The Edward Irving House

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909

The E.P. Irving house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909.  Constructed of brick and plaster and situated on one acre, the house is located in Decatur, Illinois on a private lane with three other fine Prairie School residences.  This 2-story home features 6 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms including maid's quarters.  The entrance foyer has a built-in grandfather clock with leaded glass door.  The dining room area is fitted with an oak built-in sideboard and china closets with leaded glass panels.  Of special note are the glass steps leading to the attic which allow natural light to come through the skylight in the ceiling below. 


When the E.P. Irving house was published by the Western Architect in 1913 the text stated that it was "designed by Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright...with whom was associated in the work Mr. H.V. von Holst... The original sketch, which is the only drawing made by Mr. Wright's office, contemplated a house entirely of plaster, but Mr. Irving concluded, after Mr. Wright left, to change it to a brick house, which necessitated considerable changes, and out of which developed the combination of brick and plaster... The designs of the decorations and furnishings... are the co-operative work of the architects and the firm of Neidecken and Walbridge."  This information was undoubtedly supplied by von Holst; it seems equally certain that Wright's participation extended well beyond the "original sketch" if only because of the pleasing proportions and total harmony of the parts. Even such details as the leaded glass seem subject to his control, although that would have been one of the last things designed.  Mahony probably assisted with the furnishings, but this was normal Studio procedure at the time.  In point of fact, therefore, von Holst probably had little to do with the design except to modify the materials and change a few insignificant details.  The design, including its remarkably open interior planning, deserves to rank among Wright's more brilliant achievements, yet because of its uncertain attribution, and in spite of its intrinsic quality as a design, it has not been published since 1913.  

reprinted from The Prairie School, Frank Lloyd Wright and His Midwest Contemporaries. by H. Allen Brooks