DESIGN GENIUS

A Rare Look Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Stunning Rosenbaum House


Tucked away in Florence, Alabama, with a perfect view of the Tennessee River, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Rosenbaum House is often thought of by historians as the purest example of the famed architect’s Usonian homes. Designed in 1939 for a college professor and a former Vogue model, this little-known jewel was a sort of a luxe precursor to today’s modular home craze, a starter residence that owners could build upon. The Rosenbaums did, adding a sleeping porch for their four children, a walled Japanese garden, and a second kitchen. Wright also appointed the home with plenty of purposeful (if poetic) details that unite the home with the landscape: built-in bookshelves throughout the home for at least 5,000 books; fretwork panels over the clerestory windows that provide a soft light; a five-tiered roof to mimic the terraced grounds; windowed doors in every room; and the piece de resistance, a cozy copper-trimmed “martini porch” off the master bedroom overlooking the backyard. Coinciding with his annual Shindig in his adopted city, the designer Billy Reid created an installation inside Wright’s masterpiece, a design touchstone to which Reid has returned time and again over the years. Fittingly, it also happens to be the 150th anniversary of the architect’s birthday. “That place is sacred ground,” Reid said. Here, go inside this rarely photographed, but impeccable example of Wright’s enduring genius.

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An outside view of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, one of the purest examples of his Usonian homes, in Florence, Alabama. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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An outside view of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, one of the purest examples of his Usonian homes, in Florence, Alabama. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, one of the purest examples of his Usonian homes, in Florence, Alabama, where the designer Billy Reid created an installation of his spring 2018 collection. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, where the designer Billy Reid created an installation of his spring 2018 collection. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, where the designer Billy Reid created an installation of his spring 2018 collection. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, where built-in bookshelves can hold at least 5,000 books. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, one of the purest examples of his Usonian homes, in Florence, Alabama. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, where the designer Billy Reid created an installation of his spring 2018 collection. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, one of the purest examples of his Usonian homes, in Florence, Alabama. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, where the designer Billy Reid created an installation to showcase his spring 2018 collection. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, where the designer Billy Reid created an installation to showcase his spring 2018 collection. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, one of the purest examples of his Usonian homes, in Florence, Alabama. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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Inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, where the designer Billy Reid created an installation of his spring 2018 collection. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)

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An outside view of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House, one of the purest examples of his Usonian homes, in Florence, Alabama. (Photos by Brett Warren for Billy Reid)