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1960s, Modernist, USA

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Circular Sun House in Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Circular Sun House in Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Circular Sun House in Phoenix, Arizona, USA (image credit: Realtor)

The last design by the great man, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Circular Sun House in Phoenix, Arizona, USA is up for sale.

It took some time to come to fruition too. The Circular Sun House is a curved, two-storey house built in Phoenix’s Palm Canyon. It was built for Norman and Aimee Lykes and also goes by the name of the Norman Lykes House for that very reason.

The design dates back to 1959 and sadly, shortly after the design was completed, Frank Lloyd Wright passed away. But that wasn’t the end of the story.

The design was taken on by architect John Rattenbury, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, with the finishing touches being applied to the house in 1967. It was certainly worth the wait.

It sits within the rocky landscape and is said to have been inspired by that mountainous terrain, the concrete nestling within it without being too obtrusive. Saying that this kind of architecture doesn’t take well to being hidden away. It’s still a striking design, with so many details to catch the eye inside and out.

It isn’t quite original, but it’s not far from it. The original owners sold the house in 1994, with John Rattenbury being called back to renovate the interior.

That involved a tweak of the bedrooms (which were originally smaller rooms) but nothing radical. As you would expect when the man who oversaw the build was involved. Note that all of the changes were also approved by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Circles play a key part in the design of this one. As you might expect of FLW, who created 14 circular homes in his time. If you look at the house from above (there’s an image further down the page), this one involves overlapping concentric circles for the inside and outside space.

That location, which gives a ‘Bond villain’s lair’ feel to the place, also ensures some pretty special views of the Palm Canyon and the city below too.

Of course, the circles aren’t just for the outside. The circular vibe carries through into that wonderful interior, with space flowing smoothly from room to room and to the feature outside space.

The windows guarantee both the light and the ‘wow’ factor, which is added to by the curved walls, which are clad in both golden-hued Philippine mahogany and a white block finish. That circular fireplace is pretty special too. Obviously, the built-ins will be staying (there are many of those), but I’m not sure about the other furnishings. I hope so as they really bring the rooms to life.

Also worth talking about is the rather wonderful office space and bookshelves (plus bar), as well as the kitchen. All too often, circular houses compromise rather badly when it comes to a kitchen area. Not so here.

The wood and stainless steel takes full advantage of the space, creating a vibe in keeping with the original house but at the same time perfect for the contemporary home. The bathrooms also look updated but again walk that fine line between premium comfort and period charm. This was a renovation done to a very high standard. It’s a common theme throughout. The bedrooms look fairly untouched, but then you notice the new flatscreen TVs in each one. You can renovate without taking away the character.

As I said, the layout has been reworked in the fairly recent past, with the house now having three larger bedrooms compared to the previous five smaller ones. There are also three bathrooms and plenty of reception space for entertaining and relaxing. If you need to work, get yourself into that office. 3,095 sq. ft. in total.

And if you want to take in the scenery, just pop out through the large doors into the slate-clad patio, which has room for seating and partying around the crescent-shaped pool. That’s a feature and a half and with privacy as a nice bonus. Over an acre of land is yours too if you are feeling a little more adventurous.

Yes, I love this one and if you want your own private lair, it is on the market right now. But you’ll need Bond villain money to afford it. The Norman Lykes House is currently up for sale for $7,950,000.

Images and details courtesy of Realtor. For more details and to make an enquiry, please visit the website.

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