The Boulter House was designed near the end of Wright’s life (1868-1959). The home is a unique, two-story south-facing Usonian. The “Usonian” term was coined from Wright’s vision of suburbia in the United States of North America offering well-designed homes for ordinary people.
A Usonian also employed simplified construction methods so homeowners could participate in the building process.
The home was placed on the National Historic Register in 1998.
The entrance is tucked away at the end of the brick driveway on the home’s “public side” and found to the right of original carport. In 1997, the carport was enclosed and adjoined to an existing structure originally conceived as a “Maid’s Room.” This freestanding building actually served as a playroom for the Boulter’s young sons and as study for Cedric in his retirement.
The main room entrance to the left of the staircase has Wright’s traditional “Compression Zone” from which you emerge into the impressive 44-by 18-ft. living room.
Wright’s clients Cedric and Patricia Boulter were Greek scholars on staff at the University of Cincinnati. Patricia’s parents earlier commissioned the Neils House in Minnesota and Wright promised to design a home for her when she married.
Four 10-ft.-tall double doors open onto the home’s “Private Side” terrace.
Later Usonian designs, like this one, were more architecturally elaborate with fine wood veneers not found in earlier one-level, L-shaped “Ranch” styles.
The Boulters, who hoped to live near the university decided on this site, one of few lots available at the time.
After 33 years, the Boulters sold their home to Prof. David Gosling and his wife, Miriam. David, a noted urban planner, joined U.C.’s department of Architecture; relocating from Sheffield, England, only when this original Wright design became available.
Like so many other 20th Century architects, David was inspired to become an architect by Wright’s 1932 autobiography.
Current owners are Janet Groeber and Chuck Lohre. Janet is a writer specializing in architecture and design. Chuck, who owns an advertising agency, studied architecture at the University of Kentucky.
The Boulter House is one of four Wright designs in Cincinnati. The others are The Tonkens House, The Boswell House and a previously unbuilt Wright designed home, which was constructed in 2000 by private owners under the supervision of Taliesin Architects, Inc.
Wright, who favored southern light for its pleasing qualities, pioneered “solar hemicycle” design and the Boulter House typifies this.
With its southern orientation, deciduous trees provide cooling shade during the summer, while the winter sun’s lower angle offers penetrating warmth.
A view southeast in the main living room.
A view of the terrace from the main living room.
A view showing the entry way to the left of the fireplace and the door to the basement.
The second floor is suspended from the roof by 14 tensioned wood beams.
The prominently featured fireplace is built into the east structural column.
An additional layer of block was added to both the first and second floor to accommodate Cedric’s height.
A view east showing the carport roof line penetrating the glass wall and becoming a plant ledge.
Likewise for the west side balcony becoming the second floor walk way.
The first floor is heated by hot water pipes embedded in the floor, a Wright invention in 1935.
The coffee table, hassocks and side tables were designed by Wright and built with the home. This room also has 24 feet of built-in seating and bookshelves which line its north side.
The home is built on a four-foot grid as seen etched into the main floor.
A small, but efficient, newly restored “Workspace,” as Wright called the kitchen, wraps around the central column. Restoration included refinishing all existing cabinets, exposing the original raw concrete block above the sink and resurfacing all countertops with new red laminate as specified by Wright.
The lot was so steep that a basement was included to place the boiler, hot water heater, sink, washer, dryer and a second water closet.
The second floor staircase is suspended from the ceiling.
A view of the compression zone to the left of the staircase.
A view down to the entry from the second floor.
The distinctive mark or “Mayan glyph” of the home is the square, as seen in the transom above the plate glass windows.
Three identical, 98-sq.-ft. bedrooms line the second floor gallery. There is no master bedroom in the main house. Patricia used the room adjacent to Cedric’s.
On the east side, a unique three-room bath served the original family of four.
Wright loved piercing his glass facades with architectural elements; the second floor walkway becomes a balcony on the west side and the carport roof line becomes an interior plant shelf on the east side.
The west end room, which was Cedric’s study/bedroom overlooks the terrace and western yard.
Cedric’s room showing the built in desk and drawers.
A view from Cedric’s balcony down to the terrace.
A view of the corner glass and the living room from Cedric’s balcony.
On the west side, double doors open onto the wrap-around terrace.
While Wright usually designed on acre lots or larger, his solution for this half acre yielded a two-story home with a stunning facade.
The south facing terrace.
A view of the addition from the terrace.
The terrace surrounds the south side and leads out into the “private side.”
Wright’s signature glass-to-glass corner construction is used throughout the home, just one of the features Wright used to “break up the square.”
Ten 2-by 8-in. redwood mullions on the south side support massive pairs of 4-by-14-in. Douglas fir roof beams.
A view of corner glass and Cedric’s balcony.
Cedric’s balcony side is a unique Wright parapet design.
Wright favored a “prow” for a number of hillside homes he designed allowing for the structures to “erupt” from their sites like natural stone outcroppings.
The west side balcony is supported by a metal tray circling the concrete column, similar to a “waiter’s tray,” one of Wright’s “organic” structural elements.
A view east from the edge of the .6 acre lot.
Flat roofs were unique to Wright’s designs.
The north side of the home was excavated in 1997 to relieve backfill stress on the home – a walkway there now provides access to the terrace.
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WrightBoulter/
Home restoration diary at Beck Hardware’s “Ask Mr. Friendly” Blog: http://beckhardware.blogspot.com/
cf3 (Cincinnati Form Follows Function) Midentury Modern Club http://www.cf3.org
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation http://www.franklloydwright.org
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy http://www.savewright.org/