The father of Prairie Style architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright called Rockford's Laurent House his "little gem," loving the modest ranch so much, he graced it with a rare, signed red tile embedded in the Roman brick doorway.
The solar hemicycle home design he created for wheelchair-bound World War II veteran and Rockford businessman Kenneth Laurent predates our nation's Disabilities Act by a good 40 years. Between 1949 and 1952, Wright constructed Laurent's home on 1.2 wooded acres with a design that freed his client from wheelchair restrictions. The Laurents ended up residing in the house for 60 years. The original Wright-designed furniture, lighting and signature Cherokee red coloration all have been preserved.
In June, 2014, Laurent House opens as a museum to celebrate Wright's innovative design aesthetic. Note the handicapped-accessible nuances—lower light switches, threshold-free doorways and bathroom appointments. Add the amazing red tidewater cypress cabinetry, painted screens, cantilevered fireplace, radiant heated floors, skylights and hassocks tucked under origami-shape tables, and you’ll end up with a whole new appreciation for Wright's genius. Tour reservations are required.