Frank Lloyd Wright’s Iconic Carmel-by-the-Sea House Sells for $22 Million


Though Frank Lloyd Wright has long been admired for his ability to artfully integrate his iconic structure’s into the natural world, you’ll only find one near the ocean: the Mrs. Clinton Walker House. Located on Carmel Point near Carmel-by-the-Sea—a celeb-favored California enclave—the one-of-a-kind home just sold for $22 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Designed in Wright’s Usonian style, the 1,400-square-foot and single-story home overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and is the only home designed by the architect in a coastal setting. According to the newspaper, Della Walker—widow of Minneapolis lumber executive Clinton Walker—wrote to Wright in 1945 asking him to take on the seaside project. As a woman living alone, she noted that she hoped for privacy and protection, and “a house as enduring as the rocks but as transparent and charming as the waves and delicate as the seashore.” Walker had seen images of Wright’s Fallingwater and was enamored by the way he’d integrated the stream into the property, believing he could craft something just as extraordinary on the beach line. “You are the only man who can do this—will you help me?” she concluded.

Wright agreed to take on the project—appreciating the “brief and to the point” letter—and designed the structure in 1948. Not unusual to the architect’s practice, he was reportedly unwilling to make any adjustments to his outlines, and when completed in 1952, it was largely constructed exactly as he’d originally envisioned it. Appearing like a ship’s bow cutting through the ocean, the home’s most notable feature is its hexagonal living room, which frames views of the nearby crashing waves. “I hope this tiny aristocrat among the Carmel bourgeois, so exciting in itself, is not only a domestic experience giving you the joy you, its progenitor, deserve, but a spiritual uplift,” the architect wrote to Walker after visiting the house a few years after its construction.

Like the nearby coast, Carmel’s allure has ebbed and flowed, though Wright’s assessment of it as a community full of upper-middle class residents has, for the most part, remained true. Brad Pitt recently purchased a home in the area, which is reveled for its charming architecture and quaint atmosphere. Besides Frank Lloyd Wright’s contribution, the area is also home to the iconic Butterfly House, which is currently on the market for $40 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Mrs. Clinton Walker house was purchased by Esperanza Carmel LLC, a real estate investment and development firm that also owns other properties in the area. A group of Della Walker’s relatives were the sellers, and the listing was represented by Canning Properties Group with Sotheby’s International Realty.

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