The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired house at 1085 Krall St. in Boise is one of the East End’s more unique homes. It was designed by James E. Kelly AIA and Patrick M Walsh, dba RIGGINS. The owners of the home had it built in the early 1980’s for their mother, who was not able to move around homes with stairs very easily. The house, which is only about 750 ft2 and has only one floor, was perfect for her. The architects were very educated on Frank Lloyd Wright’s style and design, and modeled the home after Wright’s buildings. Now the owners rent the house out to residents. In fact, architect Eric Lloyd Wright, grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright, visited the home as did Wright-ian architects Arthur Dennis Stevens and Earl Nesbitt.
Part of Wright’s style is Usonian design (Usonian for United States of North America), which focuses on bringing the outdoors inside and vice versa in order to form an harmonious relationship between nature and architecture. Usonian design elements include the architects’ decision to continue placing bricks outside rather than stop building when he reached the walls. Another feature of the home similar to Wright’s design is the organic siting; there is a private side, the side covered in ivy, and there is an open side, which faces south. The house also includes elements of Wright’s design such as integral decoration with the architecture itself, inexpensive materials, warm colors, and indirect lighting. The home brings in a lot of natural light, and because it faces due south, the light shines on the brick wall on inside and acts as a natural heater.
In Boise, the most well-known architect is Charles Hummel. Most homes, however, are not designed by famous architects and are not known for their architecture. Because the architect utilized Wright’s unique design, his house adds a twist to Boise’s architectural scene and changes the design of the neighborhood where the house is located.
The architects’ use of Wright-ian architecture is very apparent. They miss no detail and succeed in their attempt to make the house feel like it was in fact designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The natural materials used throughout the home, along with unit walls and a carport, make the house an incredible imitation. The architects even added their own special touch that worked hand in hand with the design. For example, the front door of the house looks as though it contains just an interesting geometric design, when in reality the design is the blueprint of the house. It depicts the shape of the house from a birds-eye view: the sloped roof, the L-shaped drive, the carport, and the backyard. This element ties in the design of Wright, but was a creative element added by the architects.
The current resident is renting the house and claims his favorite element is the feeling of openness. The house was built on a rather challenging plot of land, only 49 feet by 19 feet. It was important to the owners to have a sense of space and breathing room, but it proved a challenge to design in such a small space. Even though the house is very small, the resident doesn’t feel trapped. He can look into any corner and not feel closed in because each corner extends farther than it seems. This feeling is created through the use of glass and windows and intersecting pieces of the home. In addition, multiple ceiling heights create a sense of depth. The high ceilings offer sense of grandness to the small home, while the low ceilings situated over the seating area offer a more intimate feel. The contrasting heights of the ceilings make the home feel larger than it actually is. The lighting in the home is also very important. Each light in the ceiling has its own switch, so one can choose exactly the amount of light they want in the living room. This is a very important feature as it can change the size the small room feels in an instant.
The house is not only constructed in the style of Wright, but also draws inspiration from the owner’s passion for interior design. There are barrel chairs fashioned from a Wright design, along with a sculpture, painting, and Taliesin lamps. The owners encouraged the current resident to not add his own decorations, insisting that the interior design is already more than sufficient. There are couches built into the wall, with a fireplace in the corner, and the living room connects with the dining area and the kitchen, a very important aspect of Wright-ian architecture. The architects were able to capture the essence of Wright’s design almost perfectly. They drew only the best design elements from Wright, and seamlessly incorporated them into the small wonder that is 1085 Krall St. One would think Frank Lloyd Wright designed the home himself.