Sunday, July 22, 2007

kraus haus

Frank Lloyd Wright's Russell Kraus House

17 July 2007

Dear Grama,
Had a lovely weekend and I thought of you all the while – I so wish you could have been there. Even more: I wish you and Bompa could have both been with us. We made the drive down to St. Louis, Missouri – which is about four and a half hours from Chicago – to see the home of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Kraus.

The Krauses commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design their home in the 1950s, and he delivered blueprints for a lovely little house, perfectly appointed, designed down to the light fixtures and furnishings. All for $3,500. (Quite a bit back then, I suppose.)

The dominant wood that runs through the home is Redwater Tide Cypress (very hard to get after the second World War, apparently), the prevailing motif is the parallelogram (Wright was fond, as you know, of incorporating a theme into his homes – even the bed in the Master Bedroom of the Kraus home is in the shape of a parallelogram) and the home is set in a grove of lovely, slim persimmon trees.

persimmon grove

The touch that I think Bompa would have especially enjoyed was the way the cabinet doors – all of them – were hinged with piano hinges that ran all the way from the top to the bottom of the doors. A good thing, too, because as it turns out the radiant heat, installed under the floors in the home, would have warped the heavy-duty plywood cabinet doors if they hadn’t been fully supported in the way that the piano hinges made possible.

Kraus Haus

The home is owned by the county who received it as a gift from the private organization that purchased it from Mr. Kraus about half a dozen years ago. (Mrs. Kraus died some time ago, but Mr. Kraus is still alive and well.) The non-profit looks after the house now and opens it only for privately arranged appointments – they were kind enough to accommodate us when we called.

Wish you could have been there. I’ve enclosed some picture postcards – I hope you enjoy them.

I love you, Grama. Thinking of you and holding you close in my heart.

Your granddaughter.

The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park
120 North Ballas Road
Kirkwood, Missouri 63122
To schedule a tour call 314-822-8359

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