Build a Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Dream Home

Home Plans For Prairie, Usonian, and Other Frank Lloyd Wright Inspirations

detail of exterior east cantilever and south bedroom cantilever, the soffits replastered and painted their original color
Frederick Robie House, Chicago, Illinois, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1906. Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust/Getty Images (cropped)

The Robie House in Chicago, Illinois is one of the most famous Prairie style homes designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). Wouldn't it be nice if you could just copy Wright's blueprints and build a brand new house, exactly like one that Wright designed?

Unfortunately, it's illegal to copy his original plans—the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation keeps a tight rein on the intellectual property rights. Even unbuilt Usonian plans are heavily protected.

However, there's another way—you can build a house that is inspired by the work of the famous American architect. To build a new house that resembles a Frank Lloyd Wright original, check out these reputable publishers. They offer knock-offs of Prairie, Craftsman, Usonian, and other styles designed with Wright's organic architecture in mind. Look for the common architectural elements that can be copied freely.

HousePlans.com

Detail of horizontal and vertical lines of house of wood, brick, and glass
Andrew F.H. Armstrong House, Ogden Dunes, Indiana, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1939. Farrell Grehan/Getty Images

HousePlans.com has a wonderful collection of linear, land-hugging homes similar to Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style houses. You will think you're in the Robie House original.

What to look for in a Wright design? Look at the details of Wright's Andrew F.H. Armstrong home shown here. Built in Indiana in 1939, this private home has the iconic combination of vertical and horizontal lines—simple geometric forms made interesting.

And as the website explains itself, the prairie style house plans strive to complement the flat landscape. The houses appear to grow out of the ground, with low, overhanging roofs and windows set in groups, featuring open floor plans.

eplans.com

horizontally oriented light-sided house with dark brown trim, flat roof with huge overhangs, and rows of windows with leaded glass
Oscar B. Balch House, Oak Park, Illinois, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1911. Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The strong horizontal lines, wide porches, and cantilevered floors are also to be found between the Prairie Style House Plans from eplans.com, which do a good job reflecting Wright's ideas. 

Wright was forever experimenting with styles, creating and then modifying the architecture "box" that had become the private home. The 1911 Balch home displays elements that are often copied—horizontal orientation, flat roof overhangs, decorated windows in a line along the roofline.

What the Balch house also has is a somewhat hidden entrance, with ground-level walls forming a protective barrier for the client's privacy—perhaps a manifestation of the architect's state of mind, as well.

It is up to you how much you let yourself be inspired by Wright's designs. Some considerations when choosing house plans may include:

  • How dominant do you want the entrance to be?
  • How horizontal can the footprint be on your lot?
  • How "boxy" do you want the look to be—completely like the classic American Foursquare home, also known as the Prairie Box, or more modern, Usurpian look?

ArchitecturalDesigns.com

long shot of grey house, dark hipped roofs, horizontal orientation, walls and wings, huge center chimney on the main part of the house
The A.W. Gridley House, Batavia, Illinois, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1906. Raymond Boyd/Getty Images (cropped)

The Prairie Plans offered by ArchitecturalDesigns.com are truly inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's designs. In this collection, the sweeping horizontal lines of Prairie architecture mingle with Ranch styles and modernist ideas—hugging the earth on the outside, just like Wright did with this design he called "the Ravine House."

And if the interiors of these commercial prairie plans are not prairie- or Wright-like enough, modify these stock plans to feature an open floor plan on the inside.

The 1906 A.W. Gridley home in Batavia, Illinois displayed here is one of Wright's typical Prairie School homes. Mrs. Gridley is known to have commented that she could stand in the center of her house and see every room—the interior was just that open.

Wright's homes also inspired the smaller and simpler Ranch style, which may be what we remember most about Wright's work and which is also an option to search for on ArchitecturalDesigns.com.

HomePlans.com

Entrance to modern brick and wood house, stairs located behind wall
Gregor Affleck House, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1941. Farrell Grehan/Getty Images

Prairie Style Home Plans from HomePlans.com are very inclusive. This group has pushed Wright's envelope to include the Craftsman Prairie, the Eye-Catching Prairie Two Story, the Prairie Style C-Shaped Home, the Lodge-Style Craftsman, a Contemporary Duplex with Terraces, and many more. That's a lot of prairies.

A website by Hanley-Wood, LLC, HomePlans.com is an information media company begun by Michael J. Hanley and Michael M. Wood. Unlike Wright's careful designs for specific sites, the stock plans at HomePlans.com provide every choice imaginable.

With regards to choices, the 1941 Gregor Affleck House shown here points out another consideration of Wright's architecture—that the beauty is not only in the design but also in the materials. You can hardly go wrong with natural wood, stone, brick, glass, and even concrete block—all materials used by Wright.

"I have never been fond of paints or of wallpaper or anything which must be applied to other things as a surface," Wright has said. "Wood is wood, concrete is concrete, stone is stone."

Most plans on the websites featured here already honor this aspect of Wright's style, but you can also work with your architect or builder to make sure your house stays as close to your vision as possible.

FamilyHomePlans.com

multi-layered wood, concrete, and glass house, flat roofs, stepped entrance, rows of windows
The Bachman-Wilson House, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1954, Moved From New Jersey to Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas. Eddie Brady/Getty Images (cropped)

A Kansas homebuilder named Lewis F. Garlinghouse was one of the first to organize his designs into plan books. The Garlinghouse Company has been publishing print books since the early 20th century, and now they are online with an array of Prairie Style Home Plans at familyhomeplans.com. In fact, they've been providing house plans since before Frank Lloyd Wright designed this house for Gloria Bachman and Abraham Wilson.

The Bachman-Wilson house shown here is one of Wright's Usonian homes designed in the 1950s for the New Jersey couple. These were Wright's "modest" and "affordable" homes. Today, they are collectors' items, preserved at any cost. For example, the Bachman-Wilson house was disassembled and reassembled at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas—Wright sited it a little too close to the flood-prone Millstone River in New Jersey.

Plans.Susanka.com

Many of the Not So Big House Plans for sale by British-born architect Sarah Susanka, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, reflect Wrightian ideas. Take special note of the Prairie-inspired houses from Susanka's books, including this "Not So Big House" series. The only main difference between these and Wright's plans is that Susanka, just like many other architects, is willing to provide her plans for purchase as stock plans. Wright's designs may have similar aspects, but they were each custom designed for the client and the building site.

Find an Architect Who Specializes

Detail of rounded house porch, natural wood siding with green trim, double hung leaded windows, decorative corbels
Walter Gale House, 1893, by Frank Lloyd Wright. Lonely Planet/Getty Images (cropped)

Frank Lloyd Wright has seemingly influenced many of today's architects—the ones who appreciate natural beauty, are sensitive to the environment, and adapt plans to the needs of the client. These were Wright's values, expressed in his Usonian and Usonian Automatic homes, and in the designs of many modern architects.

Even if you can't afford the million-dollar price tags of authentic Wright homes on the market, you may be able to hire an architect who has been influenced by Wright and who shares your vision.

You can also ask your builder to use any of the plans on this list. The stock house plans sold by these companies capture the "look and feel" of a Prairie style without infringing on copyrighted design.

Another huge advantage of buying in-stock is that the plan has usually been "vetted." The design is not unique, it's been built, and the plans have already been scrutinized for accuracy. These days, with home office software, building plans are much easier to modify than they used to be—buy stock plans and then customize. Starting with something is a lot cheaper than custom designs.