Archived Story

Frank Lloyd Wright home to have guests

Published 10:25am Monday, April 29, 2013

AUSTIN — A home in Austin designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright will open for guests next week.

A portion of The Elam House will be available for overnight rentals starting May 7. Previously, it had been the home of owner Peter Plunkett. He intends to run the operation under the business name The Elam House LLC.

The Elam House in Austin was designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Its limestone was shipped from Spring Green, Wis. --Eric Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune
The Elam House in Austin was designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Its limestone was shipped from Spring Green, Wis. –Eric Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

The Elam House, 309 21st St. SW, was built by S.P. “Pearl” Elam, who commissioned Wright to design a home for him in 1950. The home was finished in 1951 and is the second largest Usonian home designed by Wright, according to Plunkett. Wright designed approximately 1,000 homes, 532 were built, and there are approximately 400 left standing. Thirteen of these homes are in Minnesota with four in southern Minnesota. Warren Plunkett purchased the home in 1959, and Peter Plunkett moved back into the home in 2006.

The Elam House will rent out its 820-foot Terrace Suite at $250 per night. The Terrace Suite is a bedroom with queen size bed, private bath, walk-in closet, living room and kitchen. The living room has a private entrance, dining area, TV and a large floor-to-ceiling fireplace. The kitchen includes a microwave, range, dishwasher, refrigerator, china and flatware. Videos and magazines on the life and works of Wright will be provided for guest use during their stay, Plunkett said. A patio surrounds the private entrance.

Rental guests will be able to enjoy a tour of the entire home between the hours of 7 and 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 to 11 a.m. on weekends, Plunkett said. Guests will also enjoy free wireless Internet, satellite TV, skating on the back yard ice rink (weather permitting), strolling around the entire yard to study the exterior architecture and relaxing on the private guest patio. Original architectural plans for the home will also be on display in the gallery. The three floor-to-ceiling fireplaces are a hallmark of Wright.

The Elam House is essentially in its original condition with the exception of limited countertop and flooring replacement. With more than 100 windows, some 9 feet tall and 3.5 feet wide, the home provides plenty of views of the outdoors. In addition, the home is finished in rare white cypress wood. The stone for the massive limestone piers was trucked in from a quarry near Spring Green, Wis., near Taliesin, where Wright lived. The stonework was meticulously done and is comparable to that of Taliesin, according to Plunkett.

The conditional-use permit granted in November 2012 by the Austin City Council provides for a maximum occupancy of three people, with a maximum of two guest vehicles in the parking lot at any time, no on-street parking, no smoking anywhere on site, no pets, no children under 12, is not available for guest parties or special events, and there are no food, liquor or gift sales.

Plunkett will continue to reside at the home, but only in a minority portion of it.

For reservations, contact Plunkett at 507-437-2845 (office); 507-437-8125 (Elam House) or 507-438-9503 (mobile). Visit the Elam House at www.vrbo.com/469243, or “like” it on Facebook by searching for “The Elam House Frank Lloyd Wright.”

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