One of four multi-decked homes designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright on Sutton Road in Ardmore has finally sold, its listing agent confirmed.
The ‘Suntop’ house was designed with three others in a pinwheel layout by Wright in the late 1930s and built to match his “Utonian” vision of an interaction between public and private spaces.
The house has received much attention in the architectural community, among Wright enthusiasts and in the local media after Patch broke the news that it was for sale.
The home that was for sale is the one with the driveway on Sutton closest to Spring. It “garnered a lot of interest among those who understand Frank Lloyd Wright,” said Craig Brand, the Prudential Fox & Roach realtor who helped the owners sell the house, in June. “There’s a buyer out there, it’s just going to have to be a very special one that understands the whole concept.”
That buyer wishes to remain anonymous for the time being, Brand said. Settlement is scheduled for Nov. 4.
The house was on the market for a much higher price in 2010, but was pulled off during the winter. It was put up for sale again in May at an asking price of $429,000, but the owners still had a hard time selling it in a down market. Though it is in mostly pristine condition, complicating matters was its small size compared to other suburban homes (at 1,600 square feet).
Despite the attention the sale received, the price was eventually reduced to $419,000, where it stayed for some time before an agreement was reached last week. Brand said he could not immediately disclose the final selling price.
There is another factor that may have added to the difficulty: one of the other four homes, located directly behind the one for sale (with an entrance off Spring), is in bad condition, and appears to be undergoing a major, if stalled, renovation. (The other two homes are owner-occupied.)
Suntop is also a Class I certified historic site—renovations, additions and improvements must meet with approvals from Lower Merion Township historic preservation officials.
The homes are partially hidden behind a large wooden fence and abundant landscaping on the corner of Spring Avenue, two blocks in from West Wynnewood Road. They feature multiple pieces of interior furniture and fixtures that were also designed by Wright, lots of exterior space (on the ground as well as on the decks). Natural light is everywhere in the home, with its floor-to-ceiling glass on the first floor and clerestory windows atop other levels and in the stairwell.
The interior space consists of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a small basement, a galley kitchen, a den off the main entrance and a spectacular living room.
Whoever bought the place likely came to a clear understanding with the sellers, who put much work into its renovation. Priscilla Robinson and Jim Gee, a married couple with two children who have outgrown the tight spaces of the three-story home (they have since moved to a larger home nearby), were honored in 2004 by the Lower Merion Historical Commission and Historical Architectural Review Board for contributing “significantly to historic preservation in the Township.”
“Anybody who owns that home, you’re living in a part of history, and you’re going to want to keep that history going,” Robinson told Patch in June. “Maybe it’s a silly dream, but I feel that whoever owns that house should maintain something—they should give back to it.”