Whatever the reason you’re here, whether you’re honest-to-goodness house hunting, you’re a Frank Lloyd Wright fanatic, you’re searching for new images to tack to your dream home vision board, or you just need something to gawk at to pass the time cooped up indoors, enjoy a virtual tour of this architectural gem on the market.
By the numbers: 12020 Tall Oaks Street, Bunker Hill Village, TX 77024 | 1954 (year built) | 8,072 square feet | 5 bedrooms | 6.5 bathrooms | 1.19 acre lot
Nestled on a wooded lot in the scenic community of Bunker Hill Village, where homes routinely sell for seven figures, the structure at 12020 Tall Oaks Street, best described as a severe, concrete-block of horizontal lines, has long attracted special attention among contemporary architecture enthusiasts -- That’s because it’s the only home in Houston designed by America’s most influential architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. And now, the storied structure is up for grabs.
The Thaxton House, named for William Thaxton, the insurance executive who commissioned it in 1954, is one of just three Texas homes with such a pedigree. The others are in Dallas and Amarillo.
A structure that is as much a work of art as it is a home, the original, 1,800-square-foot Thaxton House sought to strike a harmonious relationship between humanity and nature. The modest domicile is often considered an example of what Wright termed a “Usonian” house -- economical abodes designed using principles of organic architecture.
“Wright’s Usonian houses related directly to the earth, unimpeded by a foundation, front porch, protruding chimney, or distracting shrubbery,” the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation wrote of its namesake’s building concept. “Glass curtain walls and natural materials like wood, stone and brick further tied the house to its environment.”
Wright designed some 140 Usonian homes before his death in 1959.
Now, after an abridged architecture lesson, let’s walk it back to Bunker Hill Village. The home at 12020 Tall Oaks Street cost $125,000 to build, an astronomical price in the 1950s. That amount included Wright’s $25,000 fee, Thaxton told the New York Times in 1991.
“You didn’t work with Mr. Wright,” Thaxton told the New York Times. “You presented Mr. Wright with a piece of property.”
Wright purists, take a deep breath. We’ve got some rough news for you -- the Wright-designed home has suffered some, well, architectural indignities over the years. Though the decades, various owners altered the Thaxton House’s original design: Pineapple embellishments were added to the roof; The custom furniture, which Wright designed to compliment the building’s geometric shape was torn out; Interior redwood walls were painted white; and, at one point, ionic columns were installed, the New York times reported. Before the columns were installed, the building had no right angles.
By the 1990s, the storied structure faced the possibility of demolition.
“I guess I do kind of hope that someone will buy it and restore it, though I don’t think anyone will,” Thaxton told the New York Times in 1991. “The money grabbers will get it, I’m afraid.”
Luckily for Thaxton, a pediatric dentist, and his wife, an architect-turned-dentist, ultimately bought the home in a bid to preserve it, The Houston Business Journal reported. The pair spent millions restoring the original house and constructing a 6,300-square-foot addition to complement Wright’s original creation.
The addition, completed by Kirksey Architecture in 1995, features contemporary, sun filled interiors, a large family room, and a central courtyard and pool.
The Wright-designed property is represented by listing agent Clay Joyner with JPAR - The Sears Group. For more information on the listing, click here.
Whether or not you have $3.15 million to spare, you can still enjoy this iconic Houston abode, courtesy of the internet.
Scroll through the gallery and take a gander at what millions of dollars can net you in Houston real estate.