This house was familiar to me…. very familiar. The house that sparked my interest in Wright was Herb Jacobs’ second Wright home in the farmlands outside of Madison, Wisconsin. It was the first home to use Wright’s solar hemicycle. The idea of this is to build the house on a slight hill so that the windward side of the house is quite low profile and has windows mainly at the ceiling level for cross ventilation. The opposite side of the house is mostly glass in order to provide a good view and lots of warmth from the sun. The main living space is comprised of one main room that is two stories tall. The bedrooms are perched on a balcony overlooking the main living space with a great view out of the world outside the large sunward windows.
Sunny side of the Boulter House.
That description perfectly fits the Boulter House, located in the suburbs north of Cincinnati. As you look at the photo above, the living space is located on the left. The right side of the living space has the kitchen and dining area in it. The home was built in 1954 and was added to 4 years after its completion. The center portion of the house was originally a carport and there was a small utility and storage room to the right. The 1958 addition added to this storage space, making a guest bedroom and bath.
1958 addition containing the guest bedroom.
In his book The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion, William Allin Storrer relates the story of the Boulter’s request to Wright for a design for their house. They wrote a quite long and flowery letter to Mr. Wright inquiring if he would design a home for them. In reply, Mr. Wright wrote the words “I will.” at the top of a piece of stationary and signed it at the bottom. That was the beginning of their experience with Wright.
Cantilevered Study with its own balcony.
The home is constructed of concrete block on the lower part with Philippine mahogany for the upper section of the house. It differs from the Jacobs II house by the straightness of its design. The Jacobs II house is crescent shaped.
The Boulter House is part of the National Register of Historic Places
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to tour the Boulter house. I was excited to get to walk around the inside and enjoy its space. It was early spring and the home was VERY warm inside. The solar properties of the design were working quite well. I imagine that it would be quite warm in the summer. They had quite formidable curtains to keep the sunshine from baking the whole house. The curtains also add some much needed privacy to the home. One of this home’s properties of this house that is very uncharacteristic of Wright is its total lack of privacy in the main living space. Anyone from the street can look right up inside.
The driveway side of the Boulter House.
The floors of the house are all done in red concrete. The owners have added central air conditioning to supplement the cross ventilation designed by Wright.
The Sunny Side.
In 1990, the whole carport was enclosed and turned into a hallway and playroom for the kids.
I look forward to touring this home again when it is open to the public again. I’ve got a local spy who is going to alert me when that opportunity arises.