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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Final Design, Auctioned Last Year for $1.7M, Now Asks $8M. Huh?

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This one’s a head-scratcher.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Norman Lykes house in Phoenix, Arizona, which just went back on the market for $8M. The exterior shows a swooping curved patio towards a circular room. Matt York/AP/Shutterstock

Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Year built: 1967
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Specs: 3 beds, 3 baths, 3,095 square feet, 1.32 acres
Price: $7,950,000

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright just before his death in 1959, the house commissioned by Norman and Aimee Lykes in the suburbs north of Phoenix was ultimately built in 1967 by Wright’s apprentice, John Rattenbury.

Sometimes referred to as the “Circular Sun House” and one of only 14 circular residences by Wright, the home is a perfect example of Wright’s curvy, late-career style (also see: the Guggenheim). From above, the desert mountain structure and its crescent-shaped pool look like a set of intricate clock gears (Wright credited the curving ridge lines of the surrounding hills as his inspiration).

The curves continue inside, with sloping walls clad in golden-hued Philippine mahogany, circular and semicircular windows, custom built-ins, and original Wright–designed furniture. The kitchen counters are wrapped in stainless steel and the slate floors were sourced from India.

A living room has a curving fireplace, Wright designed wood chairs, and a built in sofa.
In the living room, a built-in sofa lines the edge of the light-filled room while Wright-designed chairs sit in front of a fireplace.
Matt York/AP/Shutterstock

In 1994, new owners hired Rattenbury to update the interiors and the architect made significant changes, transforming the original five bedrooms (some of which were as small as closets) into three. The Taliesin West–approved renovation created a much larger master suite with an expanded bath lined with Italian rose marble. Two of the other bedrooms were combined into one larger guest room, and a workshop was converted into a home theater.

The Norman Lykes House was originally listed in 2016 for $3.6 million, but found no takers even after several price drops. It was finally sold at auction in October 2019 for just under $1.7 million to an out-of-state resident who, per the Associated Press, had planned to keep the house intact and use it for vacations.

In early 2020, the property was listed for rent on Zillow Rental Manager for $15,900 per month. And this week, it returned to the market asking a mind-boggling $7.95 million.

Curbed reached out to listing agent Deanna Peters for a statement on the massive price increase. We have not heard back. It’s unknown if there were any upgrades or significant investments in the home since 2019, but the price could be a response to the recent sale of the David and Gladys Wright House (Wright’s design for his son and daughter-in-law), which is also in Phoenix and also circular.

That spiraling concrete block home has its own tumultuous history on the market and was listed as high as $13 million in 2018. It sold last month, according to the Arizona Republic, for $7.25 million. That averages out to about $2,800 per square foot — a figure similar to what the Norman Lykes House is now asking at $2,569 per square foot. But the David and Gladys Wright House sits on a sub-dividable lot of 5.5 acres, while the Norman Lykes lot is just 1.3 acres.

Whether Wright’s final design can fetch this higher price after being forced to auction less than a year ago remains to be seen. Even if it does, it won’t set a record for the most expensive Wright–designed home ever sold. That title goes to the Ennis House in Los Angeles, which sold for $18 million in 2019.

An exterior view shows a light-stone colored house with curving walls and circle cut outs.
An exterior view of the curving desert home with its notable circular cut outs.
Matt York/AP/Shutterstock
An office with built in desk and wood storage, gray carpets, and windows shaped in half moons.
An office features half-moon shaped windows, curving walls, and a built-in desk with storage.
Matt York/AP/Shutterstock
A curving circle kitchen with slate floors, wood cabinets, and stainless steel counters.
Even the kitchen is shaped in a circle.
Matt York/AP/Shutterstock
A master suite has a bed on one side and a pink bathroom on the other.
The expanded master bedroom — a result of the 1994 renovation by John Rattenbury — features a large master bath lined with Italian rose marble.
Matt York/AP/Shutterstock
A pool and patio sits adjacent to a stone colored pink house with a cactus in the foreground.
The pool area outside showcases Wright’s circular cut-outs in the walls and more curving design on the patio.
Matt York/AP/Shutterstock