Oscar B. Balch House

Date: 1911
Address: 611 North Kenilworth, Oak Park, Illinois
City: Oak Park, Illinois
Accessibility: Private
Category: Residential

Oscar B. Balch moved from Pennsylvania to Oak Park to join the decorating firm of W. and S. E. Pebbles in 1890. Balch was eventually made a partner of the company. Wright remodeled the Pebbles and Balch storefront in 1907, and subsequently designed a residence for Balch and his family in 1911. The house’s entrance is concealed, and sturdy walls around the terrace and southern periphery of the property form a formidable barrier that is tempered by Wright’s generous application of casement windows just below the roof’s soffits. Made of clear panes with wood mullions, the windows reinforce the house’s crisp angularity. A large, Roman brick fireplace flanked by slatted screens dominates the center of the house. The ground floor library, living room, and dining room, which form one continuous space, are both delineated and visually unified by bands of wood that traverse the house’s walls and ceilings in sharp, geometric formations.


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