One half of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Coonley Estate has been purchased by owners who say they want to begin restoring the long-neglected “bedroom wing,” which has been vacant for five years.
According to records obtained from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, the property at 300 Scottswood Road in Riverside was purchased on May 7 by John Farneda and Stephanus Greeff for $355,000.
The home, which went into foreclosure in 2014, has suffered tremendously in recent years. Sections of its stucco exterior are in serious disrepair as is the decorative geometric band on the exterior walls.
Last summer it suffered a final indignity, when vandals broke one of the home’s second-floor stained-glass windows to gain entry and hold a party. Police found beer bottles and evidence of drug use throughout the residence and walls were tagged with graffiti.
According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, which announced the sale on its website, the new owners “plan to immediately address the most urgent needs of the house and restore it slowly over time.”
The conservancy is particularly interested in the restoration of the house, since it owns 26 of the stained-glass windows in the wing’s living and dining rooms. The conservancy bought the windows from the previous owner in 2003 for $390,000.
“It was a great relief,” Janet Halstead, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy told the Landmark. “It’s a house that deserves the attention of a committed owner.”
Greeff and Farneda, who retired last November as music director of WXRT-FM in Chicago, had been trying to negotiate a deal to purchase the home for the past year, according to the Halstead.
“It is a bit overwhelming,” the conservancy quoted Farneda as saying, “but we are thrilled and cannot wait to start working on the house.”
Meanwhile, the 6,000-square-foot “public wing” of the Coonley Estate, which has been painstakingly restored by owners Dean and Ella Mea Eastman, is also on the market. The asking price is $2.1 million.
The Eastmans have downsized and live in a building on the estate known as the Coonley Coach House. The Eastmans purchased the coach house in 2005 and completed an adaptive renovation of the building over the next two years.