Russell And Ruth Kraus Residence 1951, Missouri

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Peter Beers*
Written By Peter Beers*

Kirkwood, Missouri

The Kraus house was a long time in coming. It was originally designed by Wright in 1946, but wasn’t completed until 1951. This happened for many reasons. It was difficult for the Kraus’ to find a contractor to build the home for them. Many of them took one look at the plans and passed on building it. It was also difficult finding someone to make the custom bricks necessary for the corners. Finding the cypress wood was also very difficult after World War II. Tons of credit for this home being built has to go to Ruth Kraus. She took the time to call people to get the materials they needed to build the home.

First view of the Kraus residence from the driveway below.

Mr. Kraus worked for years as a stained glass artist. His works can be seen in many churches in the St. Louis area. He lived in this home until a few years ago when he found a way to work with a group to preserve the home. It has been beautifully restored and is a wonderful monument to Mr. Wright’s work and love that Mr. and Mrs. Kraus had for this home.

The bedroom windows and porch. The main terrace is on the right side.

The home is built on a parallelagram grid. If you look at it fron the top, it has two parallelagrams that cross each other. All the angles are either 60 or 120 degrees. Even the bed in the master bedroom is a parallelagram.

A view from down the lawn. The main terrace is to the left, the carport is to the right.

The amazing thing about this home is that there are almost no interior doors or completely walled off rooms. The bedrooms give privacy by being around the corner from the living room or down the hall. The walls don’t go all the way to the ceiling. The only interior doors are to Mr. Kraus’ studio and to the bathrooms. The home is wonderful for entertaining, though Mr. and Mrs. Kraus didn’t entrtain much.

Bedroom window and eave

Mr. Kraus built a desk after the design done for the Dana house. He also designed all the art glass in the doors. The design is beautiful. The home is full of book shelves. I finally have seen a Wright home that has enough space to shelve ever book that I own. There are 3 Taliesin lamps in the home. They are hexagonal instead of the square ones that I’ve seen at Taliesin.

Looking down the hill at the Kraus Residence

The fish-eye lens accentuates the angles, but give a great view of the house.

Carport wall and urn.

Close-up of the urn and carport wall

Main entrance. The glass design was done and constructed by Mr. Kraus

Looking at the tool shed from the back of the carport

The tool shed interior walls are cinder block and the ceiling is cork. It now has a small kitchen in it and a place to watch the video about the restoration of the Kraus house.

Looking from the back of the carport to the entrance of the home and the bedroom wing.

Looking at the front door from next to the tool shed.

This is Mr. Kraus’ studio from the storage shed.

The windows and terrace off of Mr. Kraus’ studio

The main terrace. I don’t think the low wall would meet todays building code.

Overhanging eaves above the bedroom windows

Back of the carport looking at the wall and urn.

Bedroom window and terrace from the end of the main terrace.

I love this view of the bedroom eaves. That is one dramatic roof line.

Bedroom Terrace. Mr. Kraus used use this private terrace for sunning. The privacy was needed. ;) This is also a good view of Mr. Kraus’ glass design for the doors.

Main terrace and the bedroom windows.

Looking at the terrace doors. I love the glass design! Mr. Kraus is very talented.

Many thanks to the folks that lead the tours and maintain the Kraus residence. You do a great job and it shows in how the house looks and the way the tours are run. If you want to tour the Kraus house, make a reservation with them. The information can be found on their web site.

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Written by Peter Beers*

CEO & Lead Interior Designer

Brad Smith is an experienced interior designer and the founder of With a Master's degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute and a passion for creating safe and healthy living spaces, Brad shares his expert insights and innovative design ideas with our readers. His work is driven by the belief that home is where every story begins.