The Tracy House

On Friday evening a very frantic Kevin called me about a chance to have a tour of the Tracy House, one of three Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Washington and, of course, I jumped at the chance.  The house, as it turns out, is only a 10 minute drive from our neighborhood in West Seattle, so after our Saturday morning estate sales, we hopped in the car and drove to Normandy Park, Washington.

Part of this house’s charm was it’s amazing ability to blend into the background.  Concrete blocks peek around pine trees and ferns, suggesting that a beautiful house is just around the corner.

The front of the Tracy House

Given the size of the trees in front, I would bet that the house was built around them, which is very much in keeping with Wright’s attention to detail.  The green, red, and grey palate was another design element that ran through the entire property–as was the integration of the squares of concrete with the green vertical lines of the trees and the red horizontal lines of the stairs.  All this harmony made for a perfect blend of natural and man-made elements.

The back of the Tracy House

The Tracy’s commissioned the house in 1955 and knew they wanted to live there for the rest of their life.  They saved money and laid the concrete bricks themselves to Wright’s specifications.  According to our tour guide, they loved to sit in their chairs and read in the evenings, and I have to say, the living room was one of the most inviting I’ve seen.  The built-in soda and redwood bookcases gave the room a cozy feeling.

The living room of the Tracy House

Like many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses, he also designed dining furniture, and the Tracy House is no exception.  The long dining table fit perfectly into the dining space.  It would be a perfect place to eat and watch the ocean below.

The dining room in the Tracy House

The concrete blocks formed the ceiling throughout the house, including in the three bedrooms.  The bedrooms and hallway had very low ceilings, probably around 7 feet, maybe even less.  Even though I could easily touch the ceiling in the bedrooms (I’m 6’1, so it wasn’t that hard!) the combination of the cool grey of the concrete and the warm red of the walls and floor really gave the space a cozy rather than claustrophobic feel.

The master bedroom of the Tracy House

It was a wonderful Saturday!  The house will go up for sale soon, but sadly Kevin and I will not be on the list of buyers.  It was, however, an amazing treat to be given free reign of the house for an hour!  I think that we’ll definitely be visiting more Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the future!

10 Comments

  1. Reply
    Carbzilla October 11, 2010

    How cool! I had no idea there were any FLW houses up here. I have to say I’m not a big fan of that bedroom though. I need BIG windows.

  2. Reply
    jamie October 12, 2010

    I would die to tour a FLR home. Thank you so much for sharing. Absolutely beautiful.

  3. Reply
    Jenn October 13, 2010

    The exterior reminds me of the HMC campus. 1955 and all those square block details (not quite a Mudd wart, but it seems to suggest a wart).

  4. Reply
    Michael Ditmer October 13, 2010

    A beautiful house!

    Check out the Schwartz House in Wisconsin http://www.theschwartzhouse.com

  5. Reply
    Earl Nisbet October 13, 2010

    I visited this delightful house many years ago while visiting a fellow apprentice, Milton Stricker, who has done many buildings in NW Washington. I would like people to know another friend and apprentice, David Dodge, worked on the drawings and did a bit of supervising on this great block building.

  6. Reply
    Tom October 13, 2010

    Wow what a great opportunity, thanks for sharing the photos and your thoughts.

  7. Reply
    Larry Woodin October 16, 2010

    For opportunities to tour the WA Frank Lloyd Wright Houses and other distinctive modern architecture send an email (with contact info) to ecohome@mindspring and ask to be added to the mailing list.
    BTW – the view of the sound from the Tracy House bedroom is very beautiful – has to be expereinced to be appreciated.

    • Reply
      alison October 16, 2010

      Hi Larry,

      Thanks for the comment (and the tour!!) Kevin and I had a wonderful time at the tour and would love the opportunity to tour more modern architecture. I’ll email you with our contact info!

  8. Reply
    tsanko October 18, 2010

    Wonderful ..thanks a lot for posting a good informitive blog

  9. Reply
    roclafamilia October 21, 2010

    Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

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