Farm house

Frank Lloyd Wright’s restored farmhouse hits the California market for $4.25 million

Los Banos farmland might not seem like a likely spot for a multi-million dollar home listing, so those who browsed Zillow this week were probably shocked to see a seven-bedroom, six-bathroom farmhouse for sale just off Interstate 5 south of town.

The 4,041-square-foot home, listed by the Southern California Real Estate Society Crosby Doe Associates, sits on just over 76 acres and sells for $4.25 million.

It is not without pedigree.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed

The house, built in 1961, was one of the last designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright before his death in 1959 and was owned by Randall “Buck” Fawcett, a well-known farmer who gave up in the NFL Draft (and an offer to play for the Chicago Bears) to return home to run the family business.

It is an example of Wright’s Usonian House Design, which stands out for its use of “native materials; large cantilevered overhangs for passive solar heating and free cooling; and natural lighting. There is also a strong visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces of the home that “cannot be fully conveyed by words and images, but only by direct experience,” according to the home’s real estate listing.

The gated property comprises a main residence with an open-plan living, dining and family areas, seven bedrooms and six bathrooms, a kitchen and utility/laundry room and three fireplaces – in the living room, family room and the master bedroom.

The main foyer is 6 feet high and 12 feet wide and a centerpiece of the house, mentioned directly in Fawcett’s obituary on his death in 2006.

“The massive fireplace, piled high with huge six-foot logs that he himself brought from the hickory orchards, was the blazing heart of the house and the place to gather and read stories when his children were young. He was a preeminent fire builder and stoked his legendary fires for over 50 years, mesmerizing his children, grandchildren and friends with the towering flames and thrilling sense of danger.

In addition, the house has a semi-attached museum (described as small), a large independent workshop, a swimming pool, a koi pond and a Japanese garden.

The house was first offered for sale in 2009

The Fawcett Farm went on sale for the first time in 2009 after Randall’s death and new owners began a complete restoration in 2012. This project was led by Fresno architect – and Wright apprentice – Arthur Dyson with landscape work done by Robert Boro of Fresno. Dyson consulted Wright’s son, Eric Lloyd Wright, and the home’s original interior designer, Cornelia Brierly, and referenced many original photos and plans.

The project won the California Preservation Foundation’s Design Award for Restoration in 2019, due to the impressive detailing of the work, but also due to the home’s location outside of a major urban center.

“There are so many places like this that we end up losing. In places like this, when the house falls apart, it is so often scrapped. We want to encourage this thought process in preservation where you don’t usually think about it,” the foundation wrote in deciding the award.

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