When a Frank Lloyd Wright house hits the market, architecture aficionados pay attention. Crosby Doe Associates, a top agency specializing in midcentury homes, recently listed the Fawcett Farm, which was completed in 1961, two years after Wright’s death. Let the salivation begin.
Located on 76 acres of agricultural land in California’s Central Valley, wedged between San Francisco and Fresno, it’s a rare example of Wright’s rural projects. (Most of the 425 remaining homes he built are located in cities and suburbs, largely scattered about the Midwest.) The Fawcett Farm was originally built for a gentleman named Randall “Buck” Fawcett, who was a football star at Stanford and in fact was drafted in 1944 by the Chicago Bears before returning home to Los Banos to help his ailing father run the family farm, H. G. Fawcett Farms.
The Fawcett Farm is among the most well known of Wright’s “Usonian” homes, a collection of around 60 family-centered structures that he began building in 1936 with the Herbert Jacobs House, in Madison, Wisconsin. They were restrained in scale, generally just one story, to promote natural transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces, such as gardens and swimming pools.
Environmentally friendly touches include oversize cantilevered roofs, which keep homes relatively cool in the summer and insulate heat in the winter, and clerestory windows, to provide natural lighting.
The Fawcett Farm is among the most well known of Wright’s “Usonian” homes.
The Fawcett Farm became something of a local landmark. The family hosted many Wright devotees, and even Ronald Reagan dropped by during one of his gubernatorial campaigns to give a stump speech from atop a wagon. Henry Whiting II, a Wright scholar, wrote a memoir about the home that includes anecdotes from Fawcett and Fawcett’s wife, Harriet.
We know what you’re thinking—it is destined for a tech bro. But not if you get there first. And with only seven bedrooms and six bathrooms nestled in the roughly 4,000-square-foot structure, it simply won’t have sufficient room for Elon and his incessantly growing family. (And isn’t he living in a trailer these days, anyway?) But there’s an Instagram-friendly swimming pool and a four-car garage for the latest Tesla models.
Despite an inevitable renovation, Fawcett Farm has retained all of Wright’s architectural integrity. When the house’s second owners got down to work, they enlisted Eric Lloyd Wright and Taliesin Associate architect Arthur Dyson to handle the heavy lifting. In 2019, Fawcett Farm won the California Preservation Foundation’s Preservation Design Award for Restoration. Now fully functional and ever so slightly modernized, it’s ready for its next act.
Ashley Baker is a Deputy Editor for Air Mail
Fawcett Farm, located at 21200 Center Avenue in Los Banos, California, is listed at $4,250,000