See the Stunning House From Frank Lloyd Wright's Last Apprentice

Frank Lloyd Wright’s talented apprentice, Arthur Dennis Stevens, echoes the iconic master's angular play of light, shadow and tiered spaces in this 6,000-square-foot Riverwoods home.
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August 21, 2015
By: Francesca Robin

Photo By: Prudential Rubloff

Photo By: Prudential Rubloff

Photo By: Prudential Rubloff

Photo By: Prudential Rubloff

Photo By: Prudential Rubloff

Photo By: Prudential Rubloff

Front Yard

Built in 1981 on 2.7 woody acres in a suburb outside of Chicago, this 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath is gaspably stunning. Begin with a theatrical entrance of undulating steps, miles of windows revealing a glowing interior, big timber, big stones, carved wooden double front doors and mature planters. Landscape and design firm Brickman Group was tapped for a Gold Award from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association for the exterior and interior designs. The home’s concept centers around five distinct interconnecting “pods.”

Family Room

The main pod. To the left of this family room is the kitchen, divided by the huge indoor boulder garden and voluptuous 29-foot rubber tree in 1,600 square feet. The entire house has this warm harmony composed of grounded and airy elements, which seems a contradiction at first: feet on the ground, head in the clouds. But the effect is one of unity. Notice how the masonry of the chimney penetrates a supporting line to the canopied cedar wood ceiling that rises 39 feet.


Custom built-in cherry wood cabinets and a beautiful stone garden bed that serves as a divider. Natural light flows unobstructed from the windows banking above. The granite and Caesarstone countertop island with storage and anchoring black stools is a trademark of this architecture school: form and function of the space and the objects. Stevens designed much of the furniture for the home, including pieces in the dining room and master bedroom suite.

Master Bathroom

It's shaped like a wood carving. Here, the skylight diffuses and filters, giving a muted coloration. Just walking through this space — from the encased bath and curved faucet, to the square porcelain twin sinks and the glass-enclosed shower (with a tiled bench and recessed lights!) — puts this ensemble into sublime territory. Did you catch that this bathroom doesn’t have a door? Before we forget, there's a laundry room and a utility room below, and a standalone two-car garage.

Master Bedroom

The second pod has two levels of living space, each more than 670 square feet. Our first impression of this top-level master bedroom was of those luxurious desert resorts in Dubai with luxurious tent lodging, the kind with indoor synthetic ski slopes. It’s an ancient and modern shape, this upswept canopy, which gives the room a princely height. You're just a couple of steps to unwind on that wraparound balcony, and there's a patio right below.

Sun Room

It’s well known we’re crazy about sunrooms. And this one, shaped like a gigantic gazebo with a peaked roof is bigger than the dinky, costly studio apartments in the Gold Coast. What a deliciously livable space with a full-sized wrought-iron dining set, rattan sofa and lounge, and, as Wright would have it, nature blooming within and without. The home has about 8,500 square feet of outdoor living spaces: balconies, patios and decks. Ryerson Woods is your backyard.

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