are just a 5-minute walk away to pause for a lunch break .

Photos are allowed in the interior structures, but videos are not. There are no free admissions, regardless of age, and children under 8 years of age are not permitted to enter.

Final Thoughts on the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tour

I can’t believe it took me this long to visit this place. It was worth every dime and provided an intimate look into the personal life and career of Frank (he feels like an old friend, now).

The tour was incredibly inspiring and has me adding more Oak Park stops to my bucket list. If you are planning a visit to this charming town.

Need help planning your stay in Oak Park? Take the guesswork out of planning and use our 2-day Oak Park itinerary from a local to make the most of your stay. Oak Park hosts the most amazing outdoor events that you won’t want to miss.

Safe travels.

exterior of frank lloyd wright home and studio

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