Always wanted to stand in the middle of a Frank Lloyd Wright house and marvel at the designs and unique style of the architectural genius? This is your chance, Bakersfield.
The George and Millie Ablin House at 4260 Country Club Drive will be part of a five house tour that will showcase some of the humble homes Wright built in California that were sponsored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative.
The informal tour at Bakersfield Residence starts at 2:30 PM on Sunday. Tickets are $ 150 per tour, $ 100 for members of the American Institute of Architects, and $ 25 for students, and can be purchased at http://flwrevivalinitiative.org/2019-events. Tours are limited to 50 people and children under the age of 8 are not permitted.
Michael Miner, executive director and founder of the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative, said each of the tours will include wine for guests, led by a special guest – renowned architect Arthur Dyson for the Bakersfield Tour – and will be a casual get-together.
“If people want, they can see things for themselves,” he said. “If you want other people to come and have questions, you can ask them.”
Guests can also enter a raffle to win a collector’s print.
This is the first time many of the homes are open to the public, Miner added. Other houses on the tour include the Wilbur Pearce House, the Bazett / Frank House, the Maynard Buehler House and the Robert Berger House.
Having Wright design a home for original owners George and Millie Ablin was a dream they never thought would come true. Both of the Midwest saw several Wright designs across Illinois and Wisconsin and fell in love with his style.
They took a leap in confidence, explained Robin Ablin, their son, and his mother sent Wright a letter to see if he would ever consider designing a house for her and her seven children.
“They were Wright fans and lovers,” said Robin Ablin. “When it came time to build their own house, they thought, ‘Why not get Frank?'”
To her surprise, he agreed. The house was designed in 1958, a year before Wright’s death, and the family moved in in 1961.
Robin Ablin was 4 when he moved in and one thing that struck him was Wright’s signature cardinal and salmon red color.
“I still remember opening the door and the sun coming in the windows east and the floors that bright orange and red color,” he said.
Robin Ablin also said his mother promoted many of the designs shown in the apartment, which goes against Wright’s reputation for being the sole creator of his designs. Some areas that needed improvement from its original design were the kitchen, playroom, and doors.
“It has a very unusual kitchen for a Wright house. He’s known for lousy kitchens because he didn’t cook and didn’t care,” said Robin Ablin. “My mother was a very strong character. She said, ‘Frank, you’re a genius and everything, but you don’t know anything about kitchens.'”
Sian Winship, president of the chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians in Southern California, describes the house as “hexagonal-usonic” or a one-story flat-roofed house, and the basic design unit is the equilateral triangle.
“The house is an evolved example of Wright’s” Breaking the Box “in the plan, which clearly demarcates the public / private and adult / children’s rooms in wings from the central stove and kitchen volume,” Winship wrote in an email. “The house also expresses Wright’s delicate manipulation of the compression and expansion of space that sweeps the visitor along a low, concrete-pounded wall on the outside and overhang with an explosion of light and space from a dramatic 16-foot-high, 48-foot-tall Glass surface leads from the inside to the mountains and the golf course. “
David Coffey, who has been looking after the house for 10 years, said it was unique in that all of the furniture was designed for the house and “the windows and the concrete blocks that hold them up, even though they are typical of Frank.” Lloyd Wright is unique in the Abliner house. “
George and Millie Ablin lived there until their deaths in 1999 and 2001 respectively and it is now owned by Michael Glick. According to the book “Frank Lloyd Wright on the West Coast,” the house is occasionally used for meetings, conferences and research by Wright scholars.
Robin Ablin said his parents never revealed how much it cost to build, but “my father understood that it’s a great real estate investment and it’s always valued.”
Bergmann agrees. Because of that, he’s on a mission to restore many of Wright’s buildings and run tours like this one so people can appreciate his designs.
“It’s very comforting to see people recognize him for the genius he was,” he said. “All you have to do is get a person into a Wright building and you have a fan for life. You realize it and it changes your life.”
Robin Ablin said he couldn’t take the tour. “I’ve been there before,” he said with a laugh.
Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.