The Ennis House is for sale. This is amusing: I just saw this house in the first episode of the third series of the Venture Brothers. It popped up in another movie I watched a few months ago - "Female," a 30s film about a female corporate exec. (That's a still atop this post.) It was used in “Blade Runner,” and “Day of the Locust,” a day-brightener of a movie based on an equally depressing book, even though one of the main characters is named Homer Simpson. All in all, one of the most famous houses in America. You’ve probably seen it.
And now, a confession: I don’t like it. I like most of Wright’s stuff, including the bay window he designed for a house in my neighborhood - a little-known piece of Wright’s work - but the constant use of Mayan patterns everywhere makes the house look as if it has a skin disease.
We had another famous Wright house around here, out in Wayzata. This account of its fate has a key line:
However, by the late 1960s the Stevensons had grown weary of the challenges of living in a Wright-designed house. The large size of the house, rising property taxes, built-in furnishings that could not easily be changed, and many uninvited visitors became too much for them.
The challenges of a living in a Wright-designed house. You hear that a lot. Spectacular to tour, but after a while, actually living there become fraught with a hundred small annoyances. You can almost imagine a patron humbly asking Wright if he might make that chair, well, movable, instead of built right into the wall? In case they wanted to put something else there, some day? Then would come the Wright Stare, and the patron would shrink. Of course, sir. Please forget I said anything about it.
P.S. Interesting to note that the demolition of the house was partly due to property taxes. Wonder if they'd be cut a break today. Would you be happy if your neighbor had his property taxes cut because the house was historic? Of course not; they'd never do it. If art had to be destroyed because the owners couldn't pay the annual tax, well, c'est la vie