7 Frank Lloyd Wright Locations You Can Rent for Vacation
Paddling Wisconsin's Mirror Lake in the 1980s, Audrey Laatsch reached for some leaves that had drifted into her canoe—and flipped it. She dragged her boat to shore and decided to hike up the bluff to a boarded-up property.
Audrey, a therapist who owned a cottage nearby, knew that Frank Lloyd Wright had designed the home and that the DNR had acquired it in 1966 as part of a land purchase for a state park. She and her neighbors had watched it deteriorate, wondering how such a treasure could lie neglected. It was the tipped canoe, she would say, that convinced her to spearhead the cottage rehab and start a nonprofit for its care.
Today, the Seth Peterson Cottage is one of a handful of Wright-designed residences available for overnight rental. Peter Rott, a graduate of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, volunteers with the cottage's conservancy. "Audrey is the heroine of our story," he says. "Every building needs a hero like that."
Learn more about the cottage, plus discover six more Frank Lloyd Wright places you can rent for your next getaway.
Seth Peterson Cottage, Mirror Lake, Wisconsin
Hidden in Mirror Lake State Park outside of Lake Delton and the Wisconsin Dells, the Seth Peterson Cottage is one of Wright's smallest homes, a tidy 880-square-foot hideaway for two. (Seth Peterson and his intended bride never lived here, given his untimely death at age 24.) Its open floor plan and soaring ceiling feel spacious, and walls of windows wash the living area with light. Stonework resembles the Wisconsin River valley bluffs that Wright explored as a boy—the very landscape that inspired Prairie School architecture. There's a complimentary canoe down by the lake so you can paddle out in tribute to Audrey. Rentals run $325 per night and book out well ahead; you can reserve up to two years before your desired dates. But watch the calendar: Cancellations occasionally happen. The conservancy offers tours the second Sunday of each month ($5).
Bernard and Fern Schwartz House, Two Rivers, Wisconsin
The Bernard Schwartz House (aka Still Bend) overlooks a river marsh in Two Rivers, a vacation town on Lake Michigan. Based on a design developed for Life magazine in 1938, the house is a rare two-story Usonian residence. It can accommodate up to eight guests. From $595 a night. One-hour tours available on select dates.
The Palmer House, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Called Ann Arbor's "most architecturally significant residence" by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the multi-level brick-and-cypress Palmer House sits on two wooded acres and was occupied by the Palmer family from 1950 to 2009. The unusual design is based on an equilateral triangle and includes a dramatic cantilevered roof over the terrace, hexagonal beds and polygonal cutouts resembling birds on the exterior walls. Original Wright-designed furniture and and built-in cabinets remain in the three-bedroom, two-bath home, which can accommodate five guests. The home is just steps from the University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum. From $650 a night, with a two-night minimum.
Related: Top Things to Do in Ann Arbor
A duplex on Milwaukee's South Side shares a block with five other Wright-designed homes—test models for architect-drawn properties Wright and a colleague developed for the "working man." Just 6 miles from downtown, this Burnham Park home sleeps nine. From $253 a night.
The Historic Park Inn, Mason City, Iowa
The Historic Park Inn in Mason City, Iowa, is the world's only surviving Wright-designed hotel. Built in 1909 as the City National Bank, Law Offices and Hotel, it underwent a $20 million restoration a century later and reopened as The Historic Park Inn. Choose from 27 guest rooms, all different. From $135 a night.
Elam House, Austin, Minnesota
The guest house suite of Elam House features a Wright-designed living room with soaring ceiling and limestone piers, private entrance, dining area, small kitchen, bedroom and bath. One of Wright's largest Usonian homes, the Elam House was completed in 1951 and is one of only 13 Wright-designed homes in Minnesota. Tours of the full house are available to those who rent the guest suite. From $250 a night.
Emil Bach House, Chicago
The Emil Bach House in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood north of downtown reflects what Wright could do on a compact city lot. It's walkable to the big lake, but you might not want to leave the backyard patio and Japanese tea room. The 1915 hosts up to six (from $700 a night) but you'll need to book fast or hope for a cancellation—only a few dates remain for 2023, and the current management company will close the house and its other historic Chicago rentals at the end of the year. Check the website for updates on the house's future.