A Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Home in Brookline
September 13, 2023
This Brookline home is a little bit Frank Lloyd Wright, a little bit Mediterranean, and a whole lot of detail.
Text by Bob Curley Photography by Richard Mandelkorn
A Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home in Brookline, Massachusetts, didn’t take quite as long to build as Jerusalem, but the seven-year project was ultimately a triumphant collaboration among the triumvirate of designer, landscape architect, and owner, incorporating elements from the Holy City as well as honoring Wright’s famous design edict, “I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”
Even at the sketch stage, architect Adolfo Perez’s contemporary design envisioned a deep connection with the surrounding landscape. The owner, who grew up in Israel, requested the buff-colored Jerusalem limestone used extensively in the flat-roofed, multitiered home; Perez’s inspiration was to put a cleft finish on the stone to give it an organic look.
The setting appears secluded, but that’s largely the work of Tom Ryan of Ryan Associates Landscape Architecture, not the Creator. The acre lot, while sufficient to accommodate the home, pool, garage, patios, and cabana, was within neighbors’ eyesight, challenging Perez’s vision of a home that sits at the lot’s highest point. It’s hardly obvious, but Ryan strategically sited nearly every tree, bush, and planting to obscure abutters’ sight lines or provide visual interest from inside the home, where an abundance of glass includes both floor-to-ceiling windows and more narrow openings that break up blank walls.
Wright’s Fallingwater is famous for the stream and waterfall that seemingly flow through the house; the Brookline home’s corollary is a stepped waterfall enlivening the courtyard of a below-grade in-law apartment. Glimpses of the cascade can be had from other rooms in the house, too. Virtually every interior room is paired with some form of exterior space. “My idea was to put grass on that slope, but that’s why you have landscape architects,” says Perez with a laugh.
The communion among the trinity that conceived the home is best expressed in the backyard, where Perez’s covered outdoor dining room—capped with a private deck for the primary bedroom—flows easily into Ryan’s tiered patios surrounding an infinity-edge pool.
Ryan describes the pool area, with its fireplace pit, outdoor bar, and spa, as an in-home resort that helps create a sense of drama and elevation for the home. Viewed from above, it acts as a visual attraction in the summer but takes a backseat to the wooded landscape in the winter. “All of the spaces in this home are intentional and have a reason for being,” says Ryan.