City: Oak Park, Illinois
Restoration Status: Demolished, 1950s
Established in 1868, Pebbles and Balch was a purveyor of paint and wallpaper in Oak Park. By the time Wright was commissioned to remodel the company’s brick storefront in 1907, its inventory had expanded to include textiles, furniture, flooring, lighting fixtures, and other home furnishings. Wright introduced a large plate-glass window for display, and framed it with a long band of casement windows on top and narrow panes of glass on either side. The windows that dominated the storefront’s façade evoked the architecture Wright encountered on his travels in Japan in 1905. Wright designed cabinetry for storage and the presentation of home furnishings in the shop’s interior. He employed natural oak, oiled paper, and other finishes that evoked Japanese materials and designs.
Frank Pebbles Jr., an executive at Pebbles and Balch, was a friend of the Wright family. Wright eventually designed a house in Oak Park for Oscar Balch, Pebbles’ business partner.