Own a Piece of Chicago Starchitecture!

As a child, I loved crafting — making jewelry, painting pottery, scrapbooking. And while I do still enjoy breaking out the ol’ glue gun in my adult life, my interests have turned to a very different type of Arts and Crafts — the architectural style made popular by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Last summer, I was fortunate enough to visit Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, where Mr. Wright designed a multitude of public buildings and private homes. As my mother will attest (sorry, mom!), I was sure to avoid missing a single landmark. One of these beautiful private residences, the Isadore H. Heller House, is now on the market. Let’s all engage in a collective swoon, because Arts and Crafts ain’t just for kids anymore!


The Heller House in the 1930s. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


The Heller House in the 1930s. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


The Heller House in the 1930s. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Located in the Hyde Park section of Chicago, the Isadore Heller House is a remarkable example of Wright’s shift away from the richly ornamented style of his mentor Louis Sullivan to the Prairie School (Arts and Crafts) style of architecture. Marked by geometric shapes and planes, horizontal lines, flat roofs with large eaves, windows grouped in horizontal bands, and integration with the landscape, the Prairie School sought to evoke native prairie surroundings. The Isadore Heller House clearly incorporates these elements, as well as other typical Wright details: intricate and colorful art glass windows, blocky massing, an Italianate plaster frieze depicting gowned maidens, and classically detailed entryways and columns.
The house, located at 5132 South Woodlawn Avenue, was constructed in 1897 for Mr. Isadore Heller, originally from Austria, and his wife Ida, originally from Wisconsin. It was built of Indiana Limestone and yellow Roman brick. The Isadore Heller house was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1971 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. In August of 2004, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Though originally placed on the market for $2.5 million in January 2012, the house’s asking price has since been lowered to $2.425 million. The home boasts seven bedrooms, original oak moldings and banisters, four fireplaces, an open floor plan, and an elevator to all three floors. Wright’s original interior color palette of earthy tones still exists. The third floor, which is thought to have originally been a “gentleman’s room,” is today a separate apartment. To get a glimpse inside, I may just have to tell my mom to put on her walking shoes and head back over to Chicago with me to check out this architectural treasure — or just scroll down to see the listing photos (all courtesy of Urban Search Realty)!
More photos can be found over at Urban Search Realty.
Dana Schulz is a writer and lover of urban exploration, culinary history, and, most of all, old houses. Her dream home would have a wrap-around porch to host dinner parties featuring tasty treats prepared in her vintage kitchen, complete with a farmhouse sink, retro refrigerator, and collection of milk glass containers.

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