When Frank Lloyd Wright wasn't bootlegging his talents behind Louis Sullivan's back, the two men collaborated on some pretty awesome stuff. Enter the Charnley-Persky House, built for James and Helen Charnley in 1891. It's one of their most gracefully stunning works. The Gold Coast house helped set a design precedent for modern residential development from the late 19th century forward. The design is characterized by ornate woodwork, glass paneling and geometrically mosaicked and/or marbled fireplaces in nearly every room. And then there's the "dumbwaiter", meant for transporting food from the basement kitchen to the wood paneled dining room. The home, in total, is a careful amalgam of Wright's iconic linear Prairie style and Sullivan's simplified surfaces and lines.
Other aesthetic standouts were the putty-colored columns and wooden cut lace balcony contrasted against the facade's thinly stacked bricks. We also appreciated the ample amounts of stucco used in the ceilings and inner walls of the house and the unique breaking of the trim line by doors and windows in an upstairs room. The tour was comprehensive, affording us time to ponder how these master architects and early partners had managed to juxtapose their visions so harmoniously here on Astor Street. The site easily presented the longest wait time, and it was clear, judging by the diverse zip codes given at the door, that folks had come from far and wide to share in the architectural harvest.