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All images via Sotheby's International Real Estate
Location: Houston, Texas
Like any good Frank Lloyd Wright project, the William L. Thaxton Home in Houston contains a few tales about the often intransigent architect. Originally a 1,800-square-foot Usonian model set in the distant suburb of Bunker Hill, the diamond-shaped home, complete with a parallelogram pool and triangular fixtures to keep right angles at bay, was commissioned in 1954 by a wealthy insurance exec. Thaxton paid the princely sum of $125,000 for the project, which included a $25,000 fee to the master architect (the equivalent of nearly $220,000 in today's dollars). That he also needed to convince Wright not to run the pool into the master bedroom, or, that in order to get air conditioning added to his home in often-humid Houston, he had to run ductwork through the floor after the fact, doesn't matter. He had an original Wright home, one of a handful in the Lone Star state. But as Houston spread out over East Texas, Thaxton's home was soon surrounded by development.
By 1991, the home had undergone an ownership change and renovations that would make a Wright lover's skin crawl (Ionic columns!). Then on the market for $535,000, conventional wisdom said the unorthodox home on 1.2 acres was a teardown waiting to happen. It was eventually rescued by Wright fans and architecture obsessives who restored the original built-in furniture and commissioned local architect Bob Inaba to design an expansive addition in 1995. Now potential owners of the 8,000-square-foot U-shaped complex, which wraps around the pool, are presented with the best of both worlds. Restored elements, such as the triangular couches and slightly rippled redwood ceiling in the living room, recreate Wright's original vision, while new amenities such as a two-sided fireplace, airy lofts above the bedrooms and an up-to-date kitchen make the home more livable. Currently on the market at a slight discount, down from $3.4 million last year, you can kick back in that courtyard year-round for just under $3 million.
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