They say that you should never meet your idols.
That vintage Ferrari you want is a cramped, slow deathtrap once you finally get behind the wheel. A Manhattan penthouse with curtain wall floor-to-ceiling windows? Get ready to have your retinas blown out during the daytime.
So the story goes with Frank Lloyd Wright homes. Yes, they’re iconic. Yes, they’re works of art, but I’ll bet you didn’t know that Falling Water had significant structural issues that gave it a more than even risk of literally falling into the water. Like almost all Wright homes, it was also poorly insulated—drafty and freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer. Cracked beams and a leaky roof had to be repaired at a huge cost in 2001.
The cost for upkeep for Hollyhock House in Los Angeles due to similar issues? A cool $20 million. Surely, there must be a way to own a piece of architectural history without the constant nightmares about collapsing roofs or sinking foundations.
Luckily, there is. Even better, it’s not in some far-flung suburb of Ohio or a charming but freezing part of Illinois. No, this Wright home is just above tony Westchester County, one of the most desirable suburbs of New York City.
So, why is this Wright home worry-free while the rest are a gamble? Simple. This home was built with plans originally drafted by Wright to, as he put it, “surpass Falling Water.” Due to cost overruns and legal drama, the plans were shelved until 1996 until the island’s owner hired Wright scholar and architect Thomas A. Heinz to bring the plans to life.
Amazingly, today, Wright’s vision as interpreted and modernized by Heinz is now for sale along with another original Wright bungalow on an 11-acre private, heart-shaped island in Lake Mahopac above Westchester.
OK, that was a lot of details, and a ton of you just skipped my introduction and scrolled straight to the pictures, so let’s recap quickly:
- Your own an 11-acre private island
- Two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes that won’t fall down
- One hour to Manhattan
- 6 bedrooms and 26 skylights
If that’s not enough to get you to commit a few minutes to finish this article, nothing will, so let’s jump right in.
Can you imagine being able to walk into this room without saying something like, “whoa” out loud whether you intended to or not? We can’t.
I mean, just look at the stunning triangular beams framing more skylights than we’ve ever seen in one room before. Even better, unlike almost all Wright homes, none of them leak.
The tradeoff here is that the skylights themselves are domed rather than flat, but this is like faulting a modern Rolls Royce for having seat belts.
Then, the kitchen, with its dramatic island rock face as a part of the design is just mind-blowing. Tons of natural light, tons of space, and an iconic design ― it’s hard not to fall deeply in love with this kitchen.
Along with Wright staple designs like the long angular benches, Petre Island also boasts a truly stunning wood ceiling, and more natural stone touches to help bring the outdoors indoors. The only thing not quite working here are those ghastly chairs. Some dark-colored modern furniture would pop in here.
Then, there’s this bedroom. Just wow. It’s hard to articulate just how lovely a space this is. It reminds us a bit of a super elegant ship’s berth. Whatever the reference you get from this room, all we know is that we want to spend a few days writing at that desk overlooking Mahopac Lake.
The original Wright Bungalow out back is the ideal entertaining retreat or studio for the main house. The scale is much smaller, but it just oozes relaxation and calm.
Inside, we’re almost getting some John Lautner vibes from the low-slung beamed ceiling and long built-in benches. Heck, come to think of it, that triangular motif in the main house is the spitting image of the Sheets Goldstein house in Los Angeles. Considering that house was built a few years after Wright died, there’s no real question who inspired who here.
This bathroom with the natural stone feature and Scandinavian feeling wood is another room we can’t stop thinking about. Everything just works here. Again, without the leaks.
Address: 1 Petre Island, Carmel, New York
Rooms: 6 Beds | 3 Baths | 1 Half Bath
Number of skylights: 26
Commute to Manhattan: ~1 hour, or 20 minutes by helicopter (the home has a helipad on the roof)
Approximate Square Feet: 8,415
Lot Size: 10.37 Acres
Listing Agent: Margaret Harrington, Douglas Elliman
Over to You
What do you think of our pick for the listing of the week? Does Petre Island stack up to other Wright houses? Let us know in the comments.