About Frank Lloyd Wright: Life and Career Residential Designs Public Buildings

Avery Coonley House
Riverside, Illinois, 1907

Image of the Coonley house
Coonley House
Early in his career, Wright's clients were typically wealthy people who could afford expensive houses. One of these was Avery Coonley, who in 1907 commissioned Wright to design a house in the upscale suburb of Riverside, Illinois. Wright's plan divided the space based on the function of the rooms. The living and dining rooms are individual units that anchor the plan. Bedrooms and guest rooms each have their own wing, as do the kitchen and servants' area. The idea of dividing the space based on function is one that Wright used for the rest of his career.

Detail of the Coonley house
Detail of Coonley House
As in all Wright's buildings, the Coonley House is unified by its design on the interior as well as the exterior. Wright used the flat landscape of the Prairie as inspiration for the long horizontal lines and overhanging roofs. Rows of art glass windows with geometric designs line the rooms. The rows of windows have the effect of bringing nature into the house. The interior walls are outlined in dark wood that unifies the space. The horizontal lines, bands of windows, and unified interior spaces are all elements of what came to be known as the Prairie style of architecture. The colored patterns on the outside of the house show that Wright was thinking about these types of patterns long before the "textile block" houses he would create in the 1920s.

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust
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