The Martin House opened its doors to the public for docent-guided tours even before the formation of the Martin House Restoration Corporation in 1992. Visitors today may be touring the complex for their first, third, or even sixth time and have never experienced the multi-residential estate in the same condition as their last visit. Some visitors may remember when Frank Lloyd Wright’s custom designed furniture collection occupied the first floor of the Martin House, but the space lacked its beautiful rift sawn wood moldings and the golden glow of gilded seams along the Roman brick walls. The last time furniture was in place, in December 2015, the Martin House bore white plaster, and signs of mid-process restoration were visible throughout the residence.
On November 12th, 2016, the original collection of furniture, artwork, and complementary decorative items returned to The Martin House, preserved and arranged to Wright’s direction circa 1907. The collection is now enclosed in a complete setting with walls and ceilings also resurrected to original presentation.
A Wright-designed tall case clock, a Steinway grand piano with engraved dedication to Dorothy Martin, and two of Wright’s signature barrel chairs are highlights from the beautifully crafted and arranged furniture collection. Twenty-four Japanese ukiyo-e prints adorn the walls and represent the original pieces of artwork that Wright selected for the Martin Family. Wright merges contemporary concepts with tradition by creating built-in furniture to accommodate storage in the library and dining room.
Wright’s total design, in architecture and interior finishing, is the reason why the Martin House has been referred to as a ‘domestic symphony.’ No detail is an afterthought, every element of the house works together in a pleasing rhythm. The recently complete first floor brings the Martin House closer to Wright’s original vision which allows visitors to imagine how the Martin Family would have interacted within the space. Each individual who steps into the house can now experience the Wright effect stronger, and more tactical than ever before.
Like Wright’s organic style in architecture, and nature being his primary source of inspiration, The Martin House is constantly moving and growing. When new details are revealed and historical discoveries are made, our community benefits from the education and inspiration that the Darwin D. Martin and Frank Lloyd Wright collaboration provides. As our dedicated team of builders and volunteers continue to restore and beautify the Martin House, visitors will continue to enjoy the evolution of this design masterpiece and the stories that the residence awakens.
To learn more about the Martin House collections, click here.