Ferdanand Tomek House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1907

Posted by George Pudlo on May 9, 2011 at 9:19 PM Comments comments (0)

Ferdanand Tomek House
150 Nuttail Road
Riverside, IL 60546

The Ferdanand Tomek House is located in Riverside, IL, just a few blocks away from the Avery Coonley House. The Tomek House was built a year before the Coonley House, in 1907 and is a fully mature Prairie Style House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Tomek House rests on a beautifully landscaped yard and features all of the elements of a fully mature Prairie Style house. It rests on a concrete water table, has art glass casement windows, stucco exterior, dramatically cantilevered low hipped roofs, and a low profile with horizontal lines. Large, concrete planters are horizontally streamlined with the rest of the structure. Perhaps the only atypical feature of the Tomek House is the front door that is prominently displayed on the front of the house, which breaks the strong horizontal lines of the front side of the house. 

Avery Coonley Playhouse, Frank Lloyd Wright 1912

Posted by George Pudlo on May 9, 2011 at 8:58 PM Comments comments (0)

Avery Coonley Playhouse
350 Fairbanks Road
Riverside, Illinois 60546

After designing the Avery Coonley House for the Coonley family in 1908, Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Avery Coonley Playhouse a few blocks away in 1912. As with most Frank Lloyd Wright structures, the house is incredibly modern for its time. Approaching one hundred years old, the Avery Coonley Playhouse doesn't look a day over fifty! Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Coonley Playhouse as a kindergarten for the Coonley's daughter and other neighborhood children. The art glass windows of the Coonley Playhouse feature one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most well known designs with a pattern based on balloons and confetti, very festive for the intended use of the structure. The windows of the Coonley Playhouse are now all replicas, the originals having been removed in the middle of the 20th century. Many of  the originals can be seen in museums, such as the Art Institute which prominently displays one of the Coonley Playhouse windows near its main entrance. The colored side of the art glass windows face the inside of the house, while the outsides that face the exterior are white.

Avery Coonley House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1908

Posted by George Pudlo on May 9, 2011 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Avery Coonley House, living room wing

Avery Coonley House, living room wing

Avery Coonley House, side view of living room wing with pool area

Avery Coonley House, bedroom wing

Avery Coonley House, mosaic detaling

Avery Coonley House, Gardener's Cottage

Avery Coonley House, Stable

Avery Coonley House, central courtyard between all buildings of the complex

Avery Coonley House

281 Blooming Bank 

Riverside, IL 60546


The Avery Coonley House is much more than just a house -it is an entire complex designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908. It is similar in complexity to the Darwin Matin House. The Coonley House is located in Riverside, Illinois, a village worth visiting on its own for its historic distinction. The village of Riverside is one of the oldest planned communities in the United States, dating back to the early 1870's. Riverside was designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted -designer of both Jackson Park (fairgrounds of the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893) and Central Park in New York City. Driving through Riverside is a step back in time, magical and animated in both its layout and historic character. The streets of Riverside wind and crisscross, forming small islands of houses and green space; quite a contrast to the strict grid of nearby Chicago.


Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Avery Coonley House in 1908 for Avery and Queene Coonley, devout Christian Scientists. The complex is located on a small island, surrounded on all sides by curvilinear streets. At first glance, the Avery Coonley complex is hard to take in all at once. There is a feeling that this is much more than a simple house, but rather an entire cluster of interrelated buildings. The Coonley House is comprised of several different structures. The main structure of the Avery Coonley House is the living room wing located on Blooming Bank, behind that on Scottswood is the separate living room wing. The Avery Coonley Complex also includes a separate stable and gardener's cottage that have since been converted into private residences. The bedroom and living room wings of the Coonley House are now two separate residences.


Tall privacy walls extend around the Coonley complex, disguising a central courtyard with a small pond and sculpture garden. The backsides of the Coonley living room wing, Coonley bedroom wing, gardener's cottage, and stable form the interior space of this private courtyard. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Coonley House in the Prairie Style, complete with low hipped roofs, art glass windows, overhanging roof eaves, and so on. The landscape of the Coonley House was incredibly designed by famous landscape architect Jens Jensen.


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