If you drive down Lake Place by the Lake of the Isles you may not even notice that you pass by one of the most significant examples of Prairie School architecture in the country... the Purcell-Cutts House, designed and built by William Gray Purcell and George Grant Elmslie in 1913. It's easy to miss because it is set back so far on the lot at 2328 Lake Place... so side windows overlook neighboring gardens rather peering into the windows of neighboring houses!
It is hard to imagine now how revolutionary this design was when it was built about 100 years ago. William Purcell had worked alongside Frank Lloyd Wright and George Elmslie in Chicago under Louis Sullivan, who has been called the father of modernism.
When Purcell moved to Minneapolis he specifically chose a narrow city lot overlooking Lake of the Isles to build his home that was in sharp contrast to the revival style homes popular at that time. With an open living area 50 feet long adaptable for multiple uses, this was the forerunner of today's open floor plans... except for the kitchen, which was not to be seen!!
In his own words...
In so far as the house represents a departure from customary forms it does so because in designing it a conscious attempt has been made to first establish a real modern American family life, and then give it expression in real forms. This is indeed a departure.
This stunning home was beautifully preserved by owners who recognized its significance and made virtually no changes during the 66 years they lived there except for adding a detached garage. It was bequeathed to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1985 and is open for public tours, including Winterlights (through January 8, 2017) when it is decorated for the holidays c. 1915. (tour information)
If you haven't seen it, put in on your list for 2017. Tours stop here from around the world... check out what is in our own back yard!
Want to live in this neighborhood? Check out East Isles homes for sale then contact us to arrange for a tour.
Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results - Minneapolis-St. Paul Realtor