The Oak Park area is seeing an upswing in the market for homes designed by famous architects, as indicated by the speedy sale of a recent Baird & Warner listing. Steve Scheuring, a broker associate at the Baird & Warner Oak Park office, sold one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “bootleg” homes in just two months. The Oak Park Wednesday Journal recently wrote a story about the incredible sale.
In the 1890s while employed by the architectural firm of Adler and Sullivan in Chicago, Wright designed three houses on Chicago Avenue in Oak Park. Louis Sullivan strictly prohibited independent design by his architects, so these homes became known as the “bootleg” houses (though they could also be called “moonlighting” houses).
In total, Wright is believed to have designed eight or nine bootleg houses while working for Adler and Sullivan, and it is thought that four of the homes still exist. When Sullivan discovered that Wright was moonlighting, he fired him, and Wright went on to found his own studio in his home in Oak Park, just steps away from the Chicago Avenue bootlegs.
Steve Scheuring is a Baird & Warner expert in marketing historical homes; he even sold Ernest Hemingway’s boyhood home.
“I get phone calls from all over the country about Wright houses,” he noted. “I had one interested buyer in town from Europe for business who hopped on the Green Line to see this house because he thought he might be moving to the area. Three weeks after it went under contract, he called because he wanted to come back with his wife to show her the house, but it was too late.”