Even those who know nothing about architecture may still know the name Frank Lloyd Wright. Like Michelangelo is to art, so to is the forefather of prairie style to architecture. Prairie style got its name “from the publication in 1901 of ‘A Home in a Prairie Town,’ which he designed for Ladies’ Home Journal, according to Wright on the Web. For the next 30 years, his designs and structures, “especially popular in the Midwest from 1900 to 1930,” according to Dream Home Source, captivated a nation, spawning a westward expansion–and any number of admirers and copycats. 

Draw: The draw of a prairie home is in its distinctive architecture, its open and airy floorplan, and in the cachet of living in a structure inspired by a true master considered by the American Institute of Architects to be “the greatest American architect of all time.”

Elements to look for: Common elements of prairie-style homes are strong horizontal lines and natural elements that help the homes “blend in with the landscape,” said Dream Home Source. “Though many Prairie designs feature multiple stories, their low-slung roofs…and stone or brick foundations give them the appearance of rising from the earth. Additional exterior features are overhanging eaves and large front porches. Inside, prairie-style homes offer “enduring contemporary appeal” in its design elements. Said the Wall Street Journal: “(Frank Lloyd Wright) removed unnecessary interior walls while emphasizing free-flowing spaces, harmony with nature and walls of art glass that he called ‘light screens.’” 

Architects: Frank Lloyd Wright remains the most famed architect of the prairie style, however, in Los Angeles, two contemporaries of Wright built homes in the Mt. Washington neighborhood that incorporated much of the style. The Birtcher-Share House from architect Harwell Hamilton Harris, The Wolford House from architect James De Long and The Scholfield House, also from De Long are all Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monuments and all are located on Sea View Lane in Mt. Washington.

Neighborhoods: Wright’s first work in California was a design for George C. Stewart’s Montecito house in 1909, and included 400 total works spanning the coast. His designs can still be found throughout the state, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto and San Rafael. Prairie-style homes reflecting his influence are peppered in with other singular styles including Craftsman and Spanish Revival throughout neighborhoods in Los Angeles such as Rancho Park, West Adams, and Echo Park, like this classic 1917 prairie home. In northern California, Redwood City, Oakland, and San Francisco play host to the style. This ocean-view beauty on 80 acres is in Pescadero. In San Jose, renowned architect Frank Delos Wolfe became famous for his “Frank Lloyd Wright bungalows” he built all over the city.

Here is a classic Prairie style estate built in 1917 in Los Angeles, offered by Lisa Hutchins of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Hancock Park North. What do you think about the style… is it for you? Can you see hints of strong horizontal lines and natural elements?

629 S Lucerne Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90005